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charge made against any public functionary, may do harm to the Commonwealth rather than to masonry.
I have recently seen a paragraph which is said to have been printed in an oration delivered by Mr. Brainard, a distinguished mason, at New London in Connecticut, on the 24th June, 1825. It is in these words :
“ What is masonry now? it is powerful : it comprises men of rank, wealth, office, and talent, in power and out of power, and that in almost every place where power is of any importance; and it comprises among other classes of the community, to the lowest, in large uumbers, active men united together and capable of being directed by the efforts of others, so as to have the force of concert throughout the civilized world. They are distributed too with the means of knowing one another, and the means of keeping secret, and the means of co-operating in the desk, in the legislative hall, on the bench, in every gathering of business, in every party of pleasure, in every enterprize of government, in every domestic circle, in peace and in war, among enemies and friends, in one place as well as another. So powerful indeed is it at this time, that it fears nothing from violence either public or private ; for it has every means to learn it in season, to counteract, defeat, and punish it."
Having seen masonry only in its three incipient steps, and but little or nothing of it for many years past, I am not able to attribute to it any such mighty sagacity and power as the author of that oration so boldly arrogates for it. Every one however will judge of this, as his own knowledge and good sense shall dictate. If he has given a true description of masonry, it ought to be dreaded as a pestilence that walketh in darkness. We have no Police vigilant and strong enough to cope with it. It can, if it pleases, throw a flood of light upon the last miserable scene of Morgan's life. If any part of this mystery of iniquity is to remain undeveloped, it must be because masonic obligations, have an influence more powerful than those of justice. If what Mr. Brainard has said be not true, he has done wrong to the cause he advocates, and must in the opinion of its friends deserve some punishment, perhaps almost as severe as that which awaits a man in England who is an utterer of false news, or
false and pretended prophecies, calculated to give unfounded alarm to the people.
The abduction of Morgan, which followed soon after the publication of that remarkable paragraph, has excited perhaps a just belief that the existence of mas
asonry is incompatible with the personal security of those who reveal its mysteries. However, well or ils founded this belief may be, I hope no cause for it will long exist; but that the subordinate Lodges will upon due consideration, surrender their charters to the Grand Lodge, and close this great concern, which some pretend has been going on, (quietly till now,) ever since the days of Adam. Masonry will thus subside and come to a peaceful and honorable death. In no better way can masons display the respect and benevolence which they feel for their uninitiated brethren of the human family, than by voluntarily walking with them on the common level of citizenship.
MASONRY PRODUCTIVE OF NO PERMANENT MORAL
Extracted from writings of Rev. John G. Stearns.t If masonry be what it professes, its direct tendency must be to nourish the piety of the heart and the graces of the divine Spirit. Does it have such a tendency? Are those Christians who devote themselves to masonry, and have made the greatest advances, and even searched all its mysteries, any more wise, godly, and useful, than many others who have no knowledge of masonry? I will leave facts to speak for themselves, and my readers to judge for themselves, and I presume they will agree, that
* 4 Vol. Blackstone's Commentaries, p. 149.
| Mr. Stearns's Volume, entitled “ An Inquiry into the Nature and Tendency of Speculative Freemasonry,” is one of the ablest productions which has appeared on the subject. Its service to the cause of Anti-masonry, has probably been greater than that of any work of the kind. Five editions have already been published.-ED.
such Christians often appear to possess the least of the humble spirit of the Saviour.
If it be the tendency of masonry to gratify and comfort the pious heart, and promote its spiritual growth, why do 80 many godly members of the fraternity forsake it and proclaim its leanness? The reason Mr. Bradley gives is, other important callings occupy their attention and render it inconsistent for them to attend the meetings of the lodges. This may be true in some cases, but not in all; nor does it answer the objection he has anticipated. The objection is, “Why do many good men who once attended the lodges, now neglect them ?" Many good men do forsake the lodges, not, however, because of other pressing calls, but because masonry does not satisfy them. There are many devout, praying, living Christians, ornaments to the cause, and lights in the world, who have utterly abandoned the pursuits of masonry, and on their death beds, have refused its funeral honors. Mr. B.* must have known this. Why has he passed it in silence ?
If masonry possesses those excellences which masonic writers ascribe to it, why do not those men, when they forsake masonic lodges, forsake the church, the bible, and the cause of Christ? Why do they forsake masonry for Christianity? If they forsook Christianity too, the thing could be reconciled. But that they should still manifest a more devout attachment to it, and an increasing relish for its requirements, while they lose their relish for masonry-and view it as wanting the one thing needful-as possessing nothing which nourishes the piety of the heart, and as inconsistent with the Christian profession; are things altogether unaccountable on any other ground, than that masonry is not of God, nor what it pretends to be. This objection can never be raised against Christianity. It never has been said, and never can be said, in truth, that good men utterly forsake it for something else, and remain good men, and even better than they were before.
The man who forsakes Christianity, forsakes God, his duty, and the path to heaven, or any thing else which
* Mr. B., since the publication of his work, has renounced masonry.--ED.
rendered them more useful in the world. For men to forsake masonry because they are disgusted with it, and find something more excellent in the Bible, is very different from what it is to forsake it because they are crowded with other important callings. The latter may sometimes be the case, the former is often the case; and is an open avowal of the emptiness of masonry, and of its utter insufficiency to satisfy a pious mind.
What support does masonry afford the people of God ? They are favored with divine support, but whence is it derived ? “I will pray the Father,” said Jesus, “and he shall give you another comforter,
abide with you for ever, even the Spirit of truth.” This Spirit is the only source of consolation to the afflicted people of God. Take this away and there is nothing to sustain them in the trials of life. Will any person say that this Spirit, the comforter of saints, belongs to masonry ? What a poor system of religion is that which has in it no Holy Spirit! What is there here to encourage and support the children of the Saviour, as they pass through great tribulation to the kingdom ?
Masonry may afford momentary consolation to a pharisee, or hypocrite, who builds his hope on his own righteousness; but the man who rests his hopes on the merits of Christ crucified, thirsts for something to sustain his heart, far superior to a comfortless system, in which there is no Holy Ghost. If there be something in masonry which God has designed as a peculiar support for his people, masons will be found guilty for locking it up as a secret. Why may not all classes, and both sexes, be admitted to it on God's terms, “ without money and without price ?" The fact is, there is nothing in masonry which a suffering or a dying man needs; he may endure afflictions, live to the glory of his Maker, and die in complete triumph, without the aid, and without the hopes of masonry.
When a man is called to die, it is the most awful, the most important period of his existence! Then he needs consolation ; then he needs something to sustain his sinking spirit, and to scatter light on his dark path. What will become of a poor deluded creature, when called to die with no better hope than that which is inspired by a
religion in which there is no sanctifying Spirit of God, and which expunges from it the very name of " our Lord Jesus Christ ?" On what rock will he then stand ! The splendid edifice he has long labored to rear, will fall upon his own head, and bury him beneath its ruins. I would say to such an one, unless you possess a righteousness far superior to that which is derived from masonry, you must be damned. You must be justified by the righteousness of “ our Lord Jesus Christ,” or perish in your sins. “Kisg the Son lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they who put their trust in him."
According to masonic writers, if masonry were universally known, it would destroy the institution. “Were the privileges of masonry to be indiscriminately bestowed, the design of the institution would be subverted.” “Were these secrets communicated, they would be of no material service to mankind; their appropriate use is to distinguish our brethren of every nation, and kindred, and language."
Are there no other secrets in masonry, than those particular signs, by which masons distinguish each other? What are the degrees and ceremonies in each? They are as profoundly secret to the world as those signs are. If these were communicated to the world, the institution would be subverted, and mankind would receive no benefit from them.
What does Mr. Town say of the degrees, especially of the sixth ? “ With these views the sixth degree is conferred, where the riches of divine grace are opened in boundless prospect.” The manner in which the riches of divine grace are thus unfolded, is a secret to all but masons, as much as any particular sign is. Would it be of no particular service to mankind, were they permitted to draw near and behold the riches of divine grace opened before them in boundless prospect? Is this of any service to masons ? Why not of equal service to others ?
According to Mr. Bradley, the secrets of masonry are designed to prevent their bestowing charity on any but masons. “The importance of secrecy with us is such, that we may not be deceived in the dispensing of our charities, that we may not be betrayed in the tenderness of our benevolence, or that others usurp the portion which is prepared for those of our family." If a poor sufferer