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makes application to masons, tells them he is a mason and entitled to their charity, had he no token to give by which they should recognize him, they might be deceived and betrayed, and bestow their charity on one for whom it was not designed. This shows that masonry is a system of supreme selfishness, and its pretended benevolence the bare love of party.
FREEMASONRY A SYSTEM FRAUGHT WITH DECEP.
TION AND DETRIMENTAL TO HUMAN HAPPINESS.
Extract from Letters of Rev. Joshua Bradley, a Seceding Mason.
any veil to cover its enormity of crime, if you will condescend to examine critically the constitution, by-laws, amendments, resolutions, and transactions of the fraternity, since it was established in America. Let antecedent ages roll, burdened with all kinds of traditions, idolatry and superstition, from which speculative masonic writers and the devotees of the craft have picked here and there an atom, which being melted in their flaming imaginations, and brought forth among stonecutters; they have clothed it, and denominated this
creature of fancy, SpecuLATIVE FREEMASONRY. Under this name, many of the fraternity in Europe have conjured up more than 50 degrees, and conferred titles upon certain members, taken from all the crowned heads amidst the vast kingdom that have flourished around the globe since Japheth dwelt in the tents of Shem. Restless as the ocean and proud as Lucifer, they have multiplied degrees and flattered their brethren to obtain them. When they had taken three degrees they were greeted as having obtained great information in masonry, and were told that “the ancient landmarks of the order were intrusted to their care.” They are now called Master Masons. When individuals have passed the Arch, and obtained the knowledge of a certain mysterious bug, and have been intrusted how to open and close a chapter,
they are pronounced wise, virtuous and highly favored among mortals. A few words of the charge given to a companion, will confirm my assertion and show the imposition of masonry, for it abounds in every degree:
Worthy companion, you are now exalted to the sublime and honorable degree, of a Royal A Having attained this degree, you have arrived at the summit and perfection of ancient masonry."
Is this true ? Why then are the higher degrees called ancient ? Why is the 14th degree called Perfection ? I beseech you candidly to examine into the nature and existence of all their multiplied forms of deception, their obscure interpretations, charters, diplomas, dues, continuance of membership, dresses and implements, &c. &c., and seriously inquire what all these labors, consumption of time and property; have benefited millions who have been connected with the order in all its mutations and progress amid civilized nations ? A few well organized churches of Christ have done more in instructing the ignorant, in comforting the sick, in feeding the hungry, in clothing the naked, and proclaiming glad tidings to mankind, than the whole hosts of masons have done around the globe, since the commencement of their existence.
Masonry in every country has been changing its positions, constitutions, obligations and lectures, and mufiling itself in fine robes, smiling and courting certain virtuous characters to form an affinity with it, that others might think favorably of it, and in this way aid in opening wider its jaws to the innocent, and proclaim abroad that the great, the learned and the good were members of this “ancient and honorable fraternity of Free and Accepted Masons." Here permit me to say, without fear of contradiction, that those great and good men, of whom masons are continually boasting, never concerned themselves about its financial affairs and intriguing management.
Those great men occasionally visited a Grand Lodge or a Grand Chapter, heard an oration on masonry, and then retired and left the transactions of the fraternity to others. Why is this? Because these gentlemen have other avocations, more honorable to themselves and more important to their fellow men, than to spend their time or inter
meddle any longer with the belittling system of masonry. These gentlemen in their younger years may have been masters of lodges, or high priests of chapters; but they are no more fascinated with the low, foolish and degraded work of bringing about of candidates, &c. &c. As many may be offended at my renouncing masonry, and my plainness in stating my conviction of its fallacy, I beg leave to say, that the whole system, so far as I can trace it back, is deceptive and its members who frequent lodges and chapters become discordant and contentious-for they find nothing in masonry to render them happy, and they see many things wrong and find many individuals with whom they cannot hold fellowship, or even walk in procession at the solemnities of a funeral.
At present I will only glance at the fraternity in America. Enough has taken place in our own country, if suitably laid before the public, that would make all men gaze with astonishment, who were not twice dead and buried beneath the lumber of traditions, gathered from the antediluvians and a thousand wayward transgressors of God's holy law.
The first Grand Lodge in America was formed in Boston in July, 1733, and received its charter from England. A war among these brothers in Boston and in England soon commenced, and a second Grand Lodge was formed in Boston in December, 1769, and received its charters from Scotland. Here contention reigned, and calumny blowed loud her trumpet through every street. In September, 1781, a Grand Lodge was formed in the city of New York, having received its warrant fiom the Duke of Athol. Only six years after the date of their warrant, the masters and wardens of the several lodges met; having been duly notified, closed their lodge sine die, and then formed a Grand Lodge, independent of the Duke of Athol, and paid him no more tribute. Here all their former obligations were considered void and new ones formed' to support the laws and the regulations of the Grand Lodge of the state of New-York. From those days till the present, animosities, fraud, evil speaking, conventions called, divisions made, and every kind of malevolence and even the murder of Morgan justified, and desperadoes supported from masonic funds to unite
and publish defamation against the rulers of our nation and the ministers of Jesus, whose characters are fair among the churches, and their preaching attended by the influences of the Holy Spirit to the salvation of souls. Now, my brethren, if you do not believe me, read for yourselves. Find, if you can, one single chapter or verse in the sacred scriptures, where speculative masonry is mentioned, or supported. All those passages which have been published in their books, and their having the Bible open in their lodges, is a piece of deception, and was invented to obtain influence among the more serious parts of community, that not only the men of the world, but members of churches might be taken by the craft ; the fountains of justice defiled, the temple of the living God filled with confusion, the pillars of government torn away,
and the whole wheel of nature set in a blaze." Every mason who has taken ten degrees or more, can either recollect, or can turn to obligations published in part belonging to those degrees, and can easily discern, that those obligations have been formed by different men, at different times; and by men extremely ignorant of the obligations taken in the lower degrees and are wicked beyond the power of language to describe. In these obligations one destroys the other, and therefore it is very clear to me, that no set of men in any age, or country in one assembly at the same time ever formed these preposterous and ever varying obligations. And I know, and so do many in the fraternity, that these obligations are very much abridged in some States, and augmented in otherse even in our own country. In New-England, where masonry has been in some degree systematized, a general accordance prevails in administering the obligations; but pass those States, and a scene of confusion, contradiction and discordant modes of work in lodges and chapters abound from the lakes of Canada to the gulf of Mexico.
Yet all the candidates are told, through this vast range of country, that no more is imposed upon them, through all the humiliating conditions in which they are placed, than was imposed upon our ancient and honorable brethren who were made masons before us. Here deception reigns, and the candidate is taught to believe what he afterwards finds by travelling, or con
varsing with masons from other States and countries, a falsehood. If these assertions be not credited, let a Master Mason converse with a French Mason, or visit one of their lodges and see them work; or a Royal Arch Mason visit any city in Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Tennessee or Missouri, and hear the obligations and see their mode of work. I could here show the vast difference that exists, but I shall not at this time write on this point; though I do not value those obligations that I have taken of any efficacy to me, or that I ought to obey them; for I am fully convinced that all masonic authorities are without any reasonable foundation.
In my first, or this communication, I have not sought to argue upon the absurdity of secret societies; for this has been ably enough done by Anti-masons in many papers, and especially by the Elucidator of Utica, to convince
any individual who is anxious to obtain satisfaction upon this subject. My design has been to state fairly, my connexions and conclusions about masonry. Far be it from me, to wish to kindle up any indignant feelings against an individual member of any Lodge, Chapter, Encampment or any body called Masonic; but to let the public know my present views of those systems; “for they are many," and invented at different periods, and for various purposes, and so blinded that it is not a very easy task to seize all their ramifications and hold them up to wither under the sunbeams of truth. Neither do I mean to cast any reflections upon those who conferred degrees upon me, nor charge myself with sins unpardonable, in being instrumental in deceiving many; for I was captivated with the same fascinating delusion, that those were who brought me to their altars, &c. &c. If I were now to ballot for candidates, and aid in conferring degrees, as I formerly did, my criminality would be great. In those labors I firmly believe I shall never engage. And can you, my brethren, who enjoy the humble and soul nourishing influences of the Spirit of Christ? Can those lifeless ceremonies and repetitions which we used in lodges and chapters afford you any real consolation ? Are you still tenaciously fond of masonry, after all that has transpired, that has been said and written upon this subject? What can you expect to ac