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complish by continuing your membership? The alarm.is given, investigation has commenced, and more than five Inillions have been roused from lethargy, who will not be persuaded to lie down and sleep, while about two thousand masonic halls enclose secret assemblies, (at least one per inonth,) who dare not utter their transactions to their most intimate companions and friends who belong not to the fraternity ? Can you enjoy religion, and feel the sanctifying influences of grace, while you are daily contending for the existence of an institution that has received its death blow, and must inevitably expire? Perhaps you fear the consequences, and are unwilling to encounter the calumnies and falsehoods that masonic presses pour out in torrents upon all who dare leave the order ? This you may expect, for none have escaped who were influential among them. Had I not been willing to have my name cast out as evil and to have all kinds of falsehoods published against me, and even expose myself to frowns, jests, and as much contemptuous treatment as these giants in infidelity can raise against me through all the ranks of their beardless militia, I would have held my peace.
But, my brethren, what have we professed and what are our obligations to God, his church, and the world of mankind? Is this vain world a friend to grace? We must pass through evil report and good report. It is through great tribulation that we enter the kingdom of heaven. Shall the righteous cower and forsake the cause of God in an evil day? Is it not said in the book of God, that they “look up and are as bold as a lion”?
Say ye to the righteous, that it shall be well with him." Read the 8th chapter of Romans, and then ask yourselves if you can fear the frowns, threats, and contempt of mortals ? A lying spirit is abroad, and speaks through all masonic presses, and this spirit inflames all who hate the truth, and will make them wax worse and worse,
till sudden destruction shall overwhelm these workers of iniquity, to the astonishment of every beholder. Then masonry will rise no more to trouble Zion, and spread delusion and death amid civilized nations.
THE TENDENCY OF FREEMASONRY TO INFIDELITY.
Extract from Thacher's Letters to a brother in the Church. You inquire what evidence I have, that masonry leads directly to infidelity ?” and, if “it is pretended that masonry and the system of illuminism are mutually coupled together ?" If you had said systems of illuminism, I think you would have given a more just representation of the subject. Illuminism, I conceive to be one; but its systems are many. Illuminism is a popular name for Infidel Philosophy, comprising all its doctrines, and shades of doctrine, from Deism, to Atheism and complete skepticism. The systems of this philosophy are exceedingly various, and so artfully either contrived or adopted, as to “deceive, if it were possible, the very elect." I speak of systems belonging to illuminism, as either contrived or adopted ; because this infidel philosophy has indeed contrived some, and adopted others, already fitted for its reception. Of some of these systems you have given the names; as, the “Society of Carbonari” in Germany, the “United Irishmen," and the “Ribbon-men," in Ireland, &c. You justly observe, that “distinctions like these are of little consequence, where one grand object is in view.” Yet, I think, you have fallen into a mistake, and confounded the systems of illuminism with illuminism itself. Illuminism, I grant, is the same, in every place, and in every country; whether it is called "Philosophy, “Reason," " Liberty and Equality," or "Infidelity. Its systems, however, are not only as various, but as distinct as its names ; and exactly adapted to answer its own purposes, though suited to the different temperaments, manners and habits of different nations. By systems, I here mean, those different combinations and societies, organized and governed in very different ways, professing to promote entirely different objects; but whose grand and ultimate design has always centred in infidelity. Now, I ask, What system was adopted by the illuminees of France, in order to “crush the Wretch," and to accomplish their designs against religion and government ? To trace all their plans, and develope all their schemes of
wickedness, would require more time, talents and learning, than can be commanded by me, or perhaps by you. The following, however, are among some of the ineasures which they adopted : To hold secret correspondence, to circulate infidel tracts, control and corrupt the press, and to superintend the instruction of children and youth. Some of their bolder steps, were, to publish their Ency. clopedia, seize upon the Royal Academy, and bring it entirely under their corrupting influence; and to instil the poison of infidelity into every primary and public seminary of learning. In addition to these measures, they sought, and even obtained, the keys of the public treasury; carried their intrigue into the court and council of the king, and contrived to fill the most important offices with their own adepts. Now, it could not be expected, that such men, capable of devising and pursuing such measures, would suffer such an institution as the masonic to escape either their notice or their influence. Accordingly we are assured, by Professor Robison,* the Abbe Barruel, and others, upon the best authority, that the three degrees of masonry were no sooner transplanted from England to France, than the institution was seized upon both by the Jesuits and the Illuminees. The first soon relinquished their hold, and then endeavored to crush the institution ; the others held on, and moulded it into just such a shape as would best answer their designs. They contrived additional degrees; such as have since been adopted, and are now in use in the United States. They introduced new, and additional ornaments, in dress and jewelry, to please the fancy, and to excite the curiosity of “ the profane.” In short, they found, in Freemasonry, the very engine, which they had long desired; and it proved just such a system, as answered their highest and most sanguine expectations. It is true, they eventually formed distinct, and what have been called, “ Illuminated Lodges;" but they still kept their hold upon the mother institution.
* John Robison, LL. D. Professor of Natural Philosophy in Ed. inhurg University ; member of the American Philosophical Society; and of the Royal Society at Manchester; and foreign member of the luperial academy of Sciences at St. Petersburg.-Ed.
Here then, it appears, that the illuminees* did not “personate” Freemasonry, but adopted it, as a system already fitted to their hand, which they could mould and use at pleasure, to carry into execution their schemes of infidelity. This view of the subject corresponds precisely with Professor Robison's account of the institution, and the manner in which it was moulded and adapted to the designs of French infidelity. The Professor shows, satisfactorily, that Freemasonry originated in England ; that it existed there, only in the three first degrees; and that it was not considered of any serious importance, but merely as a kind of diversion for young men, affording them opportunity to pass away a leisure hour, or to indulge themselves in occasional convivial intercourse.That I have not mistaken the views of Dr. Robison, on this subject, I think will clearly appear in the following extracts : In my early life,” says this learned and sagacious Professor, “ I had taken some part in the occupations (shall I call them) of Freemasonry; and having chiefly frequented the lodges on the continent, I had learned many doctrines, and seen many ceremonials, which had no place in the simple Freemasonry which obtains in this country.” [England.] “I had also remarked, that the whole was much more the object of reflection and thought than I could remember it to have been among my acquaintances at home. There I had seen a mason lodge considered merely as a pretext for passing an hour or two in a sort of decent conviviality, not altogether void of some rational occupation.” [Introduction to Proofs of Conspiracy, p. 7.]
“I was importuned by persons of the first rank to pursue my masonic career through many degrees unknown in this country. But all the splendor and elegance I saw, could not conceal a frivolity in every part. It appeared a baseless fabric." [Ibid, p. 8.]
Speaking of the attention with which he was treated, at a certain festival, where “the simple system” of English Freemasonry prevailed, he says, “I do not suppose
* The Illuminees, as individuals, were very numerous, long before the “ ORDER OF ILLUMINATI," properly so called, had an exist.
that the Parisian Freemasonry of forty-five degrees could give me more entertainment." [Ibid, p. 10.]
Of the origin of this system of Freemasonry, the Professor remarks,“ Some curiosity, however, remained, and some wish to trace this plastic mystery to the pit from which the clay had been dug, which had been moulded into so many shapes, some to honor, and some to dishonor.'" (ibid, p. 10.]
“I was frequently sent back into England, from whence all agreed that Freemasonry had been imported into Germany. I was frequently led into France and into Italy. There, and more remarkably in France, I found that the lodges had been the haunts of many projectors and fanatics, both in science, in religion, and in politics, who had availed themselves of the secrecy and the freedom of speech maintained in these meetings, to broach their particular whims, or suspicious doctrines, which, if published to the world in the usual manner, would have exposed the authors to ridicule or to censure." [Ibid, pp. 11, 12.]
“ In their hands, Freemasonry became a thing totally unlike to the system (if it may get such a name) imported from England ; and some lodges had become schools of irreligion and licentiousness. [Ibid.]
" It (Freemasonry] seems indeed peculiarly suited to the talents and taste of that vain and ardent people (the French.] Baseless and frivolous, it admits of every form that Gallic refinement can invent, to recommend it to the young, the gay, the luxurious ; that part of society which alone deserves their care, because in one way or another it leads all other classes of society." [Ibid, p. 13.]
" It has accordingly happened, that the homely Freemasonry imported from England has been totally changed in every country of Europe, either by the imposing ascendency of French brethren, who are to be found every where, ready to instruct the world; or by the importation of the doctrines, and ceremonies, and ornaments of the Parisian lodges. Even England, the birth-place of masonry, has experienced the French innovations; and all the repeated injunctions, admonitions, and reproofs of the old lodges, cannot prevent those in different parts of the kingdom from admitting the French novelties, full of tinsel and glitter, and high sounding titles." [Ibid.]