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Christian speak, and his soul must recoil within him ! He will say, if he says the truth, “ This is, indeed, my God and my Saviour, degraded to a literal stone, mocked, and cast away, despised and rejected of men !!” “() my soul, come thou no more within their secrets; unto their assembly, mine honor, be not thou united !" In the Royal Arch degree, the name of the Saviour is not mentioned ; but the titles and attributes of the great and terrible GOD, are used with the most shocking familiarity; and JEHOVAH is literally personified, while the passage relating to the “
burning hush” is cited in full.* 'In the "Order of High Priest," which properly belongs to Royal Arch masonry, Christ is again robbed of his honor; and passages which apply to bim, and to no other being in the universe, are addressed to a mortal worm of the dust. What is said of Melchisedec, in the New Testament, as representing the eternal Priesthood of the Saviour, mason's address to the High Priest of a Royal Arch Chapter !| This degree was doubtless contrived by Weishaupt, a most subtle adept, and was intended and calculated to deceive, “if it were possible, the very elect.” Of this, however, I shall say more hereafter.-In like manner, are the agonies of Christ in the garden turned into mockery, in the order of Knights Templars. Here, the “bitter cup”ļ is prepared for the candidate to drink, when he receives his obligation. Here is represented “the place of a skull,” literally indeed, because the skull is the cup from which the novitiate receives his libation. In allusion to the bitter cup, the scene of Christ's agony in the garden is rehearsed, § (does not your soul recoil ?) particularly that passage, in which he repeatedly and earnestly prays, “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me.”—“ Father, if this cup may not pass from me, except I drink it, thy will be done." !!!' In allusion to the skull, it is read,ß “And when they were come unto a place called Golgotha, that is to say, a place of a skull, they gave him vinegar to drink, MINGLED WITH GALL: and when he had tasted thereof, he would
* Freemason's Monitor, 1816, p. 136.
Freemason's Monitor, p. 153.
not drink."!!! Now, is it difficult here to see the haggard features of Iluminism ? Professor Robison, who had every facility to learn, declares,* that this degree was formed in an illuminated lodge at Lyons, which, at that time, “stood at the head of French Freemasonry.” It seems also, from other authentic accounts, which I have seen of the history of this order, that those who contrived it, to render the deception complete, seized, as a kind of model, the chivalry of the dark ages, and pretended to trace the degree back, as Webb does, to the eleventh century. We may, then, consider it as established beyond a reasonable doubt, that the “Order of Knights Templars” is the legitimate offspring of French illuminism.
ON THE OATHS AND OBLIGATIONS OF MASONRY.
it is my
An abridgment of Rev. Mr. Jones's Letters. It is my intention in the present letter, to notice some things in the OATAS or OBLIGATIONS of masonry, which are objectionable, and, in my opinion, destroying their binding nature, as to perpetual seerecy. Before I proceed, however, it may be suitable to remark, purpose not to introduce any thing as belonging to these obligations, except what was actually taught me as such while a regular member of the institution. If any individual shall question my ability to present the very form so far as I inay need to do it, I would observe, for the satisfaction of such, that I should hold myself in readiness, if required, to submit the question to disinterested judges, and to abide their decision. It was not my intention, and I should not have thought it expedient now to publish any part of these Oaths, in the precise words in which they were taught to me, were it not for the fact,
* Proofs of Conspiracy, p. 44.
† See Webb’s “ Observations on the Orders of Knights Templars, and Knights of Malta.”—Freemason's Monitor, 1816, p. 220.
which has very much surprised me of late; that many of the fraternity, as I am credibly informed, are positively denying the substantial correctness of them, as they stand in Morgan's Illustrations, thereby, as it must be considered, implicating me with the gross charge of falsehood.
The first thing to be noticed as objectionable in these obligations, is the extraordinary mock solemnity, profanity, foc. of their introduction, viz. : “I, A. B. of my own free will and accord, in presence of Almighty God, and this Right Worshipful Lodge, erected to God and dedicated to the Order of the holy St. John ; do hereby, and hereon, most solemnly and sincerely promise and swear." All three of the first obligations, have precisely this introduction, according to my earliest instructions, and what, let me ask, is there in them, or in the other parts of masonry, which can demand, or justify this pretended, solemn formality? As I know of no necessity for this, nor any thing which can be reasonably urged in its justification, I have no hesitation in declaring my opinion fully, that it is an absolute violation of the third Commandment, in twice taking the name of the Lord in vain ; and what an unqualified violation it is, also, of the injunction of holy writ, to “ swear not at all.” And what can it be, but a most daring insult, in the face of the Most High, for a body of men, who, with but very few if any exceptions, generally, are not those, who fear God and work righteousness, to set themselves up, as it were, by his side, clothed with such extraordinary, self-created, selfexalted titles; and what is it but an impious mockery of God, to declare such lodges, in his awful presence, Erected to God, and dedicated to the order of the holy St. John ?" Sure, if these lodges, generally, have been erected to any god, and are acknowledged by him, as such, it must have been to some other than the God of heaven. I wish to be understood, as speaking exclusively of the wickedness of these oaths, in distinction from the character of those who may be still unconsciously giving their sanction to such wickedness.
Another clause which I shall notice at this time, is the same in substance in both the second and third degrees as follows: " I furthermore promise and swear, that I will answer and obey, all due signs and summons, given, sent,
handed, or thrown to me, by the hand of a true and lawful brother fellow craft, (or master mason,) or from the body of a legally constituted lodge of fellow crafts, (or master masons,) so far as in me lies, if within the length of my cable tow." It is certainly difficult to find a happy construction of this clause, and I very much doubt, whether it has been understood by masons themselves, generally. Were it not for its peculiar phraseology, it might be understood to mean, that a person who takes this obligation upon him, is to answer all signs, made to him personally, by a brother of the same degree, by making corresponding masonic signs in return, so as to inspire a masonic confidence in each other; and further that such a person should obey all summons or citations from the lodge to attend its meetings; but as no distinction is made here, between the prerogative of a lodge and a private brother, to make such signs or summonses; it seems, that each one is bound to yield implicit obedience, in case of the signs and summons of an individual brother ; as well as in case of the calls of the lodge, in all cases without qualification, when possible, unless he should be called on to travel further than the length of his cable tow; the length of which imaginary line, I believe, is not uniformly considered alike among masons; though it has been called three, four or five miles. It seems impossible to understand these “signs and summons, as signs of distress and calls for charitable assistance, because a whole lodge, as in this case could not be supposed to call on an individual member for such assistance. If we may be allowed to construe this clause of giving, answering, and obeying
signs and summons,” as would seem most rational and easy from its expression; it binds a mason to be ready, on the shortest notice, to leave his business and go, at the sign of a lodge, private brother, to assist in doing any thing which they might declare necessary to be done, for the welfare and safety of the masonic institution, or its members, as such, should evil be cloaked in the design.
This suggestion, which is the only rational interpretation of the clause which I am able to obtain, I acknowledge, might not have entered my mind, had it not been, that there was such a full, and complete illustration of it,
in the circumstances attending the kidnapping and unquestionable murder of Morgan, by the Freemasons two years ago, and in the masonic outrages which were committed with a view to destroy the disclosures of his, which are now before the world in the three first degrees of masonry. Though the fraternity generally, may be yet far from adopting this opinion, I do consider myself fully authorized in the belief, that the original spirit and design of this clause, was to warrant such proceedings as those in the Morgan affair, when the life and honor of the institution should seem to be thus in jeopardy.
The next clause which claims attention, is as follows, in the oath of the third degree: “I furthermore promise and swear, that I will keep a brother's secrets, and all others committed to me as such, MURDER AND TREASON ONLY EXCEPTED, and those at my own discretion," election, or choice. Before proceeding to state my particular objections to this clause, I would just remark, that I have no doubt, that, as it was taught me, it contains an important mistake, as it seems to level down the privileges of masons with those of other men, in reference to the safety of their secrets with their brethren, and it is presumed that these words, “and all others," in the clause were added by some conscientious masonic lecturer, who, at the time, thought it a necessary and happy amendment, though usually, it is most probable, they have not been admitted into the clause.
One objection to this clause is, that, if there were any validity in such oath, it obliges masons in some particular cases to become accomplices with a brother in his gross violations of the laws of God and man, by concealing his guilt, and thus screening him from the demands of public justice. If a mason of the third degree shall be guilty of counterfeiting, theft, forgery, or highway robbery, for which he shall be about to be brought to justice, if he can find a brother mason, who has taken this obligation, and is able to afford him protection, provided he can be intrusted with all the secret circumstances in the case; then, according to his oath, he is perfectly safe, to go and relate to him the whole matter concerning his crime, to be kept as his secrets, at all events, since they are not the secrets of his murder nor treason, which he is here