« הקודםהמשך »
at a rush, where aught depended upon either.--I proceed to the subsequent ceremony. .
W.M. As a pledge of your fidelity and to render this binding as a solemn obligation, for as long as you shall live, I will thank you to seal it with your lips three times on the volume of the sacred law. (This is done.) Let me once more call your atten. tion to the position of the square and compasses. When you were made an Entered Apprentice, both points of the compasses were hidden. In the second degree, one was disclosed. In this degree, the whole is exhibited, implying, that you are now at liberty to work with both those points, in order to render the circle of your masonic duties complete.- Rise new obligated Master Mason.
We are now to be introduced to one of the grossest fables and one of the most offensive ceremonies, in which assassination forms a game to be played at, and under which the stoutest heart, whilst ignorant of what is to follow, must feel terror. The fable is, the account of the assassination of Hiram Abiff, and the game is, the sham killing of every Master Mason in a similar manner ; on which I shall comment in a proper place.
Brother Noodle, you having now solemnly entered into an obligation of a Master Mason, are entitled to demand of me, that last and greatest trial, by which alone you can be admitted to a participation of the secrets restricted to the third degree of Masonry. But it is my duty, previously, to call your attention to a retrospect of those degrees in Masonry, through which you have already passed, whereby you will be enabled to distinguish and appreciate the connexion of our whole system, and the relative dependance of its several branches. Your admission among Masons, in a state of helpless indigence, was an emblematic representation of the entrance of all men upon this, their mortal ex. istence. It inculcated the striking lesson of natural equality and mutual dependance. It taught you, in the active principles of universal beneficence and charity, to seek the solace of your own distress, and to extend relief and consolation to your own fellow creatures, in the hour of affliction. It enabled you to free the soul from the dominion of pride and prejudice, and to look beyond the narrow limits of particular institutions, whether civil or religious, and to view in every son of Adam, a Brother of the dust. Above all, it taught you to bend with humility and resignation, to the great Architect of the Universe, to dedicate your heart, thus purified from every malignant passion, and to prepare for the reception of Truth and Wisdom, to his glory and the good of your fellow creatures. Proceeding onwards, and still guided in your progress in the principles of moral Truth, you were passed into the second degree of Masonry, wherein you were enabled to contemplate the intellectual faculties and trace them from their developement through the paths of heavenly science, even to the
throne of God himself. The secrets of nature and the principles of moral truth were thus unveiled before you. You learn the just estimate of those wooderous faculties, with which God has endowed the being formed after his own image, and feel the duly which he has thereby imposed upon you, of cultivating this divine attribute with the most diligent and unremitting care and attention, that you may be enabled to show forth bis glory and render yourself useful to the happiness of mankind. To the man whose mind has thus been modelled to virtue and science, nature presents one great and useful lesson more - the knowledge of himself. She prepares you, by contemplation, for the closing hour. of existence, and when, by means of that contemplation, she has conducted you through the intricate windings of this mortal life, she finally instrucis you how to die. Such my brother are the peculiar objects of the third degree in Freemasonry. They in, vite you to reflect on this awful subject, and teach you to feel ihal, to the just and virtuous man, death has no terrors equal to the stain of falsehood and dishonour. Of this grand truth, Masonry affords a glorious example in the unshaken fidelity and noble death of our Master Hiram Abiff, who was slain just before the completion of King Solomon's Temple, at the construction of which, you, no doubt, are well aware, that he was the principal architect. The manner of his death was as follows: · Fifteen Fellow Crafts of that superior class appointed to preside over the rest, finding that the work was nearly completed, and that they were not in possession of the secrets of the Master's degree, which were only known to Solomon, Hiram and Hiram Abiit, conspired together, to obtain them by any means, and even to have recourse to violence. At the moment of carrying their conspiracy into execution, twelve of the fifteen recanted : but three of a more determined and atrocious character than the Test persisted in their impious design, in prosecution of which, they planted themselves respectively at the East, North, and South entrances of the temple, wbither our Master Hiram Abiff had retired to pay his adoration to the most bigh, as was his wonted custom at the hour of high twelve. · His devotions being ended, our Grand Master attempted to return by the North door, but found himself opposed by the first of the three ruffians, who, for want of another weapon, had armed himself with a heavy plumb rule. In a threatening manner, he demanded of our Grand Master, the secrets of a Master Mason, declaring to him, that his death would be the consequence of a refusal ; but Hiram Abiff, true to his obligation, replied, that those secrels were known only to three, and could only be made known by consent of them all, that diligence and patience would not fail to entitle the worthy mason to participate in those, mysteries, but that he would sooner suffer death than betray his sacred trust. On receiving this answer, the ruffian ained a blow at his head,
No. 4, Vol. XII.
but startled by the firmness of his demeanour, it missed the fore, head, and only glanced upon his right temple, yet, with such violence as to cause our Grand Master to reel and sink on his left knee. Recovering from this situation, he rushed to the South Door, where he was accosted by the second ruffiian, in a similar manner, and answered as before, with undiminished firmness; when the assassin, who was armed with a level, struck our Master Hiram a blow on the left temple, which brought him to the ground upon his right knee. Finding his escape thus cut off in both these quarters, he staggered faint and bleeding to the East Door, where the third ruffian was posted, who, on receiving a similar reply to his insolent demand, (for our G. M. still remained unshaken, even in this trying moment) struck him a violent blow, full in the middle of the forehead, with a heavy setting maul, under whicb this excellent man sunk lifeless, at the foot of the murderer. Such was the manner of his Death, and I have already pointed out to you the instructive lesson which his Death and fortitude so powerfully inculcate in the heart of every faithful Brother.-Such, in like circumstances, will be the magnanimity of every man whose mind is well constituted, who has aquared his life upon the principles of moral truth and justice; who, by improving his faculties in the glory of God, and the goud of man. kind, has answered the great end of his creation, and has learnt to contemplate death as the end of afflictions, and the entrance to a better life. Nor will you, I trust, sink beneath the influence of terror, now that your trial approaches; though you stand before me a devoted victim; though the hand of Death be upon you; and though this awful moment be your last.
At this part of the ceremony, the Master and two Wardens play the part of the three ruffians upon poor Noodle. In a book entitled Jachin and Boaz, which, for the time it was writ:en, (1793) and more particularly with reference to the Scotch lodges, js admitted by all Masons to be correct, with the exception that it places Jachin before Boaz as the word of the first degree, I find the following statement, referring to the point on which we are now touching :-“When you come to this part of the cerea mony of making a Master, it occasions some surprise. The Junior Warden strikes you with a twenty-four inch guage across your throat; the Senior Warden follows the blow by striking you with a square on the left breast; and almost at the same instant, the Master knocks you down with the gavel. This is the custom in most lodges; and it requires no small share of courage, for the blows are frequently so severe, that the poor candidate falls backward on the floor; and the greater his terror at this usage, the more the Brethren are pleased. This custom savours too much of barbarity; and many instances can be produced of persons in this situation, who have requested on their kuees to be set at liberty, and others who have made their escape as fast as possible out of the lodge. The French and natives of Switzerland have a more striking and salemn way of representing the death of Hiram. When a brother comes into the lodge, in order to be raised to the degree of a Master, one of the members lies flat on his back, gith his face disfigured and besmeared with blood, on the spot where the drawing on the floor is made. His natural surprise and confusion immediately appears, and one of the Brethren generally addresses him to the purport following :-* Brother, be not frightened this is the unfortunate remains of a worthy master, that would not deliver the grip and word to three Fellow Crafts, who had no right to it; and from this example we learn our duty, viz, to die before we deliver the Master's part of Masonry to ihose who have no claim thereto. On kneeling to receive the obligation, the supposed dead brother lies behind you, and whilst the master is reading the history of his death, he gets up, and you are laid down in his place. This is the most material di. ference between the French and English method of making a Master Mason; and that is more agreeable to humanity, than to give a man a violent blow on the forehead with a gavel, must be obvious 10, every reader." Thus far the author of Jachin and Baaz."
But apparently mild as might appear this old French mode of making a Master Mason, when contrasted with that of the EngJish mode, Professor Robison, and other writers, French, Gere man, and English, have shown clearly, that all the horrors of the French Revolution grew out of Freemasonry: that, in the lodges of France, of which the Duke of Orleans was, what the Duke of Sussex is in England, Grand Master, assassination was taught as a principle : an effigy of the best of the French Kings was selected to practise upon; and, where it was practicable, a brother was presented to try the feelings of the candidate. Professor Robison quotes from Latocnaye, a French writer, to the following effect :-" A candidate for reception into one of the highest orders; after having heard many threatenings denounced against all who should betray the secrets of the order, was conducted to a place where he saw the dead bodies of several who were said to have suffered for their treachery. He then saw his own brother tied hand and food, begging his mercy and intercession. He was informed, that this person was about to suffer the punishment due to this offence, and that it was reserved for him (the candidate) to be the instrument of this just vengeance, and that this gave him an opportunity of manifesting that he was completely devoted to the order. It being observed, that his countenance gave signs of inward horror, (the person in bonds imploring bis mercy all the while), he was told, that in order to spare bis feelings, a bandage should be put over his eyes. A dagger was then put into his right hand, and being hood-winked, his left hand was laid on the palpitating heart of the criminal, and he was then ordered to strike. He instantly obeyed; and when
the bandage was taken from his eyes, he saw that it was a Lamb that he had stabbed. Surely, such trials and such wanton cruelty are fit only for training conspirators.” And conspirators to assassinate, which are the basest of all conspirators. The man who has felt a tyrant's power, and from a high sense of injustice, incapable of reaching him by law, should strike him dead, is still a good and a great man; but he who can conspire to assassinale even a bad man, even a tyrant, gives evidence, that his is a villain's mind.
In another volume, published at Edinburgh, in 1799, shewing the origin of the principles which predominated during the French Revolution, I find the following account of the initiation of the Duke of Orleans into the highest degree of a French Masonry. “ This degree was called kadosh, from a Hebrew word, which signifies consecration, and sometimes renovalion ; because the (pretended) intention of raising candidates to this degree was to renew human nature, and restore it from slavery to liberty. The Duke of Orleans was introduced by five brethren into a dark room, at the farther end of which was the representation of a grotto full of bones, which were rendered visible by the glimmering of a sepulchral lamp. In a corner of this apartment stood an effigy decked with all the ensigns of royalty, near which was raised a double ladder. Orleans was ordered to stretch himself on the floor, to recount all the degrees and all the oaths which he had taken. He was then desired to rise, to mount to the top of the ladder, and to let himself fall. He did so ; and was told that he had ascended to the highest step of Masonry. Then, armed with a poignard, he was commanded to stab the effigy : blood immediately seemed to gush from the wound, which stained the floor. He was then required to cut off its head, and to hold it up in his right hand, while he brandished the poignard in his left. He was then told, that the bones which he had seen in the grotto were the bones of a Grand Master of the order of the Templars, and that the crowned effigy, which he had stabbed and beheaded, represented Philip-le-bel King of France.”
Mixed up with much that was moral and praisewortly, sim: Jarly detestable principles were taught throughout Germany, even alınost throughout the continent of Europe. And it is evident, from the proofs already adduced, that Freemasonry has been the parent of these detestable associations. On the other hand, we may be assured, that such associations have generated that odious system of police and espignage, which has long infested and disgraced the continent of Europe, which Castlereagh introduced into Ireland, and, with Sidmouth, soughi to introduce it into this country. Where there were no secret associations, spies and a secret police could not exist. Such a bad example, as the assco ciation of Freemasons, is enough to produce the most abominable societies; and it has produced them, in this as well as in other