תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

Again, the attempt, to connect the Masons of England or of Europe generally with those of Asia, is a gross imposition. There is no historical, there is no traditionary, ground for it. And the association of modern Freemasonry with Rosicrucianism, with the Knights of Templars, Knights of St. John of Jerusalem, afterward Knights Malta, and so forth, is still more preposterous, and a paltry cheat upon the modern dupes of Masonry. To be sure, the Royal orders of Knighthood, and all these religious orders, forma but a mummery disgraceful to mankind; and a Chapter of Knights may be viewed as equally contemptible with a Lodge of Masons. Who can read of a King holding a Chapter of Knights, and see a number of men with fantastical dresses, with painted garters and ribbands, and a priest to pray with and to preach to chem; who can think of a man kneeling down before another man and receiving a rap on the shoulder with a sword, to be told that he may then rise a Knight! who can think of a Chief Magistrate occupied in decorating warriors, and statesmen, and pimps, and cuckolds, with a ribband, a star or a garter, and not say, that it is disgraceful to see public men, or any men, wasting their time with such nonsense ? What, but the most contemptible vanity can make a man respect a ribband, a garter, or a star, as an emblem of any thing? What wise man values emblems? Why do we pity the Indian and the African for his admiration of trinkets, glass beads, and such like trifles, for which the most valuable articles may be obtained in exchange, whilst we see our highest official men amused with such trifles as an order of Knighthood, or a title, and ready to yield for it the most substantial benefits and the most honourable acquisitions. Wherein do our fancied great men differ from the poor ignorant Indian that values a bauble before all things? What honour can- there be in a Ribband, a Garter, or a Star? What have these baubles to do with honourable conduct among mankiad? Nothing whatever : and it is well known, that they are now the beralds of some disgraceful conduct, and not of honourable character. I would not change character and situation, if it were possible, with any Knight in Christendom; yet, I have neither stars, ribbands, nor garters, and would spurn them as an insult, if offered to me by any King in Europe. I had rather be the writer or speaker of one good sentence in favour of good laws, good morals, or good government, than be the holder of every order of Knighthood in Europe. And I feel assured, that I have written many good sentences on each of these three beads, and have assisted to print and promulgate many more. Away then with all your Knight Errantry and Knightly Vanity, with all your Masonic Degrees, with all your mummeries and associations, religious or political, or convivial, and come good laws, good morals, good government-come a well educated people free from all such nonsense, from all such sources of sectarianism and disagree

[ocr errors]

men,t from all such disgraceful distinctions and associations, that do nothing but impede improvement and perpetuate ignorance.

Pythagoras has been called a Mason, and modern Masons have the ignorant vanity to call themselves, or their institutions a remnant of that branch of philosophy which he taught! They are also wild enough to associate themselves with the esoteric doctrines of the Egyptian Priests! It is on record, that both Pythagoras and Plato submitted to be initiated into the mysteries of these Egyptian Priests; but the most reasovable conjecture is, that these Priests held, as their esoteric or private doctrine, some true accounts of the history of the earth and of physics generally, which they did not divulge to the mass of the people. In Freemasonry, I find nothing philosophical; nothing that has more pretensions to philosophy, than these royal, tailor and milliner masons have, with their masonic tools, to practical masonry. In any matter of instruction, modern Freemasonry is contemptible indeed: as I shall by and bye explain.

Unnatural intercourse has been attributed to Masons, as they now exist in association, and though I do not believe any thing of the kind, I really think, that they, and all men who form secret associations, merit the imputation. There exist those who will insist, that all religious mysteries have originated in conjunction with the practice of this unnatural intercourse among men. I cannot clearly see this; though I am disposed to think, that it has been occasionally the case. One very learned man promises to adduce authorities upon the subject. That the practice has been imported from the same soil, whence our European religions have beeu imported, is certain : and that the practice has existed most, where the greatest religious pretensions have been made, is also certain. Nothing really good passes where women are necessarily or systematically excluded. They form the better half of mankind, and should partake of all that passes.

Out of the original Society of Freemasons has grown the ridiculous practice of getting some public man and even women and children to lay the foundation stones of public buildings, with a procession and other ceremonies. Thus we occasionally see a Prince, a Duke, or a Bishop, handling a trowel and a mallet, under the pretence of laying the first stone of a building! Really, it is time, that these fooleries were abolished, and that these Princes, Dukes, and Bishops, should not only play at Masonry; but take a turn up and down the latter with the hod. The conquered and oppressed Irish have served long enough in England as Bricklayers or Masons' labourers. I am for a turn about. I would educate the Irish to better labour and make the Priests and a useless aristocracy take their places. What say you, Irish Roman Catholics ?

Having given a general outline of modern masonry, leaving the particulars to follow in a regular and distinct order, I infer, that modem Freemasonry has no connection or identity with that which existed as a trade society among masons: that it has no antique character; that it is, in reality, in England, but a thing of the last century: that all its pretensions to traditions, which connect it with early associations of the kind, are false and cannot be proved: that it has no resemblance to what was originally called Freemaşoory, and is no likeness of any thing that was in practice in the time of Pythagoras, or of the Egyptian Priests, or of the later religious associations of Christendom. It is very probable, that it has been the parent of similar nonsense called Druids' Societies, Orange Societies, Odd-fellows' Societies, and a variety of filthy spawn of that kind, generally the work of those who keep public-houses, to draw company and to sell their perni, cious liquors to an infatuated and immoral crowd; but I shall now proceed to the minutiæ of the institution, and show, that it cannot possibly produce any general good, and that it cannot fail to produce a general evil, as a source of sectarianism, of waste of lime, of expenses of alehouse or tavern resort, and by teaching a multitude that none but those of their sect are entitled 10. their morality and benevolence.

The real degrees in Freemasonry are three, called the Entered Apprentice, the Fellow Craft, and the Master: or, in the modern trade phrase, the apprentice, the journeyman, and the master. It is quite ridiculous to suppose, that the Egyptian Priests, that Pythagoras, or that any of the religious associations of Knights, or Jesuits, or Monks of any kind, had any such degrees. It is evidently wholly a matter of mechanical origin. Modern Freemasonry has, to increase the amount of fraud, instituted nearly fifty degrees; for moving through every one of which there is something to pay, and nothing new to be learned but pass-words and signs.

A Lodge of Masons consists of the following officers: a Master who is styled Worshipful, and may be considered the chairman of the assembly. There may be also Past Masters, who have been Masters, and who are distinguished as to situation and conduct in the Lodge; but do not act authoritatively. The next to the Master, is the Senior Warden, then the Junior Warden, a Senior Deacon and a Junior Deacon, and, lastly, an Inner Guard, and a Tiler, or Door Keepers, the one inside, the other outside of the door, armed with swords. Their several duties can be best explained by a formal description of the opening of a Lodge of Eniered Apprentices. There are some slight variances in the proceedings of the several Lodges, and from time to time in the same Lodge; but the following description is nearly that of the Grand Lodge, and will, with subsequent explanations, enable any man to enter any Lodge-not that I recommend any thing of the kind. To witness the idle mummery is not a matter of sufficient interest 10 excuse the falsehood of assuming to be a Mason when a man is not.

No. 1, Vol. Xu.

Tho company assembled to form a Lodge, the Master knocks for order, which is repeated by the Wardens, and the following dialogue begins :

[ocr errors]

Worshipful Master: Brethren, assist me to open the Lodge. What is the first care in the Lodge?

Junior Warden. To see the Lodge properly tiled.
W. M. Direct that duty to be dono.
J. W. Brother, Ionor Guard, ascertain that the Lodge is properly tiled.

The Inner Guard knocks three times on the door, which is answered by three knooks by the Tiler, or outer guard, and is indicatire that all is right, that there are no cowans or listeners about the Lodge. The Inger Guard reports to the Junior Warden, and tho latter, with three knocks, and with signs to the Worsbipful Master, reports that the Lodge is properly tiled. The W. M. then asks, What is the next care? which is answered by the Senior Warden-To see the Brethren appear to order as Masons.

W.M. See that duty done.

The Senior Warden examines the persons present by the signs of an En. tered Apprentice, and, with signs, reporls to the W. M. tbat nono but Masons are presept.

W, M. To order, Brethren, as Masons in the firsl degrce. Brother, Ju. ņior Warden, How many principal officers are there in a Lodge?

J. W. Three, namely, the Worshipsul Master and his two Wardeas.
W. M. Brother, Senior Warden, How many assistants are there?

S. W. Three, besides the outer guard or Tiler, namely, the Senior and
Junior Deacons and the Inner Guard.

W. M. Brother, Junior Warden, where is the outer guard or Tiler placed ?

J. W. Without the door of the Lodge.
W. M. His duty ?

J. W. Being armed with a drawn sword, to keep all cowans and listeners from masons, and to see that the candidato for admission comes properly prepared.

W. M. Brother, Senior Warden, where is the Inner Guard placed?
S. W. Within the entrance of the Lodge.
W. M. His duty ?

S. W. To admit Masons upon proof, to receive the candidate in duo form, and to obey the commands of the Junior Warden.

W.M. Brother, Junior Warden, where is the Junior Deacon placod ?
J. W. At the right of the Senior Warden.
W. M. His duty?

J. W. To carry the messages and commands of the Worshipsul Master from the Senior to the Junior Warden, that the same may be punctually obeyed.

W. M. Brother, Senior Warden, where is the Senior Deacon placed ?
S. W. At the right of the Worshipful Master.
W. M. His duty ?

S. W. To carry communications and commands from the Worshipful
Master to the Senior Warden and wait the roturn of the Junior Deacon.

W. M. Brother, Junior Warden, your constant place in the Lodge ?
J. W. In the soulb.
W. M. Why are you placed there?
J.W. To mark the sun at its meridian, to call the Brethren from labour

[ocr errors]

lo refreshment and from refreshment to labour, that profit and pleasure may be the result. W. M. Brotber, Senior Warden, your constant place in the Lodgo? S. W. so the west. W. M. Why are you placed thero?

S. W. To mark the setting sun, to closo the Lodge by tho command of the Worshipful Master, after sceing that every one bas his just dues.

W. M. Worshipful and worlby Past Master, where is the Master's situalion in the Lodge?

P. M. In the cast.
W. M. Why is he placed there?

P. M. As the sun rises in the east to open and enliven the day, so the Worshipful Master is placed in the cast, to open and enlighton his Lodge, to employ and instruct the brethren iu Masonry.

W.M. Brethren, our Lodge being thus doly formed, before I proceed to declare it opened, let us invoke a blessing from the Great Architect of the Universe upon all our undertakings. May our labour, thus begun in order, be conducted in peace and closed in harmony.

P. M. So moto it be. (The Past Master thon advances three steps, opens tho Bible, and remains with his hand on it, until the ceremony finishes.)

W. M. Brethren, ia tbc name of the Great Architect of the Universe, I declare this Lodge duly opened, for the purposes of Masonry in the first degree.

The W. M., S. W., J. W., I. G., and T. then give each three knocks, which announces the Lodge opened and calls the brethren to their seats, to order, &c. The Bible is opened at particular chapters, not worthy of mention here, and the business of the Lodge proceeds. If any doubtful brethren appear, they are made to take a new oath, that they are real Masons, and that they have not been expelled from any Lodge.

The Lodge being duly opened, we will now suppose a candidate applying for initiation. In the opening, we see nothing particularly objectionable; nothing but what is ceremony to be laughed at and despised by reasonable and sensible men. In the initiation of a candidate, we shall find ceremonies that onght to excite our abhorrence, and that really surprised me, on reading a description of them.

A candidate for initiation has to make and sign a declaration, that he wishes to become a Mason, that is, to be initiated into some ceremonies of which he is, or is supposed to be, utterly ignorant, and for which desire, he cannot, as a matter of course, assign a single reason beyond his curiosity. This, in itself, is an anonały, that ought not to be tolerated, and one, that cannot be ubmitted to by a sensible and high-ruindled man. We shall find, that, to be made a Mason, a man has to submit iu that which is au abší te degradation, to have his pockets emptied of bis money, whater amount it may be, and not a word is said about returning it; the stripped nearly naked, or naked to the waist; to be

« הקודםהמשך »