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der, several lodges in America were found on their lists. In a report of a provincial meeting in Randolstown (Ireland) Aug. 14, 1797, relative to the spark of Illuminism, which caught in Ireland, and threatened a universal blaze, under the denomination of United Irishmen, it is stated, that a number of these societies were formed in North America, from which in the then last eight days, a certain sum of money had been received.
A letter from a man of the first respectability in New England,* written in 1798, says; “Illuminism exists in this country. And the impious mockery of the sacramental Supper described by Mr. Robison,t has been acted here. The writer proceeds to state that his informant, a respectable mason, and a principal officer of that brotherhood, declares, that among the higher orders of masons in this country, this piece of Illuminism (the mockery of the holy Supper) is at times practised. And that this was decisive proof of Illuminism in America; as the celebration of the holy Supper was not in any sense a part of the rites of ori. ginal masonry
A lengthy official communication was intercepted, from the illuminated lodge Wisdom, in Portsmouth, (Virginia) to the illuminated lodge the Union of New York; in which were all the names of the officers, and members of the lodge Wisdom, together with their horrid seal, in which were emblems of carnage and death. In this intercepted official document it is ascertained, that the lodge Wisdom in Portsmouth was a branch of the Grand Orient of Paris, which was a kind of parliament of all the lodges of the Illuminees in France; that the lodge Wisdom was the 2660th descendant from the Grand Orient; that it consisted chiefly of French emigrants, being then one hundred in number. And there is no room to doubt, but that their object 'was to revolutionize this country, after the manner of the French revolution. The letter also
* President Dwight.
+ Page 138, 139. See Dr. Morse's Fast Sermon, of April 1799, .
mentions another lodge of this order, the Grand Ori. ent of New York, which had instituted (probably in the heart of our country) at least fourteen other lodges, as the lodge Union, to which the intercepted letter was addressed, was the fourteenth branch, instituted by the Grand Orient of New York. How many more than fourteen the Grand Orient of New York had instituted, was not ascertained. It appears in the letter, that the lodge Wisdom of Portsmouth kept their agent in France, to communicate from their mother lodge, the Grand Orient of Paris, all needed instruction. Their motto accompanying their seal is significant; the literal rendering of which is this; “Men believe their eyes further than their ears. The way by precept is long; but short and efficacious by example.” Here is cautiously hinted the first object of Illuminism; to revolutionize mankind (as to religion and politics) by efficacious craft. Their plan was not for amusement, but for activity, in objects the most serious.
A very respectable mason, who has been master of all the masonic lodges in the state, in which he resides, has informed me, that he was prepared to believe the above account relative to the lodge Wisdom; having once, by a very natural mistake, while Grand Master, as above hinted, had a communication made to him, but which was designed for that lodge in Virginia; in which were things wholly above his comprehension. The communication, by some means not now recollected, went out of his hands. This was before he had heard of Illuminism.
These lodges of Illuminism wese utterly disowned by reputable free masons. And some of their dignitaries, their seal, and their motto, were declared by free masons not to be masonic. In a printed oration delivered before the Grand Royal Arch Chapter of New York, Feb. 3, A. L. 5801, by Rev. John Ernst, Grand Chaplain of the lodge, and reputable among the masons, is the following; “The unravelled and deep designs of modern masons, called the Illuminati, who have almost inundated Europe, and are fast gaining ground in America, have clearly demon
strated the abuse untyled mason lodges have met with; and how they, when not presided over and guarded by men of genuine masonic principles, can be overthrown, revolutionized, and moulded at pleasure.'
A gentleman of high respectability, who belonged to a lodge of the order of ancient masons, in a letter to a friend in New England, dated March 23, 1800, says; “The lodge in Portsmouth, to which you allude, called the French lodge, was considered by me as under the modern term of masonry, (Illuminism.) Its members, in 1789, were mostly French.” In a subsequent let. ter he says; “That you had good grounds to suspect the designs of the French lodge of Portsmouth in Virginia, I have no reason, nor ever had, to doubt. And at a time it is evident to me, that their work was to effect the plans of France in this country; and that the bulk of the members, who composed the lodge in 1797, were ready to further any designs, which the French government may have had on this country, and to give their aid to carry them into effect.
A member of the above mentioned lodge, at the time when Americans thought well of the French rev. olution, boasted, that he belonged to a lodge in Ger. many, in which that revolution was planned!
The societies of United Irishmen, which have appeared in some of the southern states, have evinced the progress of French Illuminism in this country. The constitution of the American society of United Irishmen, was discovered and published in Philadelphia, in May, 1798; in which it is evident, that their object was to enlist and organize the factious and malecontents, especially foreigners, in the different parts of the United States, into the very scheme of Illuminism. Equality and Liberty to all men, were held forth in their declaration, and in their test. Each member pledged him. self, that he would direct all his efforts to the attainment of “Liberty and Equality to mankind, in whatever country he may reside." And, “that the test of this society, and the intention of this institution, in all other respects, than as a social body, attached to freedom, be considered as secret and inviolable in all cases, but between
members, and in the body of the society:” Such a constitution in our states, from such characters, needs no comment. But its members need the vigilant and jealous eye of every friend of our nation.
A worthy gentleman in Pennsylvania, thus writes to his correspondent in New England; “On the occasion of the election of citizen McKean, an altar was erected on the commons, on which the statues of liberty and peace were placed. Large libations were poured on the altar by the priests of liberty, who were clothed in white, with red caps, stuck round with sprigs of laurel: After which, an ox was sacrificed before the altar, and his flesh divided among a thousand citizens, while many republican toasts were drunk by the company. The ox was likewise adorned with garlands, according to the Pagan ritual.”
Christian Americans, did you ever expect things like these in this nation so highly favored of Heaven?
The times of ancient Pagan "ignorance God then winked at.” Ancient Pagans had no revelation. Though the volume of nature was such, as to leave them without excuse; yet they were infinitely less criminal, than present Gospel Pagans. For people, under all our light and privileges, to turn Pagans, and observe Pagan rituals, is only a specious cover of wilful, determined Atheism! They like not to retain God in their knowledge. Men cannot turn from Gospel light to heathen gods, with any real belief in the latter. If they believe not in the true God, they cannot now believe in Jupiter. They are destitute of the honesty and simplicity therefore, of ancient Pagans. Such are wilful and most criminal Atheists! And no wonder the terrors of the battle of the great day of God will be directed against all such; while it will be infinitely less terrible to, (if it reach at all) nations never favored with the Gospel!
A sect of enthusiasts called New Lights, a few years ago, appeared in Nova Scotia, whose religious and political sentiments were pernicious, and indicated, that their instigators were of the order of Illuminism. Volney on the Ruins of Empires, a noted instrument of French Atheism; Paine's Age of Reason, and a flatter
ing account of the French revolution, were read, and privately circulated, by these New Lights.
It would be a task indeed to exhibit but a sketch of all the items of most credible evidence relative to this subject.
I lately received the following information from a respectable man of my acquaintance, and his wife; both of whom are professors of religion. They inform, that about ten years ago, their son had occasion to reside for some months in **********, a capital town in one of the middle states: And that when he returned, to their great astonishment and grief, he returned an Atheist; as he has ever since remained; neglecting and despising all religious order. They learnt from him, that while he was in that capital, he became con- versant with a society there, instituted under French agency, with a view to propagate the sentiments, which he had imbibed. He spoke to his parents of his attend. ing an entertainment in that society, at which the guests were about sixty; and such an entertainment, in point of elegance, as he never before saw, the plate being of immense value. From which we may infer, that the members of that society were persons of affluence and rank. After their son returned home, he went and resided, for several years, in an old town, in a state adjacent to that in which his parents reside. There a society was instituted (as the parents learnt from their son) of the same nature with the society, in which he had imbibed his Atheism, and embracing some very influential characters. This society instituted a printing office in a neighboring town, for the purpose of justifying French measures; and of propagating the sentiments of their order. This was about the time the envoys of President Adams were rejected by France. These parents informed, that their son often suggested that such societies were abundant; and were going to pre. vial through our country, and was very confident, that within twenty years, not a Gospel minister would be supported, or heard in our nation; but that such ministers would be pointed at, as they walked the streets. He asserted, also, that all religious order was an impo