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Abrac; by which I can define nothing but witchcraft or devil-dealing; and that they had a universal language.
I am surprised, that Mr. Locke should have been duped by a document of this kind; but he was pot free from superstition, and when a man is not free from superstition, he is open to all sorts of imposition and credulity. Newton was also a man of this stamp, and called Masonry the science of sciences; a description wbich is utterly false in fact.
It was in the reign of Henry the Sixth, that the Masonic combination formed a capital offence by statute, and we are here told, that this document so gained the esteem of Henry that he gave the masons his protection. If he did, it must have been a worshipping of the devil for fear; for we are told that the masons were masters of the then so much dread. ed occult arts, or what was called the Black Art. Besides, such a document was enough to call down the thunders of the church upon these supposed sorcerors and we find, that they were persecuted by the Bishop of Winchester, which is a matter of course, if such notions were entertained of masons, or such professions made by them, as this document imports.
Upon the whole, this document is far from being creditable to the masonic association, and proves nothing more than that the secret combination had raised all sorts of strange notions among the multitude, and had perhaps induced the masons themselves to make pretensions of knowing and performing such things as those of which they were utterly ignorant. Similar popular erroneous notions have been entertained to this day. One of my correspondents assures me, that he lost an agree, able partner by ber discovery, that he was a mason, and from her notion, that a mason never used a woman well. The association is a practical mischief producing no kind of good and ought to cease. If the charitable part of it be good, it can be preserved and extended, by relinquishing the secret and more expensive parts. But the mysterious part of it is evidently mischevious and void of a particle of good. It is a cheat upon the multitude, which, I trust, will be rooted out by my exposure.
To set aside all notion that the masonic association was any thing more than a trade association before the eighteenth century, I will copy another document which I find in Preston's book. It relates to the ceremony of installing a master :
As the curious reader may wish to know the ancient charges
that were used on this occasion, we shall here insert them verbatim as they are contained in a MS. in the possession of the Lodge of Antiquity in London, written in the reign of James the Second.
* And furthermore, at diverse assemblies, have been put and ordained diverse crafties, by the best advise of magistrates and fellows, Tunc unus ex senioribus tenet librum, et illi ponent manum suam super
librum Every man that is a mason take good heed to these charges (wee pray), that if any man find himselfe guilty of any of these charges that he may amend himselfe, or principally for the dread of God: you that be charged, take good heed that you keep all these charges well; for it is a great evill for a man to forswear himselfe
upon a book.' • The first charge is, That yee shall be true men to God and the holy church, and to use no error or heresie by your understanding and by wise mens teaching. Allsa,
Secundly. That yee shall be true liege men to the king of England, without treason or any falsehood. and that yee know no treason or treachery, but yee shall give knowledge thereof to the King, or to his counsell: also yee shall be true one to another, (that is to say) every Mason of the craft that is Mason al
shall doe to him as yee would be done unto yourselfe.
Thirdly. And yee shall keepe truly all the counsell that ought to be kept in the way of Masonhood, and all the counsell of the lodge or of the chamber.—Allso, that ye shall be no thiefe, nor thieves to your knowledge free: that yee shall be true to the king, lord, or master that yee serve, and truly to see and worke to his advantage.
· Fourthly, Yee shall, call all Masons your fellows, or your brethren, and no other names.
Fifthly, Yee shall not take your fellow's wife in villany, nor deflower his daughter or servant, nor put him to no disworship.
Sixthly, You shall truly pay for your meat and drink wheresoever yee goe, to table or bord. Allso, yee shall doe no villany there, whereby the craft or science may be slandered.
• These be the charges general to every true Mason, both Masters and Fellows.'
* Now will I rehearse other charges single for Masons allowed or accepted.
First, That no Mason take on him po lord's worke, nor any other man's, unless he know himself well able to perform the worke, so that the craft have no slander.
• Secondly. Allso, that no master take worke but that he take reasonable pay for it; so that the lord may be truly served, and the master to live honestly, and to pay his fellows truely. And
that no master or fellow supplant others of their worke; (that is to say) that if he hath taken a worke, or else stand master of any worke, that he shall not put him out, unless he be unable of cun. ning to make an end of his worke. And no master nor fellow shall take no apprintice for less than seaven years. And that the apprintice be free born, and of limbs whole as a man ought to be and no bastard. And that no master or fellow take no allowance to be made Mason without the assent of his fellows, at the least six or seaven.
* Thirdly, That he that be made be able in all degrees; that is, free-born, of a good kindred, true, and no bondsman, and that 'he have his right limbs as a man ought to have.
• Fourthly, That a master take no apprintice without he have occupation to occupy two or three fellows at the least.
Fifthly, That no master or fellow put away any lord's worke to task that ought to be journey-worke.
• Sixthly, That every master give pay to his fellows and servants as they may deserve, soe that he be not defamed with false workeing. And that none slander another behind his backe, to make him loose his good name.
Seaventhly, That no fellow in the house or abroad answer another ungodly or reproveably without a cause.
Eighthly, That every master-mason doe reverence his elder; and that a mason be no common plaeir at the cards, dice, or hazard; nor at any other unlawful plaies, through the which the science and craft may be dishonoured and slandered.
Ninthly, That no fellow goe into the town by night, except he have a fellow with him, who may bear him record that he was in an honest place,
Tenthly, That every master and fellow shall come to the assemblie, if it be within fifty miles of him, if he have any warning. And if he have trespassed against the craft, to abide the award of masters and fellows.
Eleventhly, That every master-mason and fellow that hath trespassed against the craft shall stand to the correction of other masters and fellows to make him accord; and if they cannot accord, to go to the common law.
• Twelvethly, That a master or fellow make not a mould-stone, square, nor rule, to no lowen, nor let no lowen worke within their Lodge, nor without, to mould stone.
* Thirteenthly, That every Mason receive and cherish strange fellows when they come over the countrie, and set them on worke if they will worke, as the manner is ; (that is to say) if the Mason have any mould stone in his place, he shall give him a mould stone, and sett him on worke; and if he have none, the Mason shall refresh him with money unto the next lodge.
Fourteenthly, That every Mason shall truely serve his master
for his pay.
Fifteenthly, That every Master shall truely make an end of his worke, taske, or journey, whithersoe it be.
* These be all the charges and covenants that ought to be read at the installment of Master, or making of a Free mason or FreeThe Almighty God of Jacob, who ever have you
and me in his keeping, bless us now and ever. Amen.
This old document proves that the masons were a trade association regulated by some moral rules as to conduct, All their pretences to science, occult or open, beyond the science of architecture and its relatives, are manifestly false. And even the science of architecture and its relatives could not be well taught at secret meetings; or not so well taught as in an open school. We see that masons do not study any thing in their lodges, nor rehearse any thing instructive. Sciences are recommended, but they are sent elsewhere to learn them, if desired as well as recommended. The Mechanic's Institution, wbich begins with teaching the simplest rule in arithmetic and leads you on through every real science, is, in reality, that institution of which the masonic association is but a mockery. Speculative masonry bas been a cheat all through its progress. It has taught no one useful thing or quality, but has, in fact, been a school for licensiousness in the midst of contrary recommendations: a practice of thuse very vices which it is incessantly denouncing At Bath, for instance, I am informed, that there is a lodge formed for some who call themselves gentlemen, into which no tradesman is allowed to enter: and that, in consequence, the lodges of the city are all at variance, and the different members ready to cut each others throats or to do each other all possible injury. I have seen a printed circular from an officer of one of the lodges calling on his masonic brethren to assemble and investigate bis conduct, in consequence of a piece of slander set afloat by other masons, that he had enticed children into some hall or place for the purpose natural crime. The slander spread abroad and the man as a 'tradesman was ruined without the means of redress.
This was masonic brotherhood! This is one of the fruits of sectarianism. As some proof of my statement, I have a short squib upon the subject, wbich I will insert. I cannot give the key to it: but it is in the hand or head of every Bath Mason;
THE BATH FREE MASON'S CREED OR BELIEF.
I believe in Thomas, the Mason Almighty, maker of
New Halls, castles in the air, “and, would if he could," Knights of the Temple; and in the present officers, his only choice, who were conceived of self interest ; brought forth of B -e, suffered loss of time under Col; Leigb, were esecrated, dead and buried. In a few years they rose hastily again from their insignificance, descended under ground, and sit before a tall with a bald, powdered, empty head; from whence they send forth their Emissaries and imps to annoy the Brothers who wish to live quiet and to meet in Harmony and Peace, that Honor and respect may be attached to their cause. I believed that Sir Matthew Clog was a legitimate self elected commander of the conclave, and that Sir John Dick father was not; that Law and force and Hectoring were the right plan to establish him, and that honor and honesty were not; that the dynasty of the W
--y's is immortal, aud that Carbon is an infallible remedy in all complaints. I believe in the immaculate purity of the Committee of Finance, in the independence of the Committee of Secresy and self interest, and that the Present W
-y system is everlasting.
· Amen. The only point further for wbich I can find room in this letter is to knock down the history of Solomons Temple. My opinion of it is, at the farthest, that, with the pretended ark and tabernacle of the Jews, it was a mere ingenious description of what expence and labour might do: a plan for some future king or people to work upon. In all mythologies, there are the heroes or gods of strength, of riches, of wisdom, and of many other attributes and possessions, and the author of the Jew books bas very clumsily worked such heroes into the historical romance of his nation. In all mythologies, there bave been temples, tabernacles and arks: or rather, in the order of succession, arks, tabernacles and temples; but these fabled as belonging to the Israelites or Jews have no historical support.
(To be continued.)
COPY OF A LETTER SENT TO THE KING,
SIR AND BROTHER, I HAVE not the least objection that you shall be the grand