Freemasonry No longer Esoteric

But now that so many of the most important secrets of Masonry have been divulged by friend and foe, may we not say, without suspicion of malice or ill-feeling, that since the sad catastrophe of the Templars, no "Lodge" in Europe, still less in America, has ever known anything worth concealing. Reluctant to be misunderstood, we say no Lodge, leaving a few chosen brethren entirely out of question. The frantic denunciations of the Craft by Catholic and Protestant writers appear simply ridiculous, as also the affirmation of the Abbé Barruel that everything "betrays our Freemasons as the descendants of those proscribed Knights" Templars of 1314. The Memoirs of Jacobinism by this Abbé, an eye-witness to the horrors of the first Revolution, is devoted in great measure to the Rosicrucians and other Masonic fraternities. The fact alone that he traces the modern Masons to the Templars, and points them out as secret assassins, trained to political murder, shows how little he knew of them, but how ardently he desired, at the same time, to find in these societies convenient scape-goats for the crimes and sins of another secret society which, since its existence, has harbored more than one dangerous political assassin — the Society of Jesus.

The accusations against Masons have been mostly half guess-work, half-unquenchable malice and predetermined vilification. Nothing conclusive and certain of a criminal character has been directly proven against them. Even their abduction of Morgan has remained a matter of conjecture. The case was used at the time as a political convenience by huckstering politicians. When an unrecognizable corpse was found in Niagara River, one of the chiefs of this unscrupulous class, being informed that the identity was exceedingly questionable, unguardedly exposed the whole plot by saying: "Well, no matter, he's a good enough Morgan until after the election!" On the other hand, we find the Order of the Jesuits not only permitting, in certain cases, but actually teaching and inciting to "High treason and Regicide. "*

* See "The Principles of the Jesuits, Developed in a Collection of Extracts from their own Authors," London: J. G. and F. Rivington, St. Paul's Churchyard, and Waterloo Place, Pall Mall; H. Wix, 41 New Bridge Street, Blackfriars; J. Leslie, Queen Street, etc., 1839. Section xvii., "High Treason and Regicide," containing thirty-four extracts from the same number of authorities (of the Society of Jesus) upon the question, among others the opinion thereof of the famous Robert Bellarmine. So Emmanuel Sa says: "The rebellion of an ecclesiastic against a king, is not a crime of high treason, because he is not subject to the king" ("Confessarium Aphorismi Verbo Clericus," Ed. Colonic, 1615, Ed. Coll. Sion). "The people," says John Bridgewater, "are not only permitted, but they are required and their duty demands, that at the mandate of the Vicar of Christ, who is the sovereign pastor over all nations of the earth, the faith which they had previously made with such princes should not be kept" ("Concertatio Ecclesiae Catholicx in Anglia adversus Calvino Papistas," Resp. fol. 348).

In "De Rege et Regis Institutione, Libri Tres," 1640 (Edit. Mus. Brit.), John Mariana goes even farther: "If the circumstances will permit," he says, "it will be lawful to destroy with the sword the prince who is declared a public enemy. . . . I shall never consider that man to have done wrong, who, favouring the public wishes, should attempt to kill him," and "to put them to death is not only lawful, but a laudable and glorious action." Est tamen salutaris cogitatio, ut sit principibus persuasum si rempublicam oppresserint, si vitiis et feditate intolerandi erunt, ea conditione vivere, ut non jure tantum, sed cum laude et gloria perimi possint" (Lib. i., c. 6, p. 61).

But the most delicate piece of Christian teaching is found in the precept of this Jesuit when he argues upon the best and surest way of killing kings and statesmen. "In my own opinion," he says, "deleterious drugs should not be given to an enemy, neither should a deadly poison be mixed with his food or in his cup . . . Yet it will indeed be lawful to use this method in the case in question (that he who should kill the tyrant would

A series of Lectures upon Freemasonry and its dangers, as delivered in 1862, by James Burton Robertson, Professor of Modern History in the Dublin University, are lying before us. In them the lecturer quotes profusely as his authorities the said Abbé (Barruel, a natural enemy of the Masons, who cannot be caught at the confessional), and Robison, a well-known apostate-Mason of 1798. As usual with every party, whether belonging to the Masonic or anti-Masonic side, the traitor from the opposing camp is welcomed with praise and encouragement, and great care is taken to whitewash him. However convenient for certain political reasons the celebrated Committee of the Anti-Masonic Convention of 1830 (U. S. of America) may have found it to adopt this most Jesuitical proposition of Puffendorf that "oaths oblige not when they are absurd and impertinent," and that other which teaches that "an oath obliges not if God does not accept it,"* yet no truly honest man would accept such sophistry. We be highly esteemed, both in favor and in praise," for "it is a glorious thing to exterminate this pestilent and mischievous race from the community of men), not to constrain the person who is to be killed to take of himself the poison which, inwardly received, would deprive him of life, but to cause it to be outwardly applied by another without his intervention; as, when there is so much strength in the poison, that if spread upon a seat or on the clothes it would be sufficiently powerful to cause death" (Ibid., lib. i., c. f., p. 67). "It was thus that Squire attempted the life of Queen Elizabeth, at the instigation of the Jesuit Walpole." — Pasquier, "Catechisme des Jesuites" (1677, p. 350, etc.), and "Rapin" (fol., Lond., 1733, vol. ii., book xvii., p. 148). * Puffendorf, "Droit de la Nat.," book iv., ch. 1.

sincerely believe that the better portion of humanity will ever bear in mind that there exists a moral code of honor far more binding than an oath, whether on the Bible, Koran, or Veda. The Essenes never swore on anything at all, but their "ayes" and "nays" were as good and far better than an oath. Besides, it seems surpassingly strange to find nations that call themselves Christian instituting customs in civil and ecclesiastical courts diametrically opposed to the command of their God,+ who distinctly forbids any swearing at all, "neither by heaven . . . nor by the earth . . . nor by the head." It seems to us that to maintain that "an oath obliges not if God does not accept it," besides being an absurdity — as no man living, whether he be fallible or infallible, can learn anything of God's secret thoughts — is anti-Christian in the full sense of the word.} The argument is brought forward only because it is convenient and answers the object. Oaths will never be binding till each man will fully understand that humanity is the highest manifestation on earth of the Unseen Supreme Deity, and each man an incarnation of his God; and when the sense of personal responsibility will be so developed in him that he will consider forswearing the greatest possible insult f "Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, thou shalt not forswear thyself. . . . But I say unto you, swear not at all," etc. "But let your communication be yea, yea; nay, nay; for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil" (Matthew v. 33, 34, 37). J Barbeyrac, in his notes on Puffendorf, shows that the Peruvians used no oath, but a simple averment before the Inca, and were never found perjuring themselves.

to himself, as well as to humanity. No oath is now binding, unless taken by one who, without any oath at all, would solemnly keep his simple promise of honor. Therefore, to bring forward as authorities such men as Barruel or Robison is simply obtaining the public confidence under false pretenses. It is not the "spirit of Masonic malice whose heart coins slanders like a mint," but far more that of the Catholic clergy and their champions; and a man who would reconcile the two ideas of honor and perjury, in any case whatever, is not to be trusted himself.

Loud is the claim of the nineteenth century to preeminence in civilization over the ancients, and still more clamorous that of the churches and their sycophants that Christianity has redeemed the world from barbarism and idolatry. How little both are warranted, we have tried to prove in these two volumes. The light of Christianity has only served to show how much more hypocrisy and vice its teachings have begotten in the world since its advent, and how immensely superior were the ancients over us in every point of honor.* The clergy, by teaching the helplessness of man, his utter dependence on Providence, and the doctrine of atonement, have crushed in their faithful followers every atom of self-reliance and self-respect. So true is this, that it is becoming an axiom that the most honorable men are to be found among atheists and the so-called "infidels." We hear from Hipparchus that in the days of heathenism "the shame and

* We beg the reader to remember that we do not mean by Christianity the teachings of Christ, but those of his alleged servants — the clergy.

disgrace that justly attended the violation of his oath threw the poor wretch into a fit of madness and despair, so that he cut his throat and perished by his own hands, and his memory was so abhorred after his death that his body lay upon the shore of the island of Samos, and had no other burial than the sands of the sea."+ But in our own century we find ninety-six delegates to the United States Anti-Masonic Convention, every one doubtless a member of some Protestant Church, and claiming the respect due to men of honor and gentlemen, offering the most Jesuitical arguments against the validity of a Masonic oath. The Committee, pretending to quote the authority of "the most distinguished guides in the philosophy of morals, and claiming the most ample support of the inspired} . . . who wrote before Freemasonry existed," resolved that, as an oath was "a transaction between man on one part and the Almighty Judge on the other," and the Masons were all infidels and "unfit for civil trust," therefore their oaths had to be considered illegal and not binding. §

But we will return to these Lectures of Robertson and his charges against Masonry. The greatest accusation brought f Dr. Anderson's "Defence," quoted by John Yarker in his "Notes on the Scientific and Religious Mysteries of Antiquity."

J Epiphanius included, we must think, after that, in violation of his oath, he had sent over seventy persons into exile, who belonged to the secret society he betrayed.

§ United States Anti-Masonic Convention, "Obligation of Masonic Oaths," speech delivered by Mr. Hopkins, of New York.

against the latter is that Masons reject a personal God (this on the authority of Barruel and Robison), and that they claim to be in possession of a "secret to make men better and happier than Christ, his apostles and his Church have made them." Were the latter accusation but half true, it might yet allow the consoling hope that they had really found that secret by breaking off entirely from the mythical Christ of the Church and the official Jehovah. But both the accusations are simply as malicious as they are absurd and untrue; as we shall presently see.

Let it not be imagined that we are influenced by personal feeling in any of our reflections upon Masonry. So far from this being the case we unhesitatingly proclaim our highest respect for the original purposes of the Order and some of our most valued friends are within its membership. We say naught against Masonry as it should be, but denounce it as, thanks to the intriguing clergy, both Catholic and Protestant, it now begins to be. Professedly the most absolute of democracies, it is practically the appanage of aristocracy, wealth, and personal ambition. Professedly the teacher of true ethics, it is debased into a propaganda of anthropomorphic theology. The half-naked apprentice, brought before the master during the initiation of the first degree, is taught that at the door of the lodge every social distinction is laid aside, and the poorest brother is the peer of every other, though a reigning sovereign or an imperial prince. In practice, the Craft turns lickspittle in every monarchical country, to any regal scion who may deign, for the sake of using it as a political tool, to put on the once symbolical lambskin.

How far gone is the Masonic Fraternity in this direction, we can judge from the words of one of its highest authorities. John Yarker, Junior, of England; Past Grand Warden of the Grand Lodge of Greece; Grand Master of the Rite of Swedenborg; also Grand Master of the Ancient and Primitive Rite of Masonry, and Heaven only knows what else,* says that Masonry could lose nothing by "the adoption of a higher (not pecuniary) standard of membership and morality, with exclusion from the 'purple' of all who inculcate frauds, sham, historical degrees, and other immoral abuses" (page 158). And again, on page 157: "As the Masonic Fraternity is now governed, the Craft is fast becoming the paradise of the bon vivant; of the 'charitable' hypocrite, who forgets the version of St. Paul, and decorates his breast with the 'charity jewel' (having by this judicious expenditure obtained the 'purple' he metes out judgment to other brethren of greater ability and morality but less means); the manufacturer of paltry Masonic tinsel; the rascally merchant who swindles in hundreds, and even thousands, by appealing to the tender consciences of those few who do regard their O. B.'s; and the Masonic 'Emperors' and other charlatans who make power or money out of the aristocratic pretensions which they have tacked on to our institution — ad captandum vulgus."

* John Yarker, Junr., "Notes on the Scientific and Religious Mysteries of Antiquity; the Gnosis and Secret Schools of the Middle Ages; Modern Rosicrucianism; and the various Rites and Degrees of Free and Accepted Masonry." London, 1872.

We have no wish to make a pretence of exposing secrets long since hawked about the world by perjured Masons. Everything vital, whether in symbolical representations, rites, or passwords, as used in modern Freemasonry, is known in the Eastern fraternities; though there seems to be no intercourse or connection between them. If Medea is described by Ovid as having "arm, breast, and knee made bare, left foot slipshod"; and Virgil, speaking of Dido, shows this "Queen herself . . . now resolute on death, having one foot bare, etc.,"* why doubt that there are in the East real "Patriarchs of the sacred Vedas," explaining the esotericism of pure Hindu theology and Brahmanism quite as thoroughly as European "Patriarchs"?

But, if there are a few Masons who, from study of kabalistic and other rare works, and coming in personal communication with "Brothers" from the far-away East, have learned something of esoteric Masonry, it is not the case with the hundreds of American Lodges. While engaged on this chapter, we have received most unexpectedly, through the kindness of a friend, a copy of Mr. Yarker's volume, from which passages are quoted above. It is brimful of learning and, what is more, of knowledge, as it seems to us. It is especially valuable at this moment, since it corroborates, in many particulars, what we have said in this work. Thus, we read in it the following:

"We think we have sufficiently established the fact of the connection of Freemasonry with other speculative rites of antiquity, as well as the antiquity and purity of the old English Templar-Rite of seven degrees, and the spurious derivation of many of the other rites therefrom."+

Such high Masons need not be told, though Craftsmen in general do, that the time has come to remodel Masonry, and restore those ancient landmarks, borrowed from the early sodalities, which the eighteenth century founders of speculative Freemasonry meant to have incorporated in the fraternity. There are no longer any secrets left unpublished; the Order is degenerating into a convenience for selfish men to use, and bad men to debase.

It is but recently that a majority of the Supreme Councils of the Ancient and Accepted Rite assembled at Lausanne, justly revolting against such a blasphemous belief as that in a personal Deity, invested with all human attributes, pronounced the following words: "Freemasonry proclaims, as it has proclaimed from its origin, the existence of a creative principle, under the name of the great Architect of the universe." Against this, a small minority has protested, urging that "belief in a creative principle is not the belief in God, which Freemasonry requires of every candidate before he can pass its very threshold."

This confession does not sound like the rejection of a personal God. Could we have had the slightest doubt upon the subject, it would be thoroughly dispelled by the words of f John Yarker, "Notes, etc.," p. 150.

General Albert Pike,* perhaps the greatest authority of the day, among American Masons, who raises himself most violently against this innovation. We cannot do better than quote his words:

"This Principe Createur is no new phrase — it is but an old term revived. Our adversaries, numerous and formidable, will say, and will have the right to say, that our Principe Createur is identical with the Principe Genateur of the Indians and Egyptians, and may fitly be symbolized as it was symbolized anciently, by the Ling«. . . . To accept this, in lieu of a personal God, is To Abandon Christianity, and the worship of Jehovah, and return to wallow in the styes of Paganism."

And are those of Jesuitism, then, so much cleaner? "Our adversaries, numerous and formidable." That sentence says all. Who these so formidable enemies are, is useless to inquire. They are the Roman Catholics, and some of the Reformed Presbyterians. To read what the two factions respectively write, we may well ask which adversary is the more afraid of the other. But, what shall it profit any one to organize against a fraternity that does not even dare to have a belief of its own for fear of giving offense? And pray, how, if Masonic oaths mean anything, and Masonic penalties are regarded as more than burlesque, can any adversaries, numerous or few, feeble or strong, know what goes on inside

* Proceedings of the Supreme Council of Sovereign Grand Inspectors-General of the Thirty-third and Last Degree, etc., etc. Held at the city of New York, August 15, 1876," pp. 54, 55.

the lodge, or penetrate beyond that "brother terrible, or the tiler, who guards, with a drawn sword, the portals of the lodge"? Is, then, this "brother terrible" no more formidable than Offenbach's General Boum, with his smoking pistol, jingling spurs, and towering panache? Of what use the millions of men that make up this great fraternity, the world over, if they cannot be so cemented together as to bid defiance to all adversaries? Can it be that the "mystic tie" is but a rope of sand, and Masonry but a toy to feed the vanity of a few leaders who rejoice in ribbons and regalia? Is its authority as false as its antiquity? It seems so, indeed; and yet, as "even the fleas have smaller fleas to bite 'em," there are Catholic alarmists, even here, who pretend to fear Masonry!

And yet, these same Catholics, in all the serenity of their traditional impudence, publicly threaten America, with its 500,000 Masons, and 34,000,000 Protestants, with a union of Church and State under the direction of Rome! The danger which threatens the free institutions of this republic, we are told, will come from "the principles of Protestantism logically developed." The present Secretary of the Navy — the Hon. R. W. Thompson, of Indiana, having actually dared, in his own free Protestant country, to publish a book recently on Papacy and the Civil Power, in which his language is as moderate as it is gentlemanly and fair, a Roman Catholic priest, at Washington, D. C. — the very seat of Government — denounces him with violence. What is better, a representative member of the Society of Jesus, Father F. X. Weninger, D. D., pours upon his devoted head a vial of wrath that seems to have been brought direct from the Vatican cellars. "The assertions," he says, "which Mr. Thompson makes on the necessary antagonism between the Catholic Church and free institutions, are characterized by pitiful ignorance and blind audacity. He is reckless of logic, of history, of common sense, of charity; and presents himself before the loyal American people as a narrow-minded bigot. No scholar would venture to repeat the stale calumnies which have so often been refuted. . . . In answer to his accusations against the Church as the enemy of liberty, I tell him that, if ever this country should become a Catholic country, that is, if Catholics should ever be in the majority, and have the control of political power, then he would see the principles of our Constitution carried out to the fullest extent; he would see that these States would be in very deed United. He would behold a people living in peace and harmony; joined in the bonds of one faith, their hearts beating in unison with love of their fatherland, with charity and forbearance toward all, and respecting the rights and consciences even of their slanderers."

In behalf of this "Society of Jesus," he advises Mr. Thompson to send his book to the Czar, Alexander II., and to Frederick William, Emperor of Germany. He may expect from them, as a token of their sympathy, the orders of St. Andrew and of the Black Eagle. "From clear-minded, self-thinking, patriotic Americans, he cannot expect anything but the decoration of their contempt. As long as American hearts will beat in American bosoms, and the blood of their fathers shall flow in their veins, such efforts as Thompson's shall not succeed. True, genuine Americans will protect the Catholic Church in this country and will finally join it." After that, having thus, as he seems to think, left the corpse of his impious antagonist upon the field, he marches off emptying the dregs of his exhausted bottle after the following fashion: "We leave the volume, whose argument we have killed, as a carcass to be devoured by those Texan buzzards — those stinking birds — we mean that kind of men who love to feed on corruption, calumnies, and lies, and are attracted by the stench of them."

This last sentence is worthy to be added as an appendix to the Discorsi del Sommo Pontifice Pio IX., by Don Pasquale di Franciscis, immortalized in the contempt of Mr. Gladstone. —

Tel maitre tel Valet!

Moral: This will teach fair-minded, sober, and gentlemanly writers that even so well-bred an antagonist as Mr. Thompson has shown himself in his book, cannot hope to escape the only available weapon in the Catholic armory — Billingsgate. The whole argument of the author shows that while forcible, he intends to be fair; but he might as well have attacked with a Tertullianistic violence, for his treatment would not have been worse. It will doubtless afford him some consolation to be placed in the same category with schismatic and infidel emperors and kings.

While Americans, including Masons, are now warned to prepare themselves to join the Holy Apostolic and Roman Catholic Church, we are glad to know that there are some as loyal and respected as any in Masonry who support our views. Conspicuous among them is our venerable friend, Mr. Leon Hyneman, P. M., and a member of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania. For eight or nine years he was editor of the Masonic Mirror and Keystone, and is an author of repute. He assures us personally that for over thirty years he has combated the design to erect into a Masonic dogma, belief in a personal God. In his work, Ancient York and London Grand Lodges, he says (p. 169): "Masonry, instead of unfolding professionally with the intellectual advancement of scientific knowledge and general intelligence, has departed from the original aims of the fraternity, and is apparently inclining towards a sectarian society. That is plainly to be seen . . . in the persistent determination not to expunge the sectarian innovations interpolated in the Ritual. . . . It would appear that the Masonic fraternity of this country are as indifferent to ancient landmarks and usages of Masonry, as the Masons of the past century, under the London Grand Lodge were." It was this conviction which prompted him, in 1856, when Jacques Etienne Marconis de Negre, Grand Hierophant of the Rite of Memphis, came to America and tendered him the Grand Mastership of the Rite in the United States, and the Ancient and Accepted Rite offered him an Honorary 33d — to refuse both.

The Temple was the last European secret organization which, as a body, had in its possession some of the mysteries of the East. True, there were in the past century (and perhaps still are) isolated "Brothers" faithfully and secretly working under the direction of Eastern Brotherhoods. But these, when they did belong to European societies, invariably joined them for objects unknown to the Fraternity, though at the same time for the benefit of the latter. It is through them that modern Masons have all they know of importance; and the similarity now found between the Speculative Rites of antiquity, the mysteries of the Essenes, Gnostics, and the Hindus, and the highest and oldest of the Masonic degrees well prove the fact. If these mysterious brothers became possessed of the secrets of the societies, they could never reciprocate the confidence, though in their hands these secrets were safer, perhaps, than in the keeping of European Masons. When certain of the latter were found worthy of becoming affiliates of the Orient, they were secretly instructed and initiated, but the others were none the wiser for that.

No one could ever lay hands on the Rosicrucians, and notwithstanding the alleged discoveries of "secret chambers," vellums called "T," and of fossil knights with ever-burning lamps, this ancient association and its true aims are to this day a mystery. Pretended Templars and sham Rose-Croix, with a few genuine kabalists, were occasionally burned, and some unlucky Theosophists and alchemists sought and put to the torture; delusive confessions even were wrung from them by the most ferocious means, but yet, the true Society remains to-day as it has ever been, unknown to all, especially to its cruelest enemy — the Church.

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