Imatges de pàgina

been gratifying to the fraternity that after all his fulminations against masonry, as well as those of his predecessor the Abbe Barruel, who had written a book in four volumes entitled “ The memoirs of Jacobinism in France"* none of the members of the royal family in Great

* Had the Abbe confined his strictures to the Jacobins and the Illumi. nati, he might probably have been correct; but, whatever the secrets and the practices of these institutions may have been, they have not the least connection with those of free-masonry.

The society of the Illuminati appears to have been founded in Bavaria, in the year 1774. These, under the pretext of consulting the happi. ness of the people, and supposing that happiness to be incompatible with every species of civil and religious establishments then existing, said, with one voice, “ Let us destroy them all and raze their very foundations.” The destruction of the Christian religion and the subversion of all governments were their aim, from the year 1776, till the year 1784, when they were driven out of Bavaria.

M.Mounier, a celebrated French writer, who pablished a work in the year 1801, “ On the influence attributed to philosophers, free masons, and illuminati in respect to the French revolution,” treats the remarks of Barruel on the subject of Free-masonry, with merited contempt, and observes, that, not withstanding his threatening denunciations, “ masons were still patronized by the friends of government & religion in every nation of Europe, and reckon among their numbers, some of the most distinguished princes, prelates and statesmen, that the age can boast of.”

The following is the substance of M. Mounier's opinion respecting the essential difference between the Illuminati and the Jacobins. He supposes, that the intention of the former was to guide, in a gradual manner, from the state in which they then were, to that in which they wished them to be, by secret and pacific influence ; for which purpose, they were ambitious to enrol potentates and nobles amongst their numbers; while the object of the latter was to subvert every thing, and to wage open war against all who were distinguished by birth, or by of. fice. The followers of Weishaupt, the founder of the Illuminati, professed to detest all violence, and to depend upon time and patience for the consummation of their wishes ; whereas, the Jacobins preached, every where, the sacred duty of insurrection, and valued themselves on what they styled the regenerating of a kingdom in a year. The German visionaries terminated their views in the ultimate disappearance of every species of political institution, and wished, chat there should be Britain, nor of the European sovereigns or princes, who were free-masons, have been induced, on that account, to desert the society. On the contrary, we have a positive proof of their steadfast attachment to the order, from the following sentiments, which occur in an address delivered to the brethren, on the 3d of June, 1800, by the earl of Moira, who was then deputy grand master :

as Certain modern publications,” says his lordship, 6 have been holding forth to the world the society of masons as in league against all constituted authorities." This imputation, he repels by a number of powerful arguments, of which, this last is certainly irresistibly conclusive. “ The foundation stone of the lodge,” says he - is Fear God and honour the king.* In confirmation of this solemn assertion, what can we advance more irre. fragable than that so many of his Majesty's illustrious family stand in the highest order of masonry, are fully instructed in all its tendencies, and have intimate know- , ledge of every particular, in its current administration under the grand lodge of England. · After so many testimonies, which sufficiently prove, that the principles of the institution are not only innocent, but benevolent, and highly laudable, little more

no farther sovereignty, than that every father should be king in his own family. The Jacobins filled all France with terror and desolation ; while the Illuminati of Germany, whatever their intentions may have been, can never be accused of having excited the least civil commotion.

Such appears to be the sentiments of M. Mounier. How far they are correct, it is not tor me to determine ; but he certainly labours un. der no mistake, when he boldly asserts, that the objects of both these institutions were of a nature totally different from those of the Freemasons, it having been a fundamental principle, which has been most rigidly maintained amongst them from time immemorial, to allow, on no pretence whatever, the discussion, or even the mention of any political topic in a lodge.

* Or the government of the country under which we live. i

need be said to refute the ungenerous aspersions, which have been so wantonly throwo out agaiost it. I shall, therefore, conclude this chapter with the following observation, viz. that when on the 12th July, 1798, an act was passed by the British parliament, “ for the more effectual supression of societies established for seditious and treasonable purposes," such was the confidence of government in the loyalty of free-masons, that their lodges were exempted from its penalties ; and close with this remark, that those, who are best acquainted with the mysteries of our order, must be sensible, that it is founded in WISDOM ; supported by STRENGTH ; adorned with BEAUTY ; and cemented by CORDIALITY and TRUTH. May it, therefore, be our constant study, to act in such a manner that our practice may prove the best comment on the principles of our craft, and thereby teach the world, that Charity and Brotherly Love, Integrity of Heart, and Purity of Manners, are not less the characteristics of Masonry than of Religion. Then may we hope, that when a period even still more awful than the hour of our dissolution shall arrive, when the last trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised ; when our scattered atoms shall be collected, and we shall appear in the presence of the Lord God Omnipotent, “the high and lofty One who inhabiteth eternity," that our transgressions will be graciously forgiven, and that the GRAND MASTEB of the UNIVERSE will be pleased to give us rest, from all our labours, by an admission into the celestial fraternity of angels, and“ the spirits of just men made perfect.

CHAPTER VI. Of Qualifications necessary for those, who wish to become

Free-Masons. No one ought to think of becoming a candidate for admission into this ancient and honourable fraternity, who is

pot in the practice of all the private virtues. Intemperance, the great bane of human happiness, ought to be avoided, and no indulgence in any kind of excess allowed, which might prevent bim from the use of his mental faculties, and the faithful performance of those moral and religious duties which are incumbent on all men, particularly on masons. He ought to be industrious in his vocation, and adore the Lord and Master, who made heaven and earth. He ought not to eat any man's bread for nought; but should conduct himself in such a manner as to be able to pay for all the necessaries and conyeniencies of life. When he is at leisure from his necessary avocations, he should employ himself in studying the arts and sciences, so that he may be better enabled to perform all his duties to his Creator, his country, his neighbour, and himself

He is to seek and acquire, as far as possible, the virtues of patience, meekness, self-denial, and forbearance ; virtues, which give bim the command over himself, and enable him to govern his own family with affection, dignity, and prudence. At the same time he ought to check every disposition which might tend to the injury of his fellow creatures; and, by every means in his power, promote that love and friendship, which brethren of the same household owe to each other.

To afford succour to the distressed, to divide our bread with the industrious poor, and to put the misguided traveller into the right way, are duties which essentially belong to the craft ; but though a mason should never shut his ear against any of the human race, yet when a brother is oppressed or in indigent circumstances, he is, in a peculiar manner, called to relieve him as far as prudence will permit.

It is also necessary, that all, who would be free-inasons, should learn to abstain from malice, slander, and evil . speaking ; from all provoking and indecorous language, and that they should keep the tongue of good report. They should reflect, that the society which they intend to join, is a band of brothers; and it ought to be their endeavour as soon as they have got admission, to strive, by every means in their power, that brotherly love should continue.

A mason should be obedient to the laws of his country, and respect the superior powers. Treason and sedition are held in abhorrence by all, who rightly understand the principles of the institution. A mason should, like. wise, learn to obey those, who are set over him in the lodge ; nor is he to omit this important duty, in consequence of their being inferior to him in worldly rank or condition. Masonry divests no man of his honours ; yet in the lodge, pre-eminence of virtue, and superior knowledge in the art, is considered as the source of all nobility and good government.

The virtue indispensably requisite in masonry is secrecy. This is the guard of their confidence, and the security of their trust. So great stress is laid upon it, that it is enforced under the strongest penalties, nor; in their opinion, is any man to be accounted wise, who has not intellectual strength sufficient to conceal such honest secrets as may be committed to him, as well as his own more serious and private affairs ; but of this I shall speak more at large in the next chapter.

It is further to be observed, that no person is capable of becoming a member, unless, together with the virtues above-mentioned, or at least a disposition to seek and acquire them, he be free-born, of mature age, of good report, of sufficient natural endowments, with an estate, office, trade, occupation, or some visible way of acquiring an honest livelihood, as becomes the members of this most ancient and honourable fraternity ; who ought not


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