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lodge, our hearts, our souls shall be open to their reception."
"As the great family of the mystick compact is spread over the surface of the two hemispheres, it would be impossible to distinguish its members, without some peculiar mark, by which they become known. The signs, words, and tokens, form the medium of communication between brethren of all na. tions and tongues, by which they become intelligible to each other and make known their necessities.
"The importance of secrecy with us, is such, that we may not be deceived in the dispensing of our charities; that we may not be betrayed in the tenderness of our benevolence, or that others usurp the portion which is prepared for those of our family. Who can wish any man to be so iniquitous among Masons, as to guide the thief to steal from a sick brother the medicine which should restore his health? The balsam which should close his wounds? The clothing which should shield his trembling limbs from the severity of winter? The drink which
should moisten his parching lips? The bread which should save his soul alive?"
“ Such is the importance of our secrecy :-Were no other ties upon our affections or consciences than merely the sense of the injury we should do to the poor and the wretched, by a transgression of this rule, we are pursuaded it would be sufficient to lock up the tongue of every man who professes himself to be a Mason,” and lead him solemnly to look into the heavens and say,
“ Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth; keep thou the door of my lips.”.
Our principles being drawn from revelation, do not require us to make the secrets of Masonry known; but give us many encouragements persevere in their concealment. The glorious Author of our being has informed us, “That he worketh all
" things after the counsel of his own will:" yet he has never made his un- . changeable purpose known in all its extensive amiableness, glory, and per. fection to any of his friends. He dis,
closes to the universe of intelligence, at different times and in diverse manners, all that is absolutely necessary for their happiness and the dignity of his character. Jesus, who treated his
, disciples with the greatest tenderness and respect, thought it consistent and infinitely for the best, to keep some things concealed from them, and consequently said : “ I have many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.” Masons may safely follow Immanuel in rendering to all a suitable tribute of respect, and keep in their hearts those peculiarities which cannot in the present state of things be consistently revealed.
2d. “How is it consistent to require candidates to promise to conceal certain secrets, before they are communicated to them for their examination ?”
This requisition may appear terrifying to many, and undoubtedly hinders some from making application for initiation ; yet when the course that we pursue with those who are desirous of becoming members, is examined, and 'the plan which our opponents have adopted to keep their systems of secrecy froin publick scrutiny is candidly investigated, every unprejudiced person will quit this seemingly strong hold against Masonry and think more honourably of the institution.
Every candidate before his admission has a right to peruse the warrant or dispensation by which the lodge is held, also, the by-laws, and see a cata. logue of the members. He may be informed by those whom he can believe that the obligation which he is to take, is perfectly moral and com. patible with the principles of christianity, civil society, and good government.
It cannot be criminal that we should make every candidate promise to keep the secrets of Masonry, previously to our communicating to him the distinguishing characteristicks of our order, and our manner of knowing those who have been initiated. In every plan wisely formed for refinement, enjoy. ment, and happiness, a reciprocity of
promises are made among individuals. Who shall commence promising ? Shall those who have been made Masons ? Or shall those who wish to en. ter the fraternity ? Let every reader judge righteously, and we shall be acquitted. Did none of our opponents never have any thing of a private nature, which they were willing to confide in a particular friend, but previously to communicating it, they demanded a solemn promise of secrecy? And were they not determined to know whether their friend would conceal their secret, before they would presume to communicate it? If there is a propriety in their procedure, why not in ours? If we are wrong in this part of our transaction, “He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone at” us.
3d. “ How can men, professing different political and religious sentiments be received into lodges ?”
The requisite qualifications of a candidate, being described in Chap. XI, the reader may there see our senti