War of Anti-Christ with the Church - Rev. G. E. Dillon

Freemasonry in Britain

We hear from every side a great deal regarding the difference said to exist between Freemasonry as it has remained in the United Kingdom, and as it has developed itself on the Continent of Europe since its introduction there chiefly, we must remember, by British Jacobites, in the last century. It is argued, that the Illuminism of Weishaupt, or that of Saint Martin, did not cross the Channel to any great extent; and that on the whole the lodges of England, Ireland, and Scotland remained loyal to Monarchy and to religion. There is much truth in all this. The Conservative character of the mass of English Freemasons, and the fact, that amongst them were found the real governors and possessors of the country, made it impossible that such men could conspire against their own selves. But, as I have already shown, the fact that British lodges have always had intercourse with the lodges of the Continent, makes it equally impossible that some, at least, of the theories of the latter should not have got into the lodges on this side of the water. (1)

I believe it is owing mainly to this influence over British Freemasons that so many revolutionary movements have found favor with our legislators, who are, when they are not Catholics, generally of the craft. It was through it that the fatal foreign policy of Lord Palmerston obtained such support, even against the conviction and instincts of the best and most farseeing statesmen of the country, as, for instance, the late Lord Derby. It was through it, certainly, that the cry for secular education was welcomed amongst us; that divorce and "liberal" marriage laws came into force, and that attacks were permitted upon the sanctity of the Sabbath and other Christian institutions.

The doing away by degrees of the "Lord's Day" is a favorite aim of Atheism; and it is by resisting this aim—by resisting all its aims on morality and religion that we can hope to sustain the Christianity and the religious character of this country and its people. (2)

But granting that British lodges remain unaffected by Atheism and Anti-Christianity which, as we have seen, influence the whole mass of Continental Freemasonry, would they on that account be innocent? Could a conscientious man of any Christian denomination join them? The question is, of course, decided for Catholics. The Church forbids her children to be members of British or any Freemasonry under penalty of excommunication. The reasons which have led the Church to make a law so stringent and so serious must have been very grave. We have seen some at least of these reasons; and it is certainly with a full knowledge of facts that she has decreed the same penalties against such of her children as join the English lodges as she has against those who join the lodges of the Continent.

Then, though parsons have become "chaplains" to lodges, Anglicans generally have shown no sympathy with the Freemasonry of England. I am not aware that Protestant denominations assume, or that their members grant them, the power of making laws which could bind in conscience. If they did possess such power, many of them, I have no doubt would forbid Freemasonry, as dangerous and evil in itself. But it needs not a law from man to guide one in determining what is clearly prohibited by reason and revelation.

Now that which is called harmless Freemasonry with us, is, besides the evident danger to which it is exposed, of being made what it has become in the rest of the world, both sacrilegious and dangerous. If it be only a society for brotherly intercourse and mutual help, where can be the necessity of taking for such purposes, a number of oaths of the most frightful character? I shall now quote some of these oaths—the most ordinary ones taken by every English Freemason who advances to the first three degrees of the Craft. Oaths far more blasphemous and terrible are taken in the higher degrees both in England and on the Continent. I shall also give you the passwords, grips, and signs for these three main degrees. One can then judge of the nature of the travesty that is made of the name of God for purposes utterly puerile, if not meant to cover such real and deadly secrecy as that of Continental Masonry.

The first of these oaths is administered to the candidate who wishes to become an apprentice. He is divested of all money and metal. His right arm, left breast and left knee are bare. His right heel is slipshod. He is blindfolded, and a rope called a "cable tow", adapted for hanging, is placed round his neck. A sword is pointed to his breast, and in this manner he is placed kneeling before the Master of the Lodge, in whose presence he takes the following oath, his hand placed on a Bible:—

"I, N. N., in the presence of the great Architect of the Universe, and of this warranted, worthy and worshipful lodge of free and accepted Masons, regularly assembled and properly dedicated, of my own free will and accord, do hereby and hereon, most solemnly and sincerely swear, that I will always hail, conceal, and never reveal, any part or parts, point or points, of the secrets and mysteries of, or belonging to, free and accepted Masons in masonry, which have been, shall now, or hereafter may be, communicated to me, unless it be to a true and lawful brother or brothers, and not even to him or them, till after due trial, strict examination, or sure information from a well-known brother, that he or they are worthy of that confidence, or in the body of a just, perfect, and regular lodge of accepted Freemasons.

"I further solemnly promise, that I will not write those secrets, print, carve, engrave, or otherwise delineate them, or cause or suffer them to be done so by others, if in my power to prevent it, on anything movable or immovable under the canopy of heaven, whereby or whereon any letter, character or figure, or the least trace of a letter, character or figure may become legible or intelligible to myself, or to anyone in the world, so that our secrets, arts, and hidden mysteries, may improperly become known through my unworthiness. These several points I solemnly swear to observe, without evasion, equivocation, or mental reservation of any kind, under no less a penalty, on the violation of any of them, than to have my throat cut across, my tongue torn out by the root, and my body buried in the sand of the sea at low water mark, or a cable's length from the shore, where the tide regularly ebbs and flows twice in the twenty-four hours, or the more efficient punishment of being branded as a wilfully perjured individual, void of all moral worth, and unfit to be received in this warranted lodge, or in any other warranted lodge, or society of Masons, who prize honor and virtue above all the external advantages of rank and fortune: so help me, God, and keep me steadfast in this my great and solemn obligation of an Entered Apprentice Freemason."

"W.M.—"What you have repeated may be considered a sacred promise as a pledge of your fidelity, and to render it a solemn obligation, I will thank you to seal it with your lips on the volume of the sacred law." (Kisses the Bible.)

When the above oath is duly taken, the "sign" is given. This for an Apprentice, consists of a gesture made by drawing the hand smartly across the throat and dropping it to the side. This gesture has reference to the penalty attached to breaking the oath. The grip is also a penal sign. It consists of a distinct pressure of the top of the right hand thumb to the first joint from the wrist of the right hand forefinger, grasping the finger with the hand. The password is BOAZ, and is given letter by letter. There are a number of quaint ceremonial charges and lectures which may be seen by consulting any of the Manuals of Freemasonry, and which are perfectly given in a treatise by one Carlile, an Atheist, who undertook for the benefit of Infidelity to divulge the whole of the mere ceremonial secrecy of English Freemasons, in order to advance the real secret of it all, namely Pantheism or Atheism, and hatred for every form of Christianity. The English Freemasons made too much of the ceremonies and too little of Atheism, and hence the design of real Infidelity to get the "real secret" into English lodges by expelling the pretended one.

The oath of the second degree, that of Fellow-Craft, is as follows :—

"I, N. N., in the presence of the Grand Geometrician of the Universe, and in this worshipful and warranted Lodge of Fellow-Craft Masons, duly constituted, regularly assembled, and properly dedicated, of my own free will and accord, do hereby and hereon most solemnly promise and swear that I will always hail, conceal, and never reveal any or either of the secrets or mysteries of, or belonging to, the second degree of Freemasonry, known by the name of the Fellow-Craft, to him who is but an entered Apprentice, no more than I would either of them to the uninitiated or the popular world who are not Masons. I further solemnly pledge myself to act as a true and faithful craftsman, obey signs, and maintain the principles inculcated in the first degree. All these points I most solemnly swear to obey, without evasion, equivocation, or mental reservation of any kind, under no less a penalty, on the violation of any of them, in addition to my former obligation, than to have my left breast cut open, my heart torn therefrom, and given to the ravenous birds of the air, or the devouring beasts of the field, as a prey: so help me Almighty God, and keep me steadfast in this my great and solemn obligation of a Fellow-Craft Mason."

After taking this oath with all formality, the Fellow-Craft Mason is entrusted with the sign, grip and pass-word by the Master, who thus addresses him:—

"You, having taken the solemn obligation of a Fellow-Craft Freemason, I shall proceed to entrust you with the secrets of the degree. You will advance towards me as at your initiation. Now take another pace with your left foot, bringing the right heel into its hollow, as before. That is the second regular step in Freemasonry, and it is in this position that the secrets of the degree are communicated. They consist as in the former instance, of a sign, token, and word; with this difference that the sign is of a three-fold nature.

"The first part of a three-fold sign is called the sign of fidelity, emblematically to shield the repository of your secrets from the attacks of the cowan. (The sign is made by pressing the right hand on the left breast, extending the thumb perpendicularly to form a square). The second part is called the hailing sign, and is given by throwing the left hand up in this manner (horizontal from the shoulder to the elbow, and perpendicular from the elbow to the ends of the fingers, with the thumb and forefinger forming a square.) The third part is called the penal sign, and is given by drawing the hand across the breasts and dropping it to the side. This is in allusion to the penalty of your obligation, implying that as a man of honour, and a FellowCraft Mason, you would rather have your heart torn from your breast, than to improperly divulge the secrets of this degree. The grip, or token, is given by a distinct pressure of the thumb on the second joint of the hand or that of the middle finger. This demands a word; a word to be given and received with the same strict caution as the one in the former degree, either by letters or syllables. The word is JACHIN. As in the course of the evening you will be called on for this word, the Senior Deacon will now dictate the answers you will have to give."

The next oath is that of the highest substantial degree in old Freemasonry, namely, that of Master. Attention is specially to be paid to the words "or at my own option."

"I, N. N., in the presence of the Most High, and of this worthy and worshipful lodge, duly constituted, regularly assembled, and properly dedicated, of my own free will and accord, do hereby and hereon, most solemnly promise and swear, that I will always hail, conceal, and never reveal, any or either of the secrets or mysteries of, or belonging to, the degree of a Master Mason, to anyone in the world, unless it be to him or them to whom the same may justly and lawfully belong; and not even to him or them, until after due trials, strict examination, or full conviction, that he or they are worthy of that confidence, or in the bosom of a Master Mason's Lodge.

"I further most solemnly engage that I will keep the secrets of the Third Degree from him who is but a FellowCraft Mason, with the same strict caution as I will those of the Second Degree from him who is but an Entered Apprentice Freemason; the same or either of them, from anyone in the known world, unless to true and lawful Brother Masons.

"I further solemnly engage myself to advance to the pedestal of the square and compasses, to answer and obey all lawful signs and summonses sent to me from a Master Mason's Lodge, if within the length of my cable-tow, and to plead no excuse except sickness, or the pressing emergency of my own private or public avocations.

"I furthermore solemnly pledge myself to maintain and support the five points of fellowship, in act as well as in word; that my hand given to a Mason shall be the sure pledge of brotherhood; that my foot shall traverse through danger and difficulties, to unite with his in forming a column of mutual defence and safety; that the posture of my daily supplications shall remind me of his wants, and dispose my heart to succour his distresses and relieve his necessities, as far as may fairly be done without detriment to myself or connexions; that my breast shall be the sacred repository of his secrets, when delivered to me as such; murder, treason, felony, and all other offences contrary to the law of God, or the ordinances of the realm, being at all times most especially excepted or at my own option: and finally, that I will support a Master Mason's character in his absence as well as I would if he were present. I will not revile him myself, nor knowingly suffer others to do so; but will boldly repel the slander of his good name, and strictly respect the chastity of those that are most dear to him, in the persons of his wife, sister, or his child: and that I will not knowingly have unlawful carnal connexion with either of them.

"I furthermore solemnly vow and declare, that I will not defraud a Brother Master Mason, or see him defrauded of the most trifling amount, without giving him due and timely notice thereof; that I will also prefer a Brother Master Mason in all my dealings, and recommend him to others as much as lies in my power, so long as he shall continue to act honourably, honestly and faithfully towards me and others.

"All these several points I promise to observe, without equivocation or mental reservation of any kind, under no less a penalty, on the violation of any of them, than to have my body severed in two, my bowels torn thereout, and burned to ashes in the centre, and those ashes scattered before the four cardinal points of heaven, so that no trace or remembrance of me shall be left among men, particularly among Master Masons: So help me God, and keep me steadfast in this grand and solemn obligation, being that of a Master Mason."

A long ceremony follows, in which the newly-made Master is made to sham a dead man and to be raised to life by the Master, grasping, or rather clawing his hand or wrist, by putting his right foot to his foot, his knee to his knee, bringing up the right breast to his breast, and with his hand over the back. This is practiced in Masonry as the five points of Fellowship.

Then the Master gives the signs, grip, and password, saying:

"Of the signs, the first and second are casual, the third is penal. The first casual sign is called the sign of horror, and is given from the Fellow-Craft's hailing sign, by dropping the left hand and elevating the right, as if to screen the eyes from a painful sight, at the same time throwing the head over the right shoulder, as a remove or turning away from that sight. It alludes to the finding of our murdered Master Hiram by the twelve Fellow-Crafts. The second casual sign is called the sign of sympathy or sorrow, and is given by bending the head a little forward, and by striking the right hand gently on the forehead. The third is called the penal sign, because it alludes to the penalty of your obligation, and is given by drawing the hand across the centre of the body, dropping it to the side, and then raising it again to place the point of the thumb on the navel. It implies that, as a man of honour and a Master Mason, you would rather be severed in two than improperly divulge the secrets of this Degree. The grip or token is the first of the five points of fellowship. The five points of fellowship are: first, a grip with the right hand of each other's wrist, with the points of the fingers; second right foot parallel with right foot on the inside; third, right knee to right knee; fourth, right breast to right breast; fifth, hand over shoulder, supporting the back. It is in this position, and this only, except in open lodge, and then but in a whisper, that the word is given. It is MAHABONE or MACBENACH. The former is the ancient, the latter the modern word."

I have here given an idea of the principal ceremonies used in making English Freemasons. I could not in the space I have allotted to myself, enter, as I would wish to do, upon other features of its ridiculous rites and observances, many of which in still higher degrees, get a gradually opening, Atheistic and most anti-Christian interpretation. But it will suffice for my purpose to bring one fact under your observation. In the ceremonies accompanying initiations, many charges are made to the candidates and lectures and catechisings are given. In these, in the highest degrees, the REAL SECRET is gradually divulged in a manner apparently the most simple. For instance in the degree of the Knights Adepts of the Eagle or the Sun, the Master in his charge describing the Bible, Compass, and Square, says:—

"By the Bible, you are to understand that it is the only law you ought to follow. It is that which Adam received at his creation, and which the Almighty engraved in his heart. This law is called natural law, and shows positively that there is but one God, and to adore only him without any subdivision or interpolation. The Compass gives you the faculty of judging for yourself, that whatever God has created is well, and he is the sovereign author of everything. Existing in himself, nothing is either good or evil, because we understand by this expression an action done which is excellent in itself, is relative, and submits to the human understanding, judging to know the value and price of such action, and that God, with whom everything is possible, communicates nothing of his will but such as his great goodness pleases; and everything in the universe is governed as he has decreed it with justice, being able to compare it with the attributes of the Divinity.

"I equally say, that in himself there is no evil, because he has made everything with exactness, and that everything exists according to his will; consequently, as it ought to be. The distance between good and evil, with the Divinity, cannot be more justly and clearly compared than by a circle formed with a compass: from the points being reunited there is formed an entire circumference; and when any point in particular equally approaches or equally separates from its point, it is only a faint resemblance of the distance between good and evil, which we compare by the points of a compass, forming a circle, which circle, when completed, is God! "

From this it will be clear, to what the so-called veneration for the Bible and for religion comes to, at last, in all Freemasonry. From apparent agreement with Christianity it ends in Atheism. In the essentially Jewish symbolism of Masonry, the Trinity is ignored from the commencement, and God reduced to a Grand Architect. The mention of Christ is carefully avoided. By degrees the Bible is not revelation at all—only the laws written on the heart of every man by the one God—the one God, yet, however, somewhat respected.

But in a little while, we find the "one God" reduced to very small dimensions indeed. You may judge for yourself by the Compass that God exists in himself, "therefore''—though it is hard here to see the therefore—"nothing is either good or evil." Here is a blow at the moral law. Finally, "God," spoken of with such respect in all the preceding degrees, is reduced to a nonentity—"which circle when completed is God." This is a perfect introduction on Weishaupt's lines to Weishaupt's Pantheism.

But the theories of Masonry, however developed, do less practical mischief than the conduct it fosters. The English, happily for themselves, are, in many useful respects, an eminently inconsistent people. The gentry amongst them can join Freemasonry and yet keep, in the most illogical manner possible, their very diluted form of Christianity. It has been otherwise with the more reasoning Continental Masons. They either abandon the Craft or abandon their Christianity.

But the morality inculcated by Freemasonry has done immense damage in English-speaking countries nevertheless. The very oath binding a Master Mason to respect the chastity of certain near relations of another Master Mason, insinuates a wide field for license; and Masons, even in England, have never been the most moral of men. It leads them, we too well know, to the neglect of home duties, and it leads them to an unjust persecution of outsiders, for the benefit of Craftsmen—a matter more than once complained of as injurious in trade, politics, and social life. I need not call to your mind what mischief—what foul murder—it has led to in America. I prefer to let Carlile, the Infidel apologist of dark Masonry, speak on this point. He says:—

"My exposure of Freemasonry in 1825 led to its exposure in the United States of America; and a Mason there of the name of William Morgan, having announced his intention to assist in the work of exposure, was kidnapped under pretended forms and warrants of law, by his brother Masons, removed from the State of New York to the borders of Canada, near the falls of Niagara, and there most barbarously murdered. This happened in 1826. The States have been for many years much excited upon the subject; a regular warfare has arisen between Masons and anti-Masons;—societies of anti-Masons have been formed; newspapers and magazines started; and many pamphlets and volumes, with much correspondence, published; so that, before the Slavery Question was pressed among them, all parties had merged into Masons and anti-Masons.

"Several persons were punished for the abduction of Morgan; but the murderers were sheltered by Masonic Lodges, and rescued from justice. This was quite enough to show that Masonry, as consisting of a secret association, or an association with secret oaths and ceremonies, is a political and social evil.

"While writing this, I have been informed that individual members of Orange Lodges have smiled at the dissolution of their lodges, with the observation, that precisely the same association can be carried on under the name of Masonry. This is an evil that secret associations admit. No form of anything of the kind, when secret, can protect itself from abuses; and this is a strong reason why Masonic associations should get rid of their unnecessary oaths, revise their constitutions, and throw themselves open to public inspection and report. There is enough that may be made respectable in Masonry, in the present state of mind and customs, to admit of scrutinizing publicity."

The question of the death of Morgan, and other unhappy incidents in the history of Freemasonry in the United States, are very fully treated by Father Muller, C.SS.R. Yet, strange to say, notwithstanding anti-Masonic societies being formed extensively in the Great Republic, and the horror created by the murder of Morgan, there is no part of the world where Masonry flourishes more than in America. I believe it will yet become the greatest enemy of the free institutions of that country. I am willing to admit, however, that Freemasonry has, thank God, made little progress amongst Catholics in Ireland, or Catholics of Irish birth or blood anywhere. This is true, and the same may be said of millions of Protestants who have not joined Masonry. But the evil is amongst us for all that, and it is necessary that we should know what it is and how it manifests itself.

We know too, that besides the movements which Masonry has been called upon to serve by means of Masonic organs, and resolutions inspired by Atheism, and advocated by its hidden friends scattered through British lodges, there have been at all times, at least in London, some lodges affiliated to Continental lodges, and doing the work of Weishaupt. Of this class were several lodges of foreigners and Jews, which existed in London contemporaneously with Lord Palmerston, and which aided him in the government and direction of the secret societies of the world, and in the Infidel Revolution which was carried on during his reign with such ability and success. In the works of Deschamps, a detailed account will be found of several of these high temples of iniquity and deadly, anti-Christian intrigue.

But besides Masonry of any description—and every description, for reasons already stated, even the most apparently harmless, is positively bad—bad, because of its oaths, because of its associations, and because of its unChristian character, there were other societies formed on the lines of Illuminated Masonry under various names in Great Britain, and especially in Ireland, of which I deem it my duty while treating of the subject to speak as plainly as I possibly can.

[Footnote 1: A curious proof of this fact is preserved in the records of Dublin Castle, where, upon a return of the members and officers of Freemasonry, as it is with us, having been asked for by the Government, the names of the delegates from the Irish Lodges to various continental national Grand Lodges were given. I do not place much value upon the fact as a means to connect British Freemasonry with its kind on the Continent, because the REAL SECRET was, as a rule, kept from British and Irish Masons. But the intercourse had an immense effect in causing the vanguard cries of the Continental lodges to find a fatal support from British Masons in and out of Parliament. These delegates brought back high sounding theories about "education" without "denominationalism," etc., etc., but they were never trusted with the ultimate designs of the Continental directory to destroy the Throne, the Constitution, and lastly, the very property of British Masons. These designs are communicated only to reliable individuals, who know full well the REAL SECRET of the sect—and keep it. ]

[Footnote: 2 The Alta Vendita and the intellectual party in Masonry have for a long time endeavored to revive practices which Christianity did away with, and which were distinctly pagan. Amongst others they have made every exertion to destroy the Christian respect for the dead, and every respect for the dead which kept alive in the living the belief in the immortality of the soul. Death is with man a powerful means to keep alive in him a wholesome fear of his Creator and respect for religion. Spiritual writers—following the advice of the Holy Ghost in the Scriptures, "Remember thy last end and thou shalt never sin," always place before Christians the thought of death as the most wholesome lesson in the spiritual life. The demon from the beginning tried to do away with this salutary thought as the most opposed to his designs. When Eve feared to eat the forbidden fruit it was because of the terror with which death inspired her. The devil lied in telling her, "No, ye shall not die the death." She believed the liar and the murderer. His followers in the secret societies established by him, and which he keeps in such unity of aim and action, second his desire to the utmost by doing away with whatever may keep alive in man the thoughts of his last end and of a future resurrection, and, of course, of judgment. Weishaupt taught his disciples to look upon suicide as a praiseworthy means of flying the horrors of death and present inconvenience. Cremation, instantly destroying the terrors of corruption—the death's head and cross-bones—the worst features in mortality, as exhibited in a corpse, is therefore largely advocated by the secret societies on plausibly devised sanitary, aesthetic, and economical grounds. But is it a pagan practice, opposed to that followed ever since the creation of the world by all that had the knowledge of the true God in the Primeval, Jewish, and Christian dispensations.

The Revolution in Italy has established at Rome, Milan and Naples means of cremating bodies, and advanced Freemasons, like Garibaldi, have in their wills, directed that their bodies should be cremated. When in these days, a distinctive anti-Christian custom is seen advocated without any urgent reason in the press, now almost entirely in the hands of members of the Sect, and generally Jewish members, Christians may fear that the cloven foot is in the matter. The cold water, the ridicule, the contempt thrown upon religious observances, the attempt to rob them of their purely Christian character are other methods employed by the Sects to loosen the influence of Christianity. In opposition to these, Christian people should carefully study to keep the joy of Christmas, the penitential fasts, the sanctity of Holy Week, the splendor of Easter, the feasts of God's holy Mother and of the saints—to fill themselves, in one word, with the Christian spirit of the Ages of Faith.]