Reasons Why The Secrets
Of Masonry Ought Not To Be
Publicly Exposed; And The Importance Of Those Secrets Demonstrated
BOOK I - The Excellency of Masonry Displayed
illustrations of masonry
If the secrets of Masonry are replete with such advantage to
mankind, it may be asked, why are they not divulged for the general good of
society? To this may be answered; Were the privileges of Masonry to be
indiscriminately dispensed, the institution would be subverted; and being
familiar, like other important matters, would lose their value, and sink into
Is is a weakness in human nature, that men are generally more
charmed with novelty, than with the intrinsic value of things. Innumerable
testimonies might be adduced to confirm this truth. The most wonderful
operations of the Divine Artificer, however, beautiful, magnificent and useful,
are overlooked, because common and familiar. The sun rises and sets, the sea
flows and reflows, rivers glide along their channels, trees and plants vegetate,
men and beasts act, yet this is unnoticed. The most astonishing productions of
Nature on the same account escape observation, and excite no emotion, either in
admiration of the great cause, or of gratitude for the blessing conferred. Even
Virtue herself is not exempted from this unhappy bias in the human frame.
Novelty influences all our actions and determinations. What is new, or difficult
in the acquisition, however, trifling or insignificant, readily captures the
imagination, and ensures a temporary admiration; while what is familiar, or
easily attained, however, noble or eminent, is sure to be disregarded by the
giddy and the unthinking.
Did the essence of masonry consist in the knowledge of particular
secrets or peculiar forms, it might be alleged that our amusements were trifling
and superficial. But this is not the case. These are the keys to our treasure
and having their use are preserved, while from the recollection of the lessons
they inculcate, the well informed Mason derives instruction; he draws them to a
near inspection; he views them through a proper medium; he adverts to the
circumference which gave them rise; and he dwells upon the tenets they convey.
Finding them replete with useful information, he prizes them as sacred; and
convinced of their propriety, he estimates their value from their utility.
Many persons are deluded by the vague supposition that our
mysteries are merely nominal; that the practices established among us are
frivolous; and that our ceremonies may be adopted, or waved, at pleasure. On
this false foundation, we find them hurrying through all the degrees of the
Order, without adverting to the propriety of one step they persue, or possessing
a single qualification requisite for advancement. Passing through the usual
formalities, they consider themselves entitled to rank as master of the art,
solicit and accept offices, and assume the government of lodges, equally and
assume the government of lodges, equally unacquainted with the rules of the
institution they pretend to support, or the nature of the trust reposed in them.
The consequences is obvious; anarchy and confusion ensue, and the substance is
left in shadow. Hence men eminent for ability, rank , and fortune, are often led
to view the honours of Masonry with such indifference, that when their patronage
is solicited, they accept offices with reluctance, or reject them with disdain.
Masonry has long laboured under these disadvantages, and every
zealous friend to the Order must earnestly wish for a correction of the abuse.
Of late years it must be acknowledged, that Lodges are in general better
regulated, and the good effects of such government are sufficiently displayed in
the proper observance of the general regulations.
Were brethren who preside over Lodges, properly instructed
previous to their appointment, and regularly apprized of the importance of their
respective offices, a general reformation would speedily take place. This would
establish the propriety of our government, and lead men to acknowledge; that our
hours were deservedly conferred. Till prudent actions shall distinguish our
title to the honours of Masonry, and our regular deportment display the
influence and utility of our rules, the world in general will not be led to
reconcile our proceedings with the tenets of the profession.
back to top