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f His hand the good man fastens on the skies,
"And bids earth roll, nor feels her idle whirl."
Young t Night thoughts*
In the earliest ages, after the deluge, in the nations made known to us, the service of the true God was clouded with imagery, and defiled by idolatry.— Men who had not been taught the doctrines of truth, by those who retained the wisdom of the Antidelur vians, but were left to the operations of their own judgment, perceived that there was some great cause of Nature's uniformity, and of the wonderful progressions of her works: suitable to their ignorance, they represented the Author of those works by such objects as struck their observation, for their powerful effects on the face of the world—from whence the Sun and Moon became the symbols of the Deity.''
* The posterity of Ham forsook the doctrines of their predecessors, for the Deity whose adoration he taught, they soon substituted the symbol, and, for the original, worshipped the Sun, which was regarded in the first ages after the deluge, as the type or emblem of the Divinity.
"The descendants of Chut, called Cutbites, were those emigrants "who carried their rites, religions, and customs into various quarters "of the globe;—they were the first apostates from the Truth, yet great
* in worldly wisdom;—they were joined in their expeditions by other "nations, especially by the collateral branches of their family, the
* Mizraim, Capbtotim, and the sons of Canaan ;—these were all of the "line of Ham, who was held by his posterity in the highest venera
* tionp-- they called him Amon, and having in process of time raised f him to a divinity, they worshipped him as the Sun, and from this "worship they were styled Amonians.
"The deity which they worlhipped was the Sun, but they soon, *' conferred his titles upon some of their ancestors; whence arose a ** mixed worship. They particularly deified the great patriarch who f' was the head of their line, and worshipped him as the fountain of "Light i -making the Sun the emblem of his influence and power."
Bryant't Analysis of Ancient Mythology.
Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians; he was initiated in all the knowledge of the nvisemen of that nation, by whom the learning of antiquity had been retained and held sacred; wrapped op from the eye of the wicked and vulgar in symbols and hieroglyphics, and communicated to men of their own order only, with care, secrecy, and circumspection. This secrecy is not in any wise to be wondered at, when we consider the persecution which would have followed a faith unacceptable to the ignorance of the nations who were enveloped in superstition and bigotry; and more particularly, as those sages were in possession of that valuable knowledge of the powers of nature, of the qualities of matter, and properties of things, so dangerous to be communicated to wicked and ignorant men, from whose malevolence the most horrid offences might be derived: of which we may judge by the extraordinary and astonishing performances even of those impious and unenlightened men, who contended with Moses, in the miracles he per- formed, under the immediate impression and influence of the Deity."
Moses purged divine worship of its mystries and images, and taught the Jews the knowledge of the God of the universe, unpolluted with the errors of the nations of the earth, and uncorrupted with the devices and ludicrous ceremonies instituted by the people of the East, from whom he derived his first comprehension and knowledge of the Divinity.)
• Exodus, ch. vii, ver. II, i». a*.—Ch. vili. ver. 7—18: I The Author of " the Dissertation m the Ancient Pagan Mysteries" defending Dr. Warburton's positions against Dr. Leland, writes thus:
The second stage of Free Masonry is derived from this period—the temple at "Jerusalem receives the probation of the Craftsmen.
"That to the Pagan divinities, there was not only an open and public ■ worship, but also a secret worship paid to them, to which none were "admitted but those who had been selected by preparatory ceremonies, "called Initiation. This secret worship was termed the Mysteries.
"Of these there were two sorts, the greater and lesser: according "to the Bishop of Gloucester, the lesser taught, by certain secret rites * and shews, the origin of society t and the doctrine of a future state; they "were preparatory to the greater, and might be safely communicated to "all the initiated, without exception.
"The Arcana of the greater mysteries, were the doctrine of the "Unity, and the detection of the errors of the vulgar Polytheism; these "were not communicated to all the aspirants, without exception, but "only to a small and select number, who were judged capable of the u secret.
"The initiated were obliged by the most solemn engagements, to "commence a life of the strictest piety and virtue; it was proper there"fore to give them all the encouragement and assistance necessary for "this purpose. Now in the Pagan world there was a powerful "temptation to vice and debauchery, the profligate examples of their "gods. £go homuncio hoc non facerem, was the absolving formula, when* "ever any one was resolved to give a loose to his passions. This evil "the mysteries remedied, by striking at the root of it; therefore such "of the initiated as were judged capable, were made acquainted with "the whole delusion. The mystagegue taught them, that Jupiter, "Mercury, and Bacchus, Venus, Mars, and the whole rabble of licen"tious deities, were only dead mortals; subject, in life, to the same "passions and infirmities with themselves; but having been on other "accounts benefactors to mankind, grateful posterity had deified them; "and, with their virtues, had indiscreetly canonized their vices.
"The fabulous gods being thus rooted out, the Supreme Cause of alt "things naturally took their place. Him they were taught to consider "as the Creator of the universe, who pervaded all things by his virtue, "and governed all by his providence. But here it must be observed, "that the discovery of this Supreme Cause was so made, as to be con>
Moses was also possessed of knowledge superior to that of the Egyptian teachers, through the revelations and inspirations of the Deity ;—he had acquired the comprehension of, and was instructed to decipher all the hieroglyphical characters used by that people in their records:—it was no doubt a part of the original knowledge, to express by characters to the eye the thoughts and sentiments of the mind—but this was obscured and debased in after ages by symbols and hieroglyphics: yet by the immediate dispensation of heaven, Moses attained a knowledge of those original characters; by which he was enabled to reveal to his people, and preserve to posterity, the commandments of God, delivered to him on the mount, by inscribing them on tables of stoned
"sistent with the notion of the local tutelary deities, beings superior "to them, and inferior to God, and by him set over the several parts "of his creation. This was an opinion universally holdcn by antiquity^ "and never brought into question by any Theist. What the Arcana "of the mysteries overthrew, was the vulgar polytheism, the worship of "dead men.
"It was natural for these politicians, to keep this a secret in the "mysteries; for, in their opinion, not only the extinction, but even the "gradation of their false gods, would have too much disconcerted and "embroiled the established system of vulgar Polytheism"
From hence we may be led to determine, that to Moses the secret of the Egyptian mythology was divulged by his preceptors, and the knowledge of the only God revealed to him, divested of all the symbols and devices which engaged the vulgar.
* Exodus, ch. xxxi. ver. 18—" And he gave unto Moses, when he "had made an end of communing with him upon Mount Sinai, two "tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God."
Ch. xxxiv. ver. I—" And the Lord said unto Moses, Hew thee "two tables of stone like unto the first, and I will write upon these tables * the words that were in the first tables, which thou braked,"
It is natural to conceive that the Israelites would be instructed in this act, by which the will of the Deity was communicated;—they would be led to write the doctrines of their leader, and his expositions of the law, that they might be preserved to then? children.
But to return to the progressions of our profes-i
sion. It is not to be presumed, that we are a set of
men, professing religious principles contrary to the revelations and doctrines of the Son of God, reverencing a Deity by the denomination of the God of Nature, and denying the mediation which is graciously offered to all true believers. The members of our society at this day, in this third stage of masonry, acknowledge themselves to be Christians—" the veil of the temple "is rent—the builder is smitten—and we are raised "from the tomb of transgression."
I Presume that the name of Mason, in this Society, doth not denote that the rise of the societywas solely from builders, architects, or mechanics:—• at the time in which Moses ordained the setting up of the sanctuary,* and when Solomon was about to
Ver. 27—" And the Lord said unto Moses, Write thou these •worth f H for after the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with thee
* and with Israel."
* Exodus, ch. xxxi. ver. 2—" See, I have called by name Bezaleel,
* the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah."
Ver. 3—" And I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wis"dom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner oj H workmanship."