« PrécédentContinuer »
assume to be, so much as what they really are; and having ascertained what they are, whether the Christian may not avail himself of their organization and action, and in so far as he is concerned appropriate their work to the redemption of man and the glory of the church. Surely he may. He makes the temperance reform an aid to the church in effecting the grand reformation to which she aspires. He looks abroad upon the family of man. He beholds myriads perishing, hopelessly perishing beneath the fiery wave of intemperance. The single effort of one stout heart cannot stay its progress; nor can the efforts of thousands without union, concert, and organization. An organized effort is being made. Men of the world; the perishing, the ruined, the rich, the poor; the prince and peasant, the disciple of Jesus and the Jew, rally around the standard of total abstinence. The liquid flame ceases to rage as the supplies of fuel are withdrawn, and countless numbers are saved from perdition. He thanks God. He gives the effort the influence of his name, and is grateful to the Redeemer for this "opportunity of doing good to all.”
But he acts through an organization, which is independent of the church, say you.
True. But does that make the act less the act of the Christian? He does all in reference to the glory of God and for the advancement of the Redeemer's kingdom, and in what particular does the independence of the organization derogate from the virtue of the act? All “good actions” are committed to the church. The church is the pillar of the truth, and is the source of all light; is a city on a hill. The Saviour is the great Philanthropist, the Author of benevolence. But the church is not now, I do not say she ought not to be, (for I speak of that which can be obtained and practised, and of things as they are,) the unly organization found in society in its many and wide-spreading ramifications, by means of which the Christian can discharge his duty in the performance of those good actions committed to the church. There are literary societies, Bible societies, colleges, Sunday Schools, legislatures state and national, CONVENTIONS, empires and kingdoms, each and all, and hundreds of others, which are open for his use, and may by him be made subservient to the great cause of Christianity; and the argument at this day, against a good act because done through an organized Temperance Society, is good against a good act done through a Bible Society, a College, or a Sunday School.
“In what respects are the Sons of Temperance auxiliary to the church of Jesus Christ?” “And who gave them the commission! These are questions asked by you with some apparent triumph, and are, by you, answered in behalf of the Sons, “By a denial of the assumption, or by alleging that the church has failed to perform her duties;” and then you proceed to make, as you think, successful replies to these answers. Let me for a moment examine what you say on this subject. I ask when and where have the “Sons' said, “We are not auxiliaries to the church; we do not, as Sons of Teme perance, recognize the church any more than the Jews or the Samaritans”? The quotation indicates that it has been said by some one of them; and, perhaps, whoever he may be, he may, in some sense, have spoken authoritatively. No such denial is, however, to be
found in any of the Constitutions of the Divisions, or in any act or decree, or in any document proceeding from the order, by authority, But though it be not thus found, yet it is the reply which a Son of Temperance would make to a charge that the order was auxiliary to the church, especially if he were not a member of the church. The Sons of Temperance do not, as a body, in their organization, either by their Constitution or otherwise, “recognize the church” any more than they do the Jewish church, or the Samaritan church, or any more than they do the Bible Society or the Empire of China. It is not within the scope of their leading design to recognize another association or body, and attach themselves to it as a substitute or auxiliary. A Christian who is a “Son,” may, nevertheless, as can the church, if she think in reference to it as she does to many other matters, recognize the order of the Sons of Temperance as auxiliary to the cause of Christianity, and can act upon that principle. Why not? Is it not done in a variety of other instances? Is not Bethany College, for example, an institution incorporated by law, which has its President, Trustees, Professors and Tutors, Patron and Matron, Seniors and Juniors; whose Faculty holds its sessions secret and public; which has its badges or “regalia,” and makes its “processions;" which confers by its diplomas, written in a dead language, titles known "initially;" whose officers and students devote ten months out of the twelve in the discharge of their several duties; which, to sustain the body corporate, demands and receives from Jew and Gentile, saint and sinner, thousands of dollars; and which dispenses its “benefits” in “scholarships” to each and every one, Mahometan or Christian, who shall have paid $50, by permitting the “beneficiary,” or his "assignee,” to enjoy a full course of instruction without charge “during the term of fifteen years;” is not, I ask, Bethany College an “auxiliary” to the church? Is it not so regarded by all the churches? Then “in what respects is it auxiliary to the church of Jesus Christ?” “And who gave it this commission?" When these questions are answered as to Bethany College, I will show "in what respects the Sons of Temperance are auxiliaries” also. The same showing in one case will be good in the other. The parallel is complete.
But in the second place, “the church has failed to discharge her duties,” and “in that case they (the Sons) step forward in aid of suffering humanity.” I ask you if she has not?' Will you take the position and maintain it by arguments and facts, that the church has not "failed to discharge her duties,” but that in every particu. lar, as it regards "strong drink,” she has fully acquitted herself? That she has done every thing required of her? I suppose you will not. For myself I cannot; and while I intend no "impeachment of the church to which I belong” or to which you or any other Christian belongs, I say it, and, if need be, can establish it, that the church, nay, "our church," if you please, has not "discharged her duties;" but that, on the contrary, she fails to carry out the plainest injunctions of the scriptures in reference to those who offend, and has given to the use of alcohol, as a beverage, her sanction; because she has not prohibited it, and because her leading, most influential, SERIES 111.- VOL. V.
most talented, learned and pious members, have placed themselves openly in opposition to the movements of the temperance reformation. If this be true, in what is the Christian "censurable,” if, as a Son, he do step forward in aid of suffering humanity? Because, say you, he “impeaches the church.” Impeach the church! The church being in gross error, “having failed to discharge her duties,” does he not impeach her as much by telling her of it, as he would by an overt act? But by the overt act I “add the institution of the Sons of Temperance to the church.” By no means. No more than did I add Bethany College to the church when I subscribed for a scholarship!
I await to hear from you fully in support of the proposition that Christians are “censurable,” who join the Sons of Temperance, because "by so doing they render it more difficult” for other Christians “to honor their profession by that variety of doing good” to which they “profess to have devoted themselves by joining such society." Your brother in Christ,
GEO. W. WILLIAMS. BROTHER WILLIAMS:
My dear Sir-You prefer to have our discussion confined to the “Sons OF TEMPERANCE” alone. You assume only, or especially, their defence. You leave all other associations to defend themselves. But I have no argument with you against the Sons of Temperance. I have brought no charge against any one of the family of Sons. I simply assume to show that Christians cannot join any of these institutions of Sons without bringing reproach against the Son of God. Had you first understood my real position in these essays, much that you have written would, I presume, have appeared to yourself irrelevant and uncalled for, as may be seen by a perusal of my 4th essay. Though written before I read one sentence of your present communication, perhaps before it was written, that essay seems to have anticipated and responded to your main points.
I aim to show that Christians cannot assume the name, the armorial, or the ceremonial of any one of these three fraternities, without offending the Lord Jesus Christ. But while I include these three fraternities in one category, so far as I now notice them, I am not insensible of their respective "utilities and excellencies.” Yet, after conceding these, and all that they can reasonably claim, I hesitate not to affirm the conviction that they all do, more or less, profane the name and desecrate the worship of our glorious Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Each of the three may have its own peculiar way of doing this, but they all have one way in common of bringing reproach upon him. This charge, before Heaven and Earth, I fearlessly allege against the three.
Their social worship—their odes and prayers, constituted the
topic on hand at the close of my last essay. So far as these are desecrations of Christian worship, they are not exclusively confined to any one of the three. They all have their religious rites and ceremonies. The following document is a good illustration of what I mean by the desecration of the name and worship of the heavenly Father. We shall select a grand pageant almost common to them all-if not in building their temples, at least in the ordinary meetings of their respective fraternities on grand occasions:
Ceremony of laying the corner stone of a new Masonic Hall, for the use of Marion Lodge, No. 120, at Mount Pleasant, Hamilton co., Ohio.
The Grand Lodge will proceed under the direction of the Grand Marshal, through the principal streets, to the site of the building, where the following
ceremonies will take place:1. Music by the Band.—2. Prayer by the Grand Chaplain.-3. Ceremony of laying the corner stone.-4. Music by the Band.
The procession will then move from the ground to the place select. ed for delivering the oration, where the following ceremonies will take place:
1. Music by the Band. 2. Prayer by the Grand Chaplain. 3. Ode by the Choir. Hail Masonry divine!
Matchless beyond compare,
No art with thee can share,
Thou Art divine!
Hiram, the architect,
Did all the craft direct
How they should build;
Sol'mon, great Israel's king, Great fabrics still arise,
Did mighty blessings bring,
And left us room to sing,
Hail, royal Art! 4. Oration by brother T. D. Disney, Past Deputy Grand Master. 5. Address by brother D. S. Burnet. 6. Ode by the Choir. Adieu! a heart-warm fond adieu! May freedom, harmony, and love,
Dear brothers of the mystic tie! Unite you in the grand design, Ye favor'd, ye enlighten'd few, Beneath the Omniscient Eye above,
Companions of my social joy! The glorious Architect divine! Though I to foreign lands must hie, That you may keep the unerring Pursuing Fortune's slipp’ry ba',
rule, With melting heart and brimfu' eye Still rising by the plummet's law, I'll mind you still tho' far awa'. Till order bright completely shine,
Shall be my prayer when far awa'. Oft have I met your social band, And spent the cheerful festive And you farewell, whose merits claimi
night; Justly that highest budge to wear, Oft honor'd with supreme command, Heav'n bless your honor'd, noble Presided o'er the Sons of Light;
name, And by that hieroglyphic bright, To Masonry and Scotia dear! Which none but craftsmen ever A last request permit me here,
saw, When yearly ye assemble a', Strong mem’ry on my heart shall One round, I ask it with a tear,
write To him the Bard that's far awa'! Those happy scenes when far awa'.
7. Benediction. The procession will then return to the place whence it started, and be dismissed." This is probably somewhat in advance of the Sons of Temper
First the bud, then the blossom, then the fruit. Such is the taste of the oldest sister of the mystic three. And so they “teach and admonish one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with gratitude in their hearts to the Lord” when laying the corner stone of one of their mystic temples!! It is, no doubt, very appositely called “the CEREMONY of laying the corner stone.' Of which ceremony, prayer by the Grand Chaplain, odes by the choir, oration by the Grand Master, exhortation by a Christian brother, and a benediction too, are specially solemn and imposing items. This is Masonic worship. Is it Christian worship? Can a Christian partake in it?
As we have neither the prayer nor the benediction reported, we can only suppose them to have been in good keeping with the sacred odes or hymns of the day. The presiding divinity of the day, wor. shipped in the whole ceremony, is both appositely and poetically set forth in their sacred style in such strains as
“Hail Masonry divine!
In Secula Seculorum.
In Secula Seculorum. “What communion has the temple of God” with such idols! Are these the songs of angels, of saints, and of Free Masons too!!! These are not Sons of Temperance, indeed; but they have chosen a nobler name—they are “THE Sons of Light," baptized in a full bumper, sent round three times—and once, at least, in memory of a patron saint, Robert Burns! Inspired, too, by the gleeful spirit of their deceased friend, John Barleycorn.
Let the veriest novice in the Christian faith ponder in his mind these verses, sung between a prayer and a benediction, in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and ask himself how could the God of heaven, who is a jealous God, and who will not give his glory to another, regard this whole ceremony in any other light than as a gross profanation of his name and an insult to his awful Majesty. Who can, who would, stand up to justify or defend such a prostitution of sacred worship!
I know not by what authority the name of brother Burnet is inserted in such a group. Surely not by his consent! Or is it so