WE often profit more by our enemies than by our friends. “We support ourselves only on that which resists,” and owe our success to opposition. The best friends of Masonry in America were the Anti-Masons of 1826, and at the same time they were its worst enemies. Men are but the automata of Providence, and it uses the demagogue, the fanatic, and the knave, a common trinity in Republics, as its tools and instruments to effect that of which they do not dream, and which they imagine themselves commissioned to prevent.
The Anti-Masons, traitors and perjurors some, and some mere political knaves, purified Masonry by persecution, and so proved to be its benefactors; for that which is persecuted, grows. To them its present popularity is due, the cheapening of its Degrees, the invasion of its Lodges, that are no longer Sanctuaries, by the multitude; its pomp and pageantry and overdone display.
An hundred years ago it had become known that the ו ?Q?D?Sה were the Templars under a veil, and therefore the Degree was pro-scribed, and, ceasing to be worked, became a mere brief and formal ceremony, under another name. Now, from the tomb in which after his murders he rotted, Clement the Fifth howls against the successors of his victims, in the Allocution of Pio Nono against the Free-Masons. The ghosts of the dead Templars
haunt the Vatican and disturb the slumbers of the paralyzed Papacy, which, dreading the dead, shrieks out its excommunications and impotent anathemas against the living. It is a declaration of war, and was needed to arouse apathy and inertness to action.
An enemy of the Templars shall tell us the secret of this Papal hostility against an Order that has existed for centuries in despite of its anathemas, and has its Sanctuaries and Asyla even in Rome.
It will be easy, as we read, to separate the false from the true, the audacious conjectures from the simple facts.
“A power that ruled without antagonism and without concurrence, and consequently without control, proved fatal to the Sacerdotal Royalties; while the Republics, on the other hand, had perished by the conflict of liberties and franchises, which, in the absence of all duty hierarchically sanctioned and enforced, had soon become mere tyrannies, rivals one of the other. To find a stable medium between these two abysses, the idea of the Christian Hierophants was to create a society devoted to abnegation by solemn vows, protected by severe regulations; which should be recruited by initiation, and which, sole depositary of the great religious and social secrets, should make Kings and Pontiffs, without exposing it to the corruptions of Power. In that was the secret of that kingdom of Jesus Christ, which, without being of this world, would govern all its grandeurs.
“This idea presided at the foundation of the great religious orders, so often at war with the secular authorities, ecclesiastical or civil. Its realization was also the dream of the dissident sects of Gnostics or Illuminati who pretended to connect their faith with the primitive tradition of the Christianity of Saint John. It at length became a menace for the Church and Society, when a rich and dissolute Order, initiated in the mysterious doctrines of the Kabalah, seemed disposed to turn against legitimate authority the conservative principle of Hierarchy, and threatened the entire world with an immense revolution.
“The Templars, whose history is so imperfectly known, were those terrible conspirators. In 1118, nine Knights Crusaders in the East, among whom were Geoffroi de Saint-Omer and Hugues de Payens, consecrated themselves to religion, and took an oath between the hands of the Patriarch of Constantinople, a See always secretly or openly hostile to that of Rome from the time of Photius. The avowed object of the Templars was to protect
the Christians who came to visit the Holy Places: their secret object was the re-building of the Temple of Solomon on the model prophesied by Ezekiel.
“This re-building, formally predicted by the Judaïzing Mystics of the earlier ages, had become the secret dream of the Patriarchs of the Orient. The Temple of Solomon, re-built and consecrated to the Catholic worship would become, in effect, the Metropolis of the Universe; the East would prevail over the West, and the Patriarchs of Constantinople would possess themselves of the Papal power.