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THE FREEMASON,

No. III.

Operosi nihil agunt. Sex.

С,

YURIOSITY is always busy about nothing. --A modern writer

has allegorically described her to be all eas and eyes, and very justly, indeed, seeing that she is always listening to and prying into the secrets of others.

This evil, it is said, is more prevalent among the ladies, and there. fore it is that so many of the sex are averse to their husbands being Freemasons, as their curiosity, which fain would know all the artana of this Society, cannot be satisfied. Several stories have been related about women endeavouring to discover those mysteries.

I supped lately with a Brother whose lady was exceedingly inquisitive to know ail. -- The husband, in order to keep her in good humour, amused her with the assurance (after she had previously declared that she never would betray him) that all the secret of Freemasonry was, to be silent the first five minutes of every hour, which was the reason that no woman could be admitted, as it was impossible that she could be silent so often and for so long a time. The lady believed this, but was sure there was more, and therefore besought her dear to communicate the rest. After much coaxing the husband then told her, that this long silence was to be succeeded with five minutes whistling, which done they were at liberty to employ the remaining fifty minutes according to their pleasure.

Some short time before supper a disagreement took place between this loving pair. As far as I could understand, our company were inconvenient to the lady, who wished to have had this day entirely devoted to domestic business; but our Brother, who was always happy to entertain his friends, was tius disposed to-night, and determined that the washing, or any thing else, should be deferred, rather than Iris company be sent supperless away. However, the lady's displeasure was evident-particularly as her husband not only insisted that a supper should be provided, but that she should also preside as usual at table. This added to her chagrin, and she assured her husband that he should heartily repent it.

When the supper was brought on the table, she endeavoured, but in vain, to disguise her anger--the hypocritical smile always betrays itself:

:-our friend, however, was one of those prudent husbands who always leave their wives when angered to come to themselves :thus it was to-night, and we, in compliment to our Brother, took no notice of her discontent. When the cloth was removed, and the wine placed on the table, the lady began to talk, this being what she was very fond of; however, upon the clock's striking she was suddenly struck dumb-we drank her health-no reply. Her husband spoke to her-in vain. We enquired if any thing was the matterbut to no purpose her taciturnity continued to our great astonishment. Her husband, I believe, began to suspect her design, as he pretended uneasiness, and was every now and then crying to her

Molly, you had better speak, don't make a fool of yourself.” — No menace, however, could prevail on her to open her mouth till, looking at her watch, she all of a sudden broke out into a loud whistle, cracking her fingers, and grinning at her husband with no little exultation. This uncouth behaviour created no little astonishment among the guests, who were unacquainted with its origin. At last madam exclaimed, “ There's the secret for you. A woman may be a Freemason you see, and you shall make me one in spite of your teeth."“ A woman may not,” rejoined the husband,“ seeing upon every trivial occasion she is inclined to blab.” An explanation followed, attended with a loud laugh, which when madam found was at her own expence, she withdrew from the table under the greatest more tification.

Women, it is said, derive their curiosity from the first-begotten of their sex.

- It was Eve's curiosity which no doubt was the fall of man, She was desirous to know the taste of the forbidden apple, and though sin and death were the consequence, yet fatal curiosity prevailed.

The Scripture gives us another example of female curiosity with a most extraordinary punishment; so that, in order to avoid the divers evils of curiosity, we are exhorted in holy writ, to “ remember Lot's wife !” Alas ! if every curious lady were now in danger of being turned into a pillar of salt, instead of selling this commodity we should then be very glad to give it away--nor do I believe that this would have any effect; the cacoethes videndi et audiendi is so predominant that it can never be cured.

To female curiosity the trash of modern novels is solely indebted for a short-lived existence. It is remarked that, when a lady takes a volume in her hand, no matter how ill told the tale, how harsh the language, how unnatural the plot, yet she must know the fate of the hero-she must come to the denouement, though five more volumes are to be read for this. Did not curiosity thus urge our female readers to explore those dull insipid volumes of farrago, the circulating libraries would have no occasion for them.

To want curiosity is said to be as bad as to possess too much. Had the Trojans been more curious and less credulous, they would have examined the wooden horse in time, and, having justly destroyed the bowels, sent it back again to their enemy.-Curiosity, as I said in a former number, is on some occasions praise-worthy and absolutely necessary. It is laudable in all charitable cases, and fitting in the time of war or danger.

Let it not be thought that I attribute curiosity entirely to the fairI am conscious that there are many of our own sex who neglect their own business to pry into that of others. How many busy, bodies are there whose curiosity renders them both officious and troublesome. But that curiosity which prevails most with mankind

is their political anxiety to know what the news is. This induces the hair-dresser to let his curling-tongs cool while a casual visitor is reporting the gazette. - This makes the taylor lay down the sleeve of a coat which is making in a great hurry for a newspaper *. In short, this curiosity about state affairs has tempted many a man to neglect his immediate business, and listen to matters totally out of his sphere, and which do not in the least concern him.

TO THE

EDITOR OF THE FREEMASONS' MAGAZINE.

SIR, PRESUMING that all kinds of secrets and mysteries are agreeable

to the plan of the FREEMASONS' MAGAZINE, some few observations on a BROTHERS' predictions, whose signs and tokens have created no little altercation, will, I trust, be acceptable to your readers. Accordingly I have made an impartial summary of all tbe most pointed arguments by Halbed, Horné, &c. for and against this self-declarad propbet, that every one, by a comparative viw, may be enabled to judge for himself. I am, Sir, yours,

A. L.

SUMMARY OF ALL THE ARGUMENTS

FOR AND AGAINST

RICHARD BROTHERS.

R

ICHARD BROTHERS, late an officer in the navy, informs us

that, by divine inspiration, he is authorised and commanded to publish, for the benefit of all nations, his Warnings, &c. having a revealed knowledge of the present time, the present war, &c. being (as he stiles himself) the man that will be revealed to the Hebrews as their prince and prophet. In his prophecies relative to himself, of which there are no small number, and on which account lie is accused of egotism by George Horne, he declares, that he had always a presentiment of being some time or other very great; and that in 1790 he was first favoured with a heavenly vision. He says, that he is that prophet whom Moses said would be raised up unto the Israelites from the midst of their brethren like unto bim (Deuteronomy, ch. xviii. V. 15.); and he further informs us, that the 7th chapter of Acts (though hitherto misunderstood by expounders of the Scripture) is a corroboration that he is the prophet.

Shakspeare has beautifully treated this subject. King John, Act 4: S¢. 2.

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Hallied, in his Testimony, after a long prefatory address, by which are expressed an ardent desire for an immediate peace, and a curiosity to peep into futurity, acknowledges the justness of Brothers's asseveration, and confirms his similitude to Moses in the following manner, according to the prophet's own declaration.

“ As Moses ascended from the ark of bulrushes, so did Mr. Brothers rise from a ship, having been bred to the navy.--Moses, born in Egypt, led the Israelites from Egypt through the Red Sea into Palestine. The birth-place, therefore, of the second Moses, and the country from whence he is to summon the modern Hebrews, must, spiritually at least, have at one time or other been also denominated Egypt, to make the parallel between the two events move on all fours. In the spirit of this parallel Brothers remarks, “ Pharaoh is appointed to die, and his government to be destroyed: the priests, and all the abominable idolatries of Egypt shall perish, never to be found any more.”. In addition to this, Brothers (after remarking his separation from his ancestors during his voyages abroad) observes, “ That Moses was taken away in his infancy, and remained separate from his brethren for eighty years, the first forty of which he was reared in the palace of the king of Egypt, and educated in the language and customs of the country like one of its native princes : yet he was revealed to the Israelites as the prophet of God, to order their hasty departure from Pharaoh's bondage, and afterwards to conduct them to the promised land."

George Horne (whom I understood to be at first the celebrated Doctor of that name, but am since informed is a near relative of his in Oxford) endeavours to shew the absurdity as well as profaneness of these arguments; and, after ludicrously requesting him to display his serpent-rod and leprous hand--to turn our rocks into water, and provide bread for these hard times, he declares, that that prophet which Brothers pretends to be is the Messiah, whose simijitude to Moses Horne thus delineates :-“ Moses in his infancy was preserved when the rest of the children were destroyed; so was our Saviour when Herod commanded all the innocents to be put to death. Moses fled from his country to escape the wrath of Pharaoh

- Joseph likewise took Christ to Egypt to preserve him from the rage of Herod. Moses refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter and Christ, though the Son of God, would not accept of the temporal kingdom of the Jews. Moses was learned in all the accomplishments of the Egyptian schools—and Christ, when only twelve years of age, was capable of disputing with the most experienced of the Jewish doctors.' Here Mr. Horne, among other occasional remarks, to over-rule the prophet's pretended similitude, quotes from Halhed's testimony, as a proof that Brothers is not a learned man like Moses, that his prophecies are “replete with grammatical faults, destitute of harmony of arrangement or elegance of diction." He then proceeds to show stronger instances of similarity between the Messiah and Moses, viz, the latter contended with Egyptians, and the former cast out devils..--Moses foretold the calamities which

would come upon the children of Israel, so did Christ. Moses interceded for sinners-Christ laid down his life as a ransom for them. Moses instituted the passover-Christ instituted the eucharist. Moses set up the brazen serpent in the wilderness-Christ was lifted up on the cross that he might draw all men unto him. Moses was a lawgiver—so was Christ, &c. Horne then quotes the following text from Scripture to show that our Saviour alluded to this prophecy of Moses as appertaining to him (John, ch. v. ver. 45, 46.), Do not tbink that I will accuse you to the Father : tbere is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust ; for bad you believed Moses ye would bave believed me, FOR HE WROTE OF ME. - This writer further informs us, that the prediction against those who would not hearken to this prophet's words was remarkably fulfilled in the severe judgment executed upon the Jewish nation for their cruel treatment of the prophets in general, and of the Messiah in particular-he says, the horrors, discord, and distress, which preceded the taking of Jerusalem by Titus, are not to be parallelled in history, ancient or modern. Horne then ridicules the pretended likeness of Brothers to Moses, declaring that several besides him may make the same pretensions ; alluding also to the part where Halhed says Mr. Brothers cut a wand in 1792, which is to perform precisely the same miracle with the former wand of Moses; he observes that the prophet has herein acted very unlike unto Moses, for the latter, instead of promising, performed the miracle at once.

Bryan informs us, that he first doubted the veracity of Brothers, but that since, by divine inspiration, he is convinced that he is the prophet that was promised. This writer does not enter into any arguments, only gives a story of his own unbelief and conversion.

The admonitory letter to Mr. Pitt, by an anonymous hand, treats the whole business as an imposition; and instead of likening Brothers to Moses, draws a parallel between him and Mahomet.

The declaration that Brothers was born in London is absolutely contradicted by Horne, who declares, that Brothers himself, wlien in Newgate, asserted, that be was not born in London; however, Mr. H. does not say wbere be was born. This writer also proceeds to explain the 22d verse of Acts iii. (as Brothers said it was an allusion to himself only) in the following manner: For Moses truly said unto the futhers, a propbet shall the Lord God ruise up unto you of your brethren like unto me : bim sball you hear in all things whatsoever be shall say

The word TRULY, in the first line of this verse, implies the tben accomplishment of the prediction in the coming of our Saviour; otherwise St. Peter could not have declared that Moses had TRULY said it. Horne observes, that Brothers, though commanded to insert and explain the viith chapter of the same book (as a further corroboration of his mission), has skipped several verses, particularly the following, which confutes him at once :-Wbich of the propbets bave not your fatbers persecuted? And they have slain them wbich, sbewed before of the coming of the Just One, of whom ye bave been. now tbe betrayers and murderers. The Just One, włoich is apparently

unto you.

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