(Free-Mason-Mas, and Santa of the ...Secret-Handshake)
JQ Adams on Masonry:
"""A more perfect agent for the devising and execution of conspiracies against church or state could scarcely have been conceived. At the outer door stands the image of secrecy, stimulating the passion of curiosity. And the world which habitually takes the unknown to be sublime, could scarcely avoid inferring that the untold mysteries which were supposed to have been transmitted undivulged to any external ear, from generation to generation, must have in them some secret of power richly worth the knowing. Here was the temptation to enter the portal. But the unlucky wight, like him of the poet's hell, when once admitted within the door, was doomed at the same moment to leave behind him all hope or expectation of retreat. His mouth was immediately sealed by an obligation of secrecy, imposed with all the solemnity that can be borrowed from the use of the forms of religious worship. Nothing was left undone to magnify the effect of the scene upon his imagination. High sounding titles, strange and startling modes of procedure, terrific pledges and imprecations, and last, though not least, the graduation of orders in an ascending scale, which like mirrors placed in long vistas, had the effect of expanding the apparent range of vision almost to infinitude, were all combined to rescue from ridicule and contempt the moment of discovery of the insignificant secret actually disclosed. Having thus been tempted by curiosity to advance, and being cut off by fear from retreat, there came last of all the appearance of a sufficient infusion of religious and moral and benevolent profession to furnish an ostensible cause for the construction of a system so ponderous and complicate. The language of the Old Testament, the history as well as the traditions of the Jews, and the resources of imagination, are indiscriminately drawn upon to deck out a progressive series of initiating ceremonies which would otherwise claim no attribute to save them from contempt. Ashamed and afraid to go backwards, the novice suffers his love of the marvelous, his dread of personal hazard, and his hope for more of the beautiful and the true than has yet been doled out to him, to lead him on until he finds himself crawling under the living arch, or committing the folly of the fifth libation. He then too late discovers himself to have been fitting for the condition either of a dupe or of a conspirator. He has plunged himself needlessly into an abyss of obligations which, if they signify little, prove him to have been a fool; and if, on the contrary, they signify much, prove him ready at a moment's warning, to make himself a villain.""""""""
O Holy Tannenbaum the Humtug-tree
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