THE CHARACTER, CLAIMS AND PRACTICAL WORKINGS OF FREEMASONRY
By Rev. C. G. FINNEY
In concluding these pages I appeal to Freemasons themselves. Gentlemen, I beg you to believe that I have no personal ill-will toward any member of your fraternity. Many of them are amongst my personal acquaintances, and some of them nearly related to me.
I have written of Masonry, I pray you to remember, as revealed by Wm. Morgan, also Avery Allyn, Elders Bernard and Stearns, and Mr. Richardson. That these authors truly reveal Masonry I am certain, so far as I have personal knowledge of it. That they truly reveal the higher degrees I have as good reasons for believing, as of any fact to be established by human testimony. You can not justly expect me to doubt the truthfulness of these revelations. You must be aware that God will hold me responsible, and demand that I should, in view of the testimony, yield my full assent to the credibility of these authors. You must know that God requires me to treat this subject in accordance with this revelation. Now, gentlemen, no one of your number has attempted to show that these books are not substantially reliable and true. No one of you has appeared to publicly justify Masonry as revealed by these authors. You must be aware that no man can justify it. No respectable author amongst you has attempted to show that Freemasonry has undergone any essential improvement, or modification, since these revelations were made; but on the contrary the most recently published Masonic authorities assert or assume that Masonry has not been changed, and that it is still what it ever has been, and that it is insusceptible of change, as I have proved it to be. Now, my dear sirs, what ought you to expect of me? To hold my peace and let the evil overrun the country until it is too late to speak? Believing, as I most assuredly do, that these works truly reveal Masonry, could I be an honest man, a faithful minister of Christ, and hold my peace in view of the alarming progress that this institution is making in these days. In your hearts you would condemn and despise me if, with my convictions, I suffered any earthly considerations to prevent my sounding the trumpet of alarm to both Church and State. Would you have me stultify my intelligence by refusing to believe these authors; or, believing them, would you have me cower before this enormousIy extended conspiracy? Or would you have me sear my conscience by shunning the cross, and keeping silence in the midst of the periIs of both Church and State? And, gentlemen, can you escape from the conclusions at which I have arrived. Granting these works to be true, and remember I am bound to assume their truthfulness, can any of you face the public and assert that men who have intelligently taken and who adhere to the horrid oaths, with their horrid penalties, as revealed in these books, can safely be trusted with any office in Church or State? Can a man who has taken, and still adheres to the Master's oath to conceal any secret crime of a brother of that degree, murder and treason excepted, be a safe man with whom to entrust an office? Can he be trusted as a witness, a juror, or with any office connected with the administration of justice? Can a man who has taken and still adheres to the oath of the Royal Arch degree be trusted in office? He swears to espouse the cause of a companion of this degree when involved in any difficulty, so far as to extricate him from the same, whether he be right or wrong. He swears to conceal his crimes, murder and treason not excepted. He swears to give a companion of this degree timely notice of any approaching danger that may be known to him. Now is a man bound fast by such an oath to be entrusted with office? Ought he to be accepted as a witness, a juror--when a Freemason is a party, in any case--a sheriff, constable, or marshal; ought he to be trusted with the office of judge or justice of the peace? Gentlemen, you know he ought not, and you would despise me should I not be faithful in warning the public against entrusting such men with office. But further: Take the large class of men who have sworn, under the most awful penalties, to take vengeance on all who violate Masonic obligations; to seek their condign punishment; to kill them; to persecute them, and to ruin them by representing them wherever they go as worthless vagabonds. Now, gentlemen, I appeal to you, is a man who is under a most solemn oath to kill or seek the death of any man who shall violate any part of the Masonic oaths a fit person to be at large amongst men? Why, who does not know that Freemasons are in the habit of violating various points and parts of their Masonic oaths, and are not Freemason bound by oaths to kill them, or seek their death? There are many seceding Masons throughout the land. Adhering Masons are under oath to seek to procure their death. Now if they adhere to their oaths and thereby affirm that they design to fulfill their vows, if an opportunity occurs, ought they not to be imprisoned or put under the heaviest bonds to keep the peace? No one can face the public and deny this, admitting as he must that their oaths are truly recorded in these books. No one can think this conclusion harsh unless he assumes contrary to all evidence, either that no such oaths have been taken, or if they have, and are still adhered to, there is no danger that these vows will be fulfilled. Take these books and say wherein have I dealt harshly or uncharitably with Freemasonry as herein revealed? Ought a Freemason of this stamp to be fellowshiped by a Christian Church? Ought not such an one to be regarded as an unscrupulous and dangerous man? I appeal to your conscience in the sight of God, and I know that your moral sense must respond amen to the conclusions at which I have arrived. Be not offended with my telling you the truth in love. We must all soon meet at the solemn judgment. Let us not be angry, but honest.
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