THE CHARACTER, CLAIMS AND PRACTICAL WORKINGS OF FREEMASONRY
By Rev. C. G. FINNEY
FREEMASONRY IMPOSES ON THE IGNORANT
In what is called the "Sublime Degree of Master Masons" there are the following gross misrepresentations worthy of notice:
First, Hiram Abiff is represented as going daily into the Most Holy place for secret prayer; whereas the Bible representation is that no one was allowed to enter the Most Holy place, except the high priest. Neither Solomon nor Hiram were allowed to enter it. And the high priest was allowed to enter it only once a year, and that on the great day of atonement, "not without blood, which he offered first for himself and then for the errors of the people."
Again, this Hiram is represented in Masonry as having been murdered by three ruffians, who demanded of him the Master's word.
As he refused to give it, they murdered him, and buried him at a distance from Jerusalem, in a grave "six feet deep perpendicular," where he remained fourteen days.
Then, after a great deal of twaddle and misrepresentation in regard to the supposed circumstances of his murder and burial, Solomon is represented as raising him from this depth in the earth by the Master's grip, and that "upon the five points of fellowship," which are, "foot to foot, knee to knee, breast to breast, hand to back, and mouth to ear."
It is no wonder that infidel Masons should ridicule the credulity of professed Christian Masons in crediting such a ridiculous story as this.
Again, Masonry goes on to represent that, after Hiram was thus raised from this grave, six feet deep--"foot to foot, knee to knee, breast to breast, hand to back, and mouth to ear"--he was brought up to Jerusalem, and buried under the Most Holy place in King Solomon's Temple. I will quote from the lecture of this degree, as found in the seventh edition of Bernard, p. 81; "Question [speaking of the body].--What did they do with the body? Answer.--Raised it in a Masonic form, and carried it up to the temple for more decent interment. Q.--Where was it buried? A.--Under the Sanctum Sanctorum, or Holy of Holies, over which they erected a marble monument, with this inscription delineated thereon, A virgin weeping over a broken column, with a book open before her; in her right hand a sprig of cassia; in her left, an urn; Time standing behind her, with his hands infolded in the ringlets of her hair."
Now, observe, this burial was under the Most Holy place in King Solomon's Temple; and the marble monument was erected over it, and consequently must have been in the Most Holy place itself. Does not every careful reader of the Bible know that this is false? We have a minute description in the Bible of everything relating to the Most Holy place--its form, size, embellishments, and of every article of furniture there was in it. No such statue was ever there, and the whole story is a gross falsehood.
But let me quote a little further from this lecture, continuing on page 81: "Q.--What does a Master's lodge represent? A.--The Sanctum Sanctorum, or Holy of Holies of King Solomon's Temple. Q.--How long was the temple building? A.--Seven years; during which it rained not in the daytime, that the workmen might not be obstructed in their labor." This is a likely story! Is there anything of this kind in the Bible? And does anyone believe that a miracle of this kind could have been wrought without having been recorded in the Bible? But again: "Q.--What supported the temple? A.--Fourteen hundred and fifty-three columns, and two thousand one hundred and six pilasters, all hewn from the finest Parian marble." Where did they get this? Again: "Q.--What further supported it? A.--Three grand columns or pillars. Q.--What were they called? Wisdom, Strength, and Beauty. Q.--What did they represent? A.--The pillar of Wisdom represented Solomon, King of Israel, whose wisdom contrived the mighty fabric." But the Bible represents Solomon as having received the whole plan of the temple from David, who received it directly from God. Solomon never contrived the building at all.--1 Chon., xxviii. 11,12,20.
Again, on page 82, we have the following: "Q.--How many constitute a Master's lodge? A.--Three Master Masons. Q.--Where did they usually meet? A.--In the sanctum sanctorum, or Holy of holies of King Solomon's Temple." Now, this misrepresentation is kept up; and in the work of making a Master Mason they make the lodge represent the Most Holy place in King Solomon's Temple. A Masonic lodge in the Most Holy place of King Solomon's Temple! What an absurd, unscriptural, and ridiculous representation is this! And yet this is seriously taught to the candidate whenever a Master Mason is made.
But, again, this whole representation in regard to Hiram Abiff is utterly false. If any one will examine the fourth chapter of 2 Chron. he will see that Hiram Abiff finished the work for which he was employed; and, so far as we can get any light from the Bible, he must have lived till after the temple was finished. Where and when he died we know not, as he, no doubt, returned to Hiram, King of Tyre, who sent him to assist Solomon. But that he died in the manner represented by Freemasons, that he was buried in a grave six feet deep, and raised upon the five points of fellowship, that he was then buried again under the Most Holy place of King Solomon's Temple, and a marble monument erected in the Most Holy place to his memory, is a glaring falsehood.
Again, Masonry teaches that the Master's word could only be given by three persons standing in a peculiar attitude, and each one repeating one of its syllables. That this word was known at the time by only three persons, Solomon, Hiram, King of Tyre, and Hiram Abiff; and that, consequently, when Hiram was killed, the word was lost, as they were under oath never to give it except in that particular manner.
Now, in the Royal Arch degree, Masonry professes to give an account of the manner in which that word was recovered.
Some men, it is said, were employed in digging about the temple, and discovered a stone, which proved to be the key-stone of an arch covering a vault deep under ground, constructed, as it is said, by Hiram Abiff, in which they found the Ark of the Covenant.
On pp. 78, 79, of Richardson's "Monitor of Freemasonry," we have their explanation of this pretended discovery as follows. On p. 78: "Principal Sojourner.-- Most Excellent, in pursuance of your orders, we repaired to the secret vault and let down one of our companions. The sun at this time was at its meridian h[e]ight, the rays of which enabled him to discover a small box or chest standing on a pedestal, curiously wrought and overlaid with gold, * * * We have brought this chest up for the examination of the Grand Council. High Priest [looking with surprise at the Ark].--Companion King this is the Ark of the Covenant of God. King [looking at it.]--It is undoubtedly the true Ark of the Covenant, Most Excellent. High Priest [taking the Ark].--Let us open it, and see what valuable treasure it may contain. [Opens the Ark, and takes out a book.] High Priest to the King.--Companion, here is a very ancient looking book. What can it be? Let us read it. [Reads the first three verses of the first chapter of Genesis.]"
After reading several other passages, the High Priest says: "This is a book of the law--long lost, but now found. Holiness to the Lord! [He repeats this twice]. King.--A book of the law--long lost, but now found. Holiness to the Lord! Scribe repeats the same. High Priest to Candidates--You now see that the world is indebted to Masonry for the preservation of this sacred volume. Had it not been for the wisdom and precaution of our ancient brethren, this, the only remaining copy of the law, would have been destroyed at the destruction of Jerusalem." After several further misrepresentations, on p. 79, we have the following: "Looking again into the Ark, the High Priest takes out four pieces of paper, which he examines closely, consults with the king and scribe, and then puts them together so as to show a key to the ineffable characters of this degree. After examining the key, he proceeds to read by the aid of it the characters on the four sides of the Ark. High Priest reading first side: Deposited in the year three thousand. Second side: By Solomon, King of Israel. Third side: Hiram, King of Tyre, and Hiram Abiff. Fourth side: For the good of Masonry generally, but the Jewish nation in particular." If any one will consult the ceremonies just as they occur, and as they are recorded by Richardson, he will see to what an extent the candidate is misinformed and deceived in this degree. And the same in substance may be learned from "Light on Masonry." Now, observe, Masonry teaches in this most solemn manner that in Solomon's time the Ark of the Covenant, with its sacred contents, was buried in a vault by Solomon and the two Hirams.
Solomon was only the third king of Israel. And when did he have this Ark buried? Did it not stand in the Most Holy place during his own reign? Was not the Ark of the Covenant, with its sacred contents, in the Most Holy place in the temple after Solomon's day? What reader of the Bible does not know that this representation of Masonry is false ? Again, the candidate is also falsely taught that the world is indebted to Masonry for preserving the book of the law; that, but for this discovery of the Ark with its contents in that vault, no book of the law would have been preserved, as this was the only copy in existence. But this, again, is utterly false. Masonry teaches that, but for the discovery of this volume, the Bible would have been lost at the destruction of Jerusalem. But there is no truth in this; for copies had been multiplied before the first, and still further multiplied before the last, destruction of Jerusalem.
The following examples I extract from Professor Morgan's report: "It is alleged that, in consequence of the murder of Hiram Abiff; a particular keystone failed of its designation; but that Solomon caused search to be made for it, when it was found by means of certain initial letters which Hiram had employed as a mark. These letters were the initials of the English words, Hiram, Tyrian, widow's son sent to King Solomon. These initial letters are now employed as the mark of the Mark Master's degree. Masons sometimes wear a seal or trinket with these letters on it. I have seen them exhibited in a picture of a seal or badge in a widely circulated Masonic manual. Here we have Hiram, who never could have known one word of English--the English language not existing till thousands of years after his time--employing the initials of eight English words as his mark. And, in honor of his employing them, Mark Masters display them as their mark, and thus display the ignorance or imposture of their craft."
Another alleged historic fact is given in Richardson's "Monitor of Freemasonry," p. 155--the Gold Plate story. "In the ceremonies connected with the degree of 'Grand Elect, Perfect, and Sublime Mason,' the Master says: 'I will now give you the true pronunciation of the name of the Deity as revealed to Enoch; and he engraved the letters composing it on a triangular plate of gold, which was hidden for many ages in the bowels of the earth, and lost to mankind. The mysterious words which you received in the preceding degrees are all so many corruptions of the true name of God which was engraved on the triangle of Enoch. In this engraving the vowel points are so arranged as to give the pronunciation thus, YOWHO. This word, when thus pronounced, is called the Ineffable word, which cannot be altered as other words are; and the degrees are called, on this account, Ineffable degrees. This word, you will recollect, was not found until after the death of Hiram Abiff; consequently, the word engraved by him on the ark is not the true name of God.'
"Here we have a most ridiculous piece of imposture, more than parallel with the gold plate imposture of Mormonism. Every Hebrew scholar of the most moderate attainments knows that the vowel points, here alleged to have been used by Enoch before the flood, did not even exist till six or eight centuries after the birth of Christ. Besides, the merest smatterer in Hebrew, with very little thought. would know that the name of God could not, by any proper arrangement of vowels, be pronounced in this way.
"The story could impose only on the grossest ignorance, or most careless inconsiderateness."
To quote all that is scandalously false in its teachings and pretensions would be to quote these books almost entire. We hear professed Christians, and even ministers, claiming that Freemasonry enables them to better understand the Bible. Can it be that they are so ignorant as to believe this? But this is often urged as an inducement to join the lodge. Indeed Masonry claims that, to this day, none but Freemasons know even the true name of God. After Enoch's day, the Divine name was unknown until recovered by Freemasons in the days of Solomon, and that this true name of God is preserved by them as a Masonic secret. Of course, all others are worshiping they know not what. So this is Masonic benevolence and piety, to conceal from all but their craft the name of the true God. How wise and benevolent Freemasonry is! I wonder how many ministers of the Gospel are engaged in keeping this secret! They only of all ministers know the true name of God, and have joined a conspiracy to conceal it from all but Masons!
Before I close this number, I wish to ask Freemasons who have taken the degrees above the Fellow craft, or second degree, have you believed the teaching of these degrees, as you have taken them one after another? Have you believed that the lodges, chapters, commanderies, etc., were really erected to God, and consecrated to the holy order of Zerubbabel and St. John? Have you believed what you are taught in the Master's degree, respecting King Solomon, Hiram, king of Tyre, and Hiram Abiff? Have you believed the teachings of the Royal Arch degree, and of all those degrees in which King Solomon figures so largely? Have you believed that to Masonry the church owes the preservation of the only remaining copy of the law of God ? Have you believed the Gold Plate story, that Enoch lived in the place where the Temple of Solomon was afterward built, that he built, deep in the earth, nine arches, one above the other, in which, on the place where the temple was afterward built, he deposited a golden plate on which was written the true name of God, that this name was written with the Hebrew vowels attached, and that its true pronunciation is YOWHO, as Masonry teaches? Now you have believed these, and other outrageous falsehoods taught in Masonry, or you have not. If you have believed them, you have been greatly imposed upon, you have been grossly deceived. Will you allow yourselves to still give countenance to an institution that teaches such falsehoods as these? Had I space I could fill scores of pages with the palpable falsehoods which Masonry teaches its membership. How can you adhere to an institution so basely false and hypocritical as this? The secrets are all out. Both you and the world are now made aware of the base falsehoods that are palmed off upon its members by Freemasonry. Professed Christian Freemason, how can you hold up your head either in the church or before the world, if you still adhere to this most hypocritical institution? Just think of the Worshipful Masters, the Grand High Priests, in their mitres and priestly robes, the great and pompous dignitaries of Masonry arrayed in their sacerdotal robes, solemnly teaching their members such vile falsehoods as these, claiming that to Freemasons the church owes the preservation of the law of God, and that the true name of God is known only to Freemasons! Shame! But I said you have either been made to believe these things or you have not. If you have never believed them, pray, let me ask you how it is that you have ever given any countenance to this institution when you did not at all believe its teaching? How is it that you have not long since renounced and denounced an institution whose teaching is replete with falsehoods taught under the most solemn circumstances? These falsehoods are taught as Masonic secrets, under the sanction of the most awful and solemn oaths. What shall we say of an institution that binds its members by such oaths, to keep and preserve as truth and secrets, such a tissue of profane falsehood? You see nothing in it inconsistent with Christianity! Why, my dear brother, how amazing it is that you can be so blinded! Are you not afraid that you shall be given over to believe a lie, that you may be damned, because you believe not the truth, but have pleasure in unrighteousness
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