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By The Rev. CHARLES G. FINNEY
PERVERSE AND PROFANE USE OF THE HOLY BIBLE
In this number I wish to call the attention of my readers to some of the cases in which Freemasons misapply and misrepresent, and most profane]y, if not blasphemously, use the Holy Scriptures.
I will not go far into the sickening details; but far enough, I trust, to lead serious persons to reflect upon the nature of a society that can trifle with such solemn things.
The "Knights of the East and West" take the following oath, and then pass through the following ceremonies:--See pp. 214--220 of the first edition, or eighth edition, 230--240, of Bernard's Light on Masonry --"I ----, do promise and solemnly swear and declare, in the awful presence of the only One Most Holy, Puissant, Almighty, and Most Merciful Grand Architect of Heaven and Earth, who created the universe and myself through His infinite goodness, and conducts it with wisdom and justice; and in the presence of the Most Excellent and Upright Princes and Knights of the East and West, here present in convocation and grand council, on my sacred word of honor, and under every tie both moral and religious, that I never will reveal to any person whomsoever below me, or to whom the same may not belong by being legally and lawfully initiated, the secrets of this degree which are now about to be communicated to me, under the penalty of not only being dishonored, but to consider my life as the immediate forfeiture, and that to be taken from me with all the tortures and pains to be inflicted in manner as I have consented to in my preceding degrees. I further solemnly promise and swear that I will pay due obedience and submission to all the degrees beyond this, &c. All this I solemnly swear and sincerely promise upon my sacred word of honor, under the penalty of the severe wrath of the Almighty Creator of Heaven and Earth; and may He have mercy on my soul in the great and awful day of judgment agreeably to my conformity thereto. Amen. Amen. Amen. The All Puissant then takes the ewer filled with perfumed ointment, and anoints his head, eyes, mouth, heart, the tip of his right ear, hand, and foot, and says, "You are now, my dear brother, received a member of our society. You will recollect to live up to the precepts of it; and also remember that those parts of your body which have the greatest power of assisting you in good or evil, have this day been made holy." The Master of Ceremonies then places the candidate between the two Wardens, with the draft before him. The Senior Warden says to him, "Examine with deliberation and attention everything which the All Puissant is going to show you." After a short pause, he, the S.W., says, "Is there mortal here worthy to open the book with the seven seals?" All the brethren cast their eyes down and sigh. The Senior Warden hearing their sighs, says to them, "Venerable and respectable brethren, be not afflicted; here is a victim (pointing to the candidate) whose courage will give you content."
S.W. to the candidate, "Do you know the reason. why the ancients have a long beard?"
CAN. "I do not, but I presume you do."
S.W. "They are those who came here after passing through great tribulation, and having washed their robes in their own blood: will you purchase your robes at so great a price?"
CAN. "Yes; I am willing."
The Wardens then conduct him to the basin, and bare both his arms; they place a ligature on each, the same as in performing the operation of blood-letting. Each Warden being armed with a lancet, makes an incision in each of his arms just deep enough to draw a drop of blood, which is wiped on a napkin, and then shown to the brethren. The Senior Warden then says, "See, my brethren, a man who has spilled his blood to acquire a knowledge of your mysteries, and shrunk not from the trial."
Then the All Puissant opens the FIRST SEAL of the great book, and takes from thence a bone quiver filled with arrows, and a crown, and gives them to one of the Ancients, and says to him, "Depart and continue the conquest." He opens the SECOND SEAL, and takes out a sword, and gives it to the next aged, and says, "Go and destroy peace among the profane and wicked brethren, that they may never appear in our Council." He opens the THIRD SEAL, and takes a balance, and gives it to the next aged, and says, "Dispense rigid justice to the profane and wicked brethren." He opens the FOURTH SEAL, and takes out a skull, and gives it to the next aged, and says, "Go and endeavor to convince the wicked that death is the reward of their guilt." He opens the FIFTH SEAL, and takes out a cloth stained with blood, and gives it to the next aged, and says, "When is the time. (or the time will arrive) that we shall revenge and punish the profane and wicked, who have destroyed so many of their brethren by false accusations." He opens the SIXTH SEAL, and that moment the sun is darkened and the moon stained with blood! He opens the SEVENTH SEAL, and takes out incense, which he gives to a brother, and also a vase, with seven trumpets, and gives one to each of the seven aged brethren. After this the four old man in the four corners show their inflated bladders (beeves bladders filled with wind, under their arms), representing the four winds, when the All Puissant says: "Here is seen the fulfillment of a prophecy (Rev. vii. 3); strike not nor punish the profane and wicked of our order until I have selected the true and worthy Masons." Then the four winds raise their bladders, and one of the trumpets sounds, when the two Wardens cover the candidate's arms, and take from him his apron and jewels of the last degree. The second trumpet sounds, when the Junior Warden gives the candidate the apron and jewel of this degree. The third trumpet sounds, when the Senior Warden gives him a long beard. The fourth trumpet sounds, and the Junior Warden gives him a crown of gold. The fifth trumpet sounds, and the Senior Warden gives him a girdle of gold. The sixth trumpet sounds, and the Junior Warden gives him the sign, token, and words. The seventh trumpet sounds, on which they all sound together, when the Senior Warden conducts the candidate to the vacant canopy.
[This canopy, it will be recollected, is at the right side of the All Puissant, who represents Jehovah. The sounding of the seventh trumpet, and the conducting of the candidate to the canopy, is a representation of the end of the world, and the glorification of true Masons at the right hand of God, having "passed through the trials of Freemasonry," and "washed their robes in their own blood!" If this is not Antichrist, what is?" --Compiler.]
The editor also adds the following foot-note in explanation of the foregoing:-- "Compare the foregoing with the fifth, sixth and seventh chapters of Revelation, and the reader will discover that the All Puissant represents Jehovah Seated on the throne of heaven; also, the Lamb of God, opening the seven seals. The Senior Warden represents the strong angel proclaiming: "Who is worthy to open the book," &c. The aged brethren, and the four old with bladders, the angels of God with power; and Masonry claiming its faithful servants as the servants of God, the 144,000 who were sealed in their foreheads, and of whom it is said, "These are they who were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb," &c. See Rev.14th chapter.
The following ceremonies are performed in the "Knights of the Christian Mark," found in the same book as the preceding, pp. 168--170; or eighth edition, 188--190:
"The Knights come to order; the Senior Knight takes his seat; the candidate continues standing; the conductor brings a white robe, the Senior Knight says: 'Thus saith the Lord, he that believeth and endureth to the end shall overcome, and I will cause his iniquities to pass from him, and he shall dwell in my presence for ever and ever. Take away his filthy garments from him, and clothe him with a change of raiment. For he that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment, and his name shall be written in the book of life, and I will confess his name before my Father and His holy angels. He that hath an ear let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the true believer. Set ye a fair miter upon his head, place a palm in his hand, for he shall go in and out, and minister before me, saith the Lord of hosts; and he shall be a disciple of that rod taken from the branch of the stem of Jesse. For a branch has grown out of His root, and the Spirit of the Lord hath rested upon it, the Spirit of his wisdom and might, and righteousness is the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins; and he stands as an insignia to the people, and him shall the Gentiles seek, and his rest shall be glorious. Cause them that have charge over the city to draw near, everyone with the destroying weapon in his hand.' The six grand ministers come from the north with swords and shields. The first is clothed in white, and has an ink-horn by his side, and stands before the Invincible Knight, who says: 'Go through the city; run in the midst thereof, and smite; let not thine eye spare, neither have pity; for they have not executed my judgments with clean hands, saith the Lord of hosts.' The candidate is instructed' to exclaim: 'Woe is me, for I am a man of unclean lips and my dwelling has been in the tents of Kedar, and among the children of Meshec.' Then he that has the ink-horn by his side, takes a live coal with the tongs from the altar, and touches the lips of the candidate, and says: 'If ye believe, thine iniquities shall be taken away, thy sins shall be purged. I will that these be clean with the branch that is given up before me. All thy sins are removed, and thine iniquities blotted out For I have trodden the wine-press alone, and with me was none of my people for behold I come with dyed garments from Bozrah, mighty to save. Refuse not., therefore, to hearken; draw not away thy shoulders; shut not thine ear that thou shouldst not hear.' The six ministers now proceed as though they were about to commence the slaughter, when the Senior Knight says to him with the ink-horn: 'Stay thine hand; proceed no further until thou hast set a mark on those that are faithful in the house of the Lord, and trust in the power of his might. Take ye the signet, and set a mark on the forehead of my people that have passed through great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and have made them white in the blood of the Lamb, which was slain from the foundation of the world.' The minister takes the signet and presses it on the candidate's forehead. He leaves the mark in red letters, 'King of kings, and Lord of lords.' [Foot-note: 'The reader is requested to turn to the following passages:--Isa. vi. 5-7; Ps. cxx. 5; Isa. xliii.15; and lxiii. 1-3. Rev. viii. 2-14; and xix.16; and xv. 3; Zech. iii; 7. Song of Solomon viii. 6,7. The impious perversion of these passages is incapable of defense or excuse.] The Minister opens the scroll, and says: 'Sir Invincible Knight, the number of the sealed is one hundred and forty-four thousand.' The Invincible Knight strikes four, and all the knights stand before him. He says: 'Salvation belongeth to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and to the Lamb.' All the members fall on their faces, and say: 'Amen. Blessing, honor, glory, wisdom, thanksgiving, and power, mighty majesty, and dominion, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.' They all cast down crowns and palm branches, and rise up and say: 'Great and numberless are thy works, thou King of saints. Behold, the star which I laid before Joshua, on which is engraved seven eyes as the engraving of a signet, shall be set as a seal on thine arm, as a seal on thine heart; for love is stronger than death, many waters cannot quench it. If a man would give all the treasures of his house for love, he cannot obtain it; it is the gift of God through Jesus Christ our Lord.'"
The following is found in the Royal Arch degree, pp. 126, first edition, 137, eighth edition:
"Question.--'Are you a Royal Arch Mason?' Answer. --'I am that I am.'" [Note. "I AM THAT I AM, is one of the peculiar names of the Deity; and to use it as above, is, to say the least, taking the name of God in vain. How must the humble disciple of Jesus feel when constrained thus to answer the question, "Are you a Royal Arch Mason?"] Light on Masonry, seventh edition. On pp. 154, 155, we have a description of a ceremony in the same degree, as follows: "The candidates next receive the obligation, travel the room, attend the prayer, travel again, and are shown a representation of the Lord appearing to Moses from the burning bush. This last is done in various ways. Sometimes an earthen pot is filled with earth, and green bushes set around the edge of it, and a candle in the center; and sometimes a stool is provided with holes about the edge, in which bushes are placed, and a bundle of rags or tow, saturated with oil of turpentine, placed in the center, to which fire is communicated. Sometimes a large bush is suspended from the ceiling, around the stem of which tow is wound wet with the oil of turpentine. In whatever way the bush is prepared, when the words are read, 'He looked and behold the bush burned with fire,' etc., the bandage is removed from the eyes of the candidate, and they see the fire in the bush; and at the words, 'Draw not nigh hither, put off thy shoes,' etc., the shoes of the candidate are taken off, and they remain in the same situation while the rest of the passage to the words, 'And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God,' is read. The bandage is then replaced and the candidates again travel about the room while the next passage of Scripture is read."
[Note. "This is frequently represented in this manner: When the person reading comes to that part where it says, 'God called to him out of the midst of the bush, and said.' etc., he stops reading, and a person behind the bush calls out, 'Moses, Moses.' The conductor answers, 'Here am I.' The person behind the bush then says: 'Draw not nigh hither; put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.' His shoes are then slipped off. 'Moreover, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.' The person first reading then says: 'And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look upon God.' At these words the bandage is placed over the candidate's eyes."] And, if any himself will examine, and read the books through for themselves, in which these revelations are made, they will find that the higher degrees are replete with the same shocking and monstrous perversion of the Scriptures. Many of the most solemn passages in the Bible are selected, read in their lodges, repeated by their candidates, and applied in a manner too shocking to read.
Here you observe the candidate taking the Royal Arch degree, when asked if he is a Royal Arch Mason, replies: "l am that l am;" which is represented in the Bible as being said by Jehovah himself. This answer was given by God to Moses when he inquired after the Divine name. God answered, "I AM THAT I AM." Just think! a Christian, when inquired of if he is a Royal Arch Mason, affirms of himself "I am that I am," taking to himself the name of the God of Israel.
Again, in this representation of the burning bush, the candidate is told to take off his shoes from off his feet, for the place on which he stands is holy ground; and then the Master of the lodge claims to be the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob. Now how awfully profane and blasphemous is this!
Again, observe that that most solemn scene, depicted in the ninth chapter of Ezekiel, is misapplied in the most profane manner. Reader, the chapter is short; will you not take your Bible and read it?
So again, in those chapters in Revelation, the opening of the seals by the Son of God is misapplied, and profanely misrepresented. Just think! Four aged men, with bladders filled with wind, are made to represent the four angels that hold the four winds from desolating the earth till the servants of God were sealed in their foreheads. What a shocking misapplication and misrepresentation do we find here! And the cases are numerous in which, as I have said, the most solemn passages in the Word of God are used in their mummeries and childish ceremonies, in so shocking a manner that we can hardly endure to read them. I beg my Christian readers to examine these books for themselves, and then see what they think of the assertions of so many professors of religion, and even of professed Christian ministers, that "there is nothing in Freemasonry inconsistent with the religion of Jesus Christ!" I cannot imagine anything more directly calculated to bring the Word of God into contempt, than such a use of it in Masonic lodges. It is enough to make one's blood curdle in his veins to think that a Christian minister, or any Christian whatever, should allow himself to pass through such an abominable scene as is frequently represented in the degrees of Masonry:--multiplying their horrid oaths, heaping one imprecation upon another, gathering up from every part of the Divine oracles the most solemn and awful sayings of Jehovah, and applying them in a manner so revolting, that the scene must make a Christian's heart tremble, and his whole soul to loathe such proceedings.
In some of my numerous letters I am requested to quote the oaths entire. But this would be to rewrite a great part of the books in which Masonry is revealed. Some of these degrees have several different oaths to sustain them, filling several pages of the work. I can only give parts of these oaths, and must leave the readers to consult the books for themselves which I beseech them to do.