The GOSPEL TRUTH
CHARLES G. FINNEY
To Samuel Bond
30 June 1868
[MS in Finney Papers, # 1908, Microfilm, roll 5. Copy in the handwriting of Mrs Rebecca Finney.]
After Finney's articles on Freemasonry started appearing in The Independent, Finney received the following letter, dated June 20, 1868, from E. R. Chapman of Erie:
Allow me to suggest a careful perusal of an article entitled Mr Finney &c in The National Freemason of June 20. Some explanation of the facts therein set forth which are susceptible of proof from the records is needed in order to set you right before the public in your assumed character as an honest, upright and truthful christian gentleman. The columns of the "Independent" will be closely scanned, for a refutation of these facts else you stand before the world in anything but an enviable light.
E. R. Chapman
The editorial entitled "Mr. Finney--His Misstatements--His Masonic History from the Records" was published in The National and Freemason (Washington), Vol X (20 June 1868), pp. 393-94. A copy of page 394 in Mrs Rebecca Finney's handwriting is in the Finney Papers (microfilm, roll 8, Addendum).
As a result, Finney wrote to Samuel Bond, who was an elder in the Presbyterian Church in Adams, New York, at the time that Finney was converted. See Finney's Memoirs, pp 24-25.
Oberlin, Ohio 30th June 1868
Samuel Bond, Esq.
My Dear Br.
probably aware that the masons in this vicinity have ren-
dered it necessary for me to expose their institution & preten-
sions. My articles are published in the Independent. "The National
& Freemason" has an article by the editor in the No. of June 20th
in this month, in which he professes to quote from both
the records of the Lodge & of the church and holds himself
responsible for the correctness of his statements. Now, either
the records are false or his extracts are false. I quote
from him as follows. "Jan. 18, 1821 the minutes meeti, Charles G.
Finney duly installed secretary." "At this time Benj. Wright
was master of the Lodge & an elder of the Presbyterian Church
whom Mr Finney styles a deist." You will remember Br.
Bond that Benj. Wright was converted after I was & joined
the church either at the same time, or after I did. I
was converted the 10th Oct 1822, & Mr. Wright about a month
after. Observe, this writer asserts that Wright was an
elder of the church Jan. 18th 1821. ie a year before he
was converted. This is certainly wrong. At the time I was
converted Eliphalet Edmonds a notorious Deist
was master of the Lodge. ^ I believe, after he was converted
was master of the Lodge & after he became an elder, but
of this I am not certain. In my first article I state, to
the best of my recollection of course, that I attended the
Lodge but twice after my conversion. This quotation rep-
resents me as attending three times, Jan. 3d 1822, June 10th 1822
& Oct. 30th 1823. He says I was discharged at my own re-
quest May 6th 1824. Now I cannot recollect attending
Lodge but twice after my conversion, and my impression
was that they were both soon after my conversion. If my
memory is not at fault, I requested a dismission at
my second attendance. My discharge may not have
been made out & delivered to me until the 6th of May
when I was about to leave town. He does not say that
I was at the Lodge 6th of May 1824. I had said in my
1st No. that I found I was converted from masonry & asked
my dismission on my second attendance. This was, as I
remembered. I am certain that I was converted from
masonry & had a severe struggle in my mind on the
question of withdrawing. I may be mistaken in regard to the
number of times I attended Lodge, before I finally got my
discharge. This writer denies that the masons had some
kind of celebration, & asked me to deliver an oration,
as I stated. I don't know whether there is any record
of this, but I do know that a celebration was held, that
I was requested to be the speaker on the occasion; that I de-
clined & that Abner Morton delivered the oration & that
he read it to me in the room I then occupied in Mr. Morton's
old store, before he delivered it. I did not attend the meeting.
Do none of you remember this? The substance of what I said in
that first number is abundantly confirmed by this article.
To wit, that I was a member & secretary of that Lodge, & that
I was duly dismissed at my own request. These facts have
been denied by masons, & I have been accused of belonging to
a Bogus Lodge, if to any, & a minister of the Gospel who
says he has been a master of a Lodge has asserted in
writing that there is no secretary of a mason's Lodge.
The two points of discrepancy between my statements as
recollected by me, & his statements, professed to be
from the Records, are 1st that Benj. Wright was
master of the Lodge & elder in the Church on the 18th
Jan. 1821. In this I know he is mistaken. I recollect
but two masters while I belonged to the Lodge, Capt. Goodell, &
Judge Edmonds. Edmonds was an avowed Deist. Goodell
was no Christian. The 2nd point of discrepance relates
to the number of times I attended the Lodge after my conversion.
This is of no other consequence except as it would show that
I was mistaken as to dates. Can you not get the number
of the "National & Freemason" of June 20th, read this article
& examine the records of the Lodge, & of the church & write
me the result of your investigations? Is there any evidence in
the record that I ever solicited an office in the Lodge & was voted
down, as he states? No man livingcan truthfully say that I
ever sought office in church or state of Lodge. You
will observe the filthy suspicions he suggests respecting my seeking
office & money. Now, My Dear Bro. Bond, I have an impression
that you & Bro. Stone became members of the Lodge after I left.
If you are a mason you know that I truly represent ma
sonry in my articles. They never would have been written
had not masons shut me up by their misrepresentations,
to write them. If you are a mason, you are also
a christian, & you will not, I trust, countenance the
misrepresentations of masons to injure a christian
brother. Will you not tell me at what date was Edmonds master of
the Lodge - At what date did Benj. Wright become an elder
& when did he become master of the Lodge? I know he was not an
elder in 1821. But, my dear Bro. let me hear from you soon Love to all
the Brethren God bless you
C. G. Finney
During the period from April 25 to August 1, 1868, The National Freemason was entitled The National and Freemason.
The date 1822 should be 1821.
Eliphalet Edmonds was one of the earliest settlers in the area. He had taken up land in 1799, and the meeting to form the town of Adam took place in his home in 1802. He was supervisor in 1818-1820 and a later trustee of the village. See Hough, A History of Jefferson County in the State of New York, from the earliest period to the present time (Albany: Joel Munsell, 1854)
The letter from George Andrus, Secretary of the New York Rising Sun Lodge, No. 125, dated 7 May 1824, included a copy of the proceedings of the Lodge for 6 May:
On motion, voted that Br. Charles G. Finney be honorably discharged from this Lodge, pursuant to his request.
Finney's first article "Freemasonry.--1" was published in The Independent (New York), 9 April 1868, p. 1
Perley Davis Stone (1795-1882), from Marlborough, New Hampshire, had gone to Adams, New York, in 1817, and for forty-four years was in partnership with Samuel Bond, as a cabinet-maker. He was a pillar of the Presbyterian Church, becoming a deacon in 1821, and an elder in 1828. "He was a man of devout and religious Puritan type" (J. Gardner Bartlett, Gregory Stone Genealogy. Ancestry and Descendants of Dea. Gregory Stone of Cambridge, Mass., 1320-1917 [Boston: Published for the Stone Family Association, 1918], pp. 432-3; see also J. S. Root, "Deacon Stone of Adams" The New-York Evangelist [21 September 1882], p. 6).