The GOSPEL TRUTH
CHARLES G. FINNEY
To Sarah Irene Miner Spees
19 December 1871
[MS in Finney Papers, 2/2/2, Box 9.]
Sarah J. Miner, an Oberlin student in the 1850s, had married Francis Spees and went out to the Indian Mission in North Minnesota. She died in 1880. (See Francis Spees to James H. Fairchild, 15 July 1883, in James H. Fairchild Papers, Oberlin College Archives.)
Addressed: Mr. Francis Spees,
For Mrs. Spees ) Iowa.
Postmarked: OBERLIN O. DEC 19
Stamp: 3 Cents embossed
Oberlin O. 19th Dec 1871
Mrs Sarah I Spees
My Dear Daughter,
I thank you for your kind
letter recd last evening.
I send you here with a
copy of my work on Freemasonry
Use it for Christ against
this great hypocrisy & wrong.
The same objections lie against
all permanent oath bound
secret societies. They differ
in their pledges & penalties
& are not all open to the
charge of Blasphemy & gross
hypocrisy like free Masonry
But secretism is in form & spirit
is opposed to the openness of the
gospel of Christ who spake
nothing in secret, & who ordered
his disciples to abstain f[r]om
oaths & to proclaim what they
were taught upon the house tops.
There are multitudes of objec
tions to all oath-bound secret
societies. I can only hint at a
few. 1. They are opposed to the
spirit of Christ. & Christianity
2. It is contrary to the command
of Christ to take such oaths.
3. It is profane & unlawful to
4. It is wicked to promise on oath
to keep secrets of which at the
time of swearing the candidate
5. The penalties are such as no
one has a right to inflict.
6. Such societies are a wrong
done to outsiders. They are
selfish mutual aid societies
7. They justly necessarily create
suspicion of their designs.
8. They are clannish and onesided.
9. They are divisive & evil
in the church.
10. Also in community.
11. They waste much precious
time & money.
12. They tend to selfrighteousness
13. They are not benevolent
because they are partial.
14. They are extremely liable to
be used by designing leaders
for selfish & evil purposes.
15. They are boastful. 16. They
accustom their members to
pompous titles. 17. They foster
pride & ridiculous ambition
18. They are frivolous & silly.
19. Many of their pretensions
are false. 20. They grieve the
Holy Spirit. 21. Draw Christi
ans away from prayer.
22. They affiliate with the
ungodly. 23. More good can
be done by open than be
24. Their tendency is to degenerate.
25. We have abundant testimony
from those who have belonged to
almost every form of secretism that
their tendency is downward &
demoralizing. Get the "Christian
Cynosure" a paper published
at Chicago. Ill. by Ezra A. Cook
It is an able opponent of secret
societies. It publishes a weekly
& fortnightly Edition. The weekly
$2. per year. The biweekly $1.
Address "Ezra A. Cook & co.
25 Clinton Street, Chicago.
My principle objection is to
Freemasonry as the mother of
all other Secret Orders.
Please give my love to Francis &
to Father & Mother Spees.
God bless you evermore
C. G. Finney
This letter is not in the Finney Papers
Charles G. Finney, The Character, Claims, and Practical Workings of Freemasonry (Cincinnati: Western Tract & Book Society, 1869).
Finney should have written "by" here.