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,

) Tabor.

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

[page 2]

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

administer them.

4. It is wicked to promise on oath

to keep secrets of which at the

time of swearing the candidate

knows nothing.

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.

[page 3]

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

[page 4]

be done by open than be

secret organizations.

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.