CALVIN ON POSTURE IN WORSHIP

Source: The Calvinist International

SITTING ON THE PROMISES? Portrait of John Calvin

Two of the more common gestural accompaniments of prayer and worship in Scripture are kneeling and the lifting of one’s hands.

In several places in the Institutes and his commentaries, John Calvin reflects on the usefulness of such practices for Christian prayer and sketches an outline of what it is that God intends them to do; or, rather, what God intends to do by them (and the notion of instrumentality will emerge as clearly having been of great significance for Calvin).

We tend, I think, in the Reformed world particularly, to assume that posture has very little to do with prayer, for a variety of reasons (e.g., an allergy to certain traditions with which we’d rather not be associated; an intellectualizing and cerebral impulse in worship that has as a frequent corollary, though not as a necessary consequence, a perhaps too easy alliance with forms that fall within our collective comfort zones; 1etc.). Others perhaps move in the opposition direction, believing that certain actions must be done at certain times, and that a failure to perform these actions makes prayer less, well, prayerful.

For Calvin, both positions are errors because both misjudge the nature of externals and their relation to the worship of the heart–the former too easily dispensing with them and therefore too quickly leaving them to one side, the latter giving them more weight than is due to them. Worship of God without the heart is useless; but, at the same time, what we do with our bodies is closely bound up with what we do with our hearts, and not in a symbolic way merely. The posture of the body ought to be emblematic of the posture of the heart, yes. But, ideally, the posture of the body serves to form the posture of the heart as well: posture, that is, has what we might call, in syntactical terms, both an indicative and a hortatory function. Kneeling is not just a sign of submission; kneeling aids in producing submission.

To approach more closely to what should be involved in thinking about this issue, let us look at some excerpts from Calvin, beginning with the Institutes. (END QUOTE)

For the rest of the article please visit The Calvinist International

Yours in the Lord,

jm

Maundy Thursday

“Today is Maundy Thursday…” no it’s not, stop it!

“I love it when you call me big Papa..” – Pope Francis

papa

“…the acceptable way of worshipping the true God, is instituted by himself, and so limited by his own revealed will, that he may not be worshipped according to the imagination and devices of men, nor the suggestions of Satan, under any visible representations, or any other way not prescribed in the Holy Scriptures.”

( Jeremiah 10:7; Mark 12:33; Deuteronomy 12:32; Exodus 20:4-6 )

Toleration Act 1689

1689
The TolerationAct 1689 (1 Will & Mary c 18), also referred to as the Act of Toleration,[3] was an Act of the Parliament of England, which received the royal assent on 24 May 1689.[4][5]

The Act allowed freedom of worship to nonconformists who had pledged to the oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy and rejected transubstantiation, i.e., Protestants who dissented from the Church of England such as Baptists and Congregationalists but not to Catholics. Nonconformists were allowed their own places of worship and their own teachers, if they accepted certain oaths of allegiance.

It purposely did not apply to Catholics, nontrinitarians[6] and atheists.[7] The Act continued the existing social and political disabilities for Dissenters, including their exclusion from political office and also from universities.

Dissenters were required to register their meeting locations and were forbidden from meeting in private homes. Any preachers who dissented had to be licensed.

Between 1772 and 1774, Reverend Doctor Edward Pickard gathered together dissenting ministers in order that the terms of the Toleration Act for dissenting clergy could be modified. Under his leadership, Parliament twice considered bills to modify the law. Both were unsuccessful and it was not until Pickard and many had lost interest that a new attempt was made in 1779.[8]

The Act was amended (1779) by substituting belief in Scripture for belief in the Anglican (doctrinal) articles, but penalties on property remained.

Penalties against Unitarians were finally removed in the Doctrine of the Trinity Act 1813.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Roger Olsen on Freemasonry

SOURCE

Going where angels fear to tread: Christianity and Freemasonry

One of my biggest culture shocks in moving to the South has been seeing all the enormous Masonic lodges and discovering that many, if not most, older Baptist (and other) men are members.  Where I come from originally (upper midwest), evangelical Christianity (including the majority of Baptists) and Freemasonry don’t mix.  They’re like oil and water.  In fact, some denominations divided over whether members could be Freemasons; the conservatives considered the drift toward allowing it a sign of liberal theology or worse (nominal Christianity).

A friend of mine was in line to succeed the retiring Fire Chief in his town of about 100,000.  Some city council members came to him and told him he would be Fire Chief if he joined the Masonic Lodge.  It was against his evangelical convictions, so he never became the city’s Fire Chief.

As I was growing up in the thick of evangelicalism (my uncle was on the national board of the National Association of Evangelicals) somehow I just knew one could not be both evangelical and a Mason.  None of my relatives were Masons; nobody in our church or denomination was a Mason.

The reasons given when I asked (probably in my late teens when I became aware of Masons through my high school friends who were joining DeMolay–the boys’ branch of Freemasonry) were that 1) Christians should not belong to secret societies and should devote their free time to the church and its mission rather than to an organization that is not specifically Christian, and 2) Freemasonry’s deep background, if not present reality, is inconsistent with evangelical Christianity.

I didn’t really think that much about it for quite a few years.  After all, there were no Masons in the evangelical circles I moved in (even after becoming a Baptist while attending an evangelical Baptist seminary).  The issue really first came to concern me when we made our first move to the South for me to pursue my Ph.D. at a major Southern secular research university.  I became youth pastor and Christian education director at a Presbyterian church and discovered that most of the older men of the congregation were Masons and were inviting the boys of the youth group to join DeMolay by suggesting they would get college scholarships.  They started attending DeMolay meetings INSTEAD of youth group meetings.  It was a struggle to hold on to them for the youth group and church.  I gradually realized that some of the men of the congregation were more invested in their Masonic relationships and activities than in the church.

One elder of the church invited me to lunch to discuss this problem.  I had made a little noise about it–mostly just by asking questions such as “Why are our men drawing our boys away from church to Masonry?”  And I asked some questions about Masonic beliefs and practices–most of which never received answers. The elder, who was a 32nd degree Mason, took me to lunch and said (direct quote seared into my mind): “If there is a conflict between Masonry and the Bible I’ll go with Masonry any day.”

Curious, I decided to do some reading about the history, dogma and rituals of Masonry.  Of course, that’s not easy.  So I looked for a book by a current (not former) Mason that would explain its basic beliefs.  What I found was The Meaning of Masonry by W. L. Wilmshurst, a Grand Master over a group of Masonic Lodges in Great Britain.  Wilmshurst was clearly NOT talking about his own branch of Masonry (whether York Rite or Scottish Rite or whatever); he was talking about the deep roots of Masonry in general.  According to Wilmshurst, an acknowledged authority on Masonic history and beliefs, Masonry necessarily has an esoteric side.  As he described it I recognized it as modern Gnosticism.

What am I saying?  That all Masons are Gnostics?  No.  Of course not.  But, if Wilmshurst (and many knowledgeable critics of Masonry) is right, even in the 20th century Freemasonry is rooted in a basically esoteric quasi-religious belief system that is incompatible with orthodox Christianity.  Do most Masons know that?  I don’t know.  But why would anyone join a group without knowing as much as possible about its history and beliefs–especially if that group requires an oath of secrecy and loyalty?

A few years ago an influential fundamentalist Southern Baptist “anti-cult” watcher led a crusade against Freemasonry especially among Southern Baptists and evangelical Christians in general.  He produced a book and a video attempting to expose Freemasonry as incompatible with Christianity.  He and some of his friends brought a resolution to the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention that, if passed, would have asked Southern Baptists to avoid membership in Masonic Lodges.  It would probably also have made it unlikely that Southern Baptist churches allow Masonic ceremonies in them and at Southern Baptist led funerals.  (Masonic members who die are given a special ritual by their Masonic brothers.  One explanation I was given by a Mason is that they do not believe in the resurrection of the body but only in the immortality of the soul.)

The resolution was soundly defeated.

I came to the South again 12 years ago and right away noticed the presence of enormous Masonic Lodges in this relatively small city with over 100 Baptist churches.  I discovered that many, if not most, older Baptist men have at one time or another been inducted into Masonry.  I have been told that all but the most recent presidents of the university where I teach were Masons.  I haven’t asked, but I’m sure many of the older men in the congregation to which I belong are Masons.  It’s part of the fabric of Southern culture including Southern Baptist culture.

Now, let me make clear I am not “against Masonry.”  I know too little about it to be against it.  Rather, I’m perplexed.  First, I was raised to believe that the church is one’s extended family, the family of God, and that one’s energy should be devoted to its ministry and mission first and foremost.  Second, I was raised to believe that membership in secret societies is not compatible with biblical Christianity.  It would be like an early Christian belonging also to a mystery religion; it wasn’t encouraged (to say the least).  Third, I was raised to believe that Masonic Lodges were competitors with the churches even if many Masons also belonged to churches.

Whether all that is true, I’m not sure.  But I continue to be perplexed about it.  How many Masons know that the first modern Masonic Lodges grew out of Rosicrucianism (an esoteric sect on the fringes of Christianity)?  How many know about the esoteric meanings of Masonic rituals?  How many are aware that, historically, Freemasonry denies the resurrection of the body and emphasizes the immortality of the soul instead?  Why would a Christian devote a hearty portion of his free time and energy to a secret society when that time and energy could be devoted to the work of Christ through the church?

These are questions I struggle with.  I’d love to hear real answers that carry some authority and weight from a knowledgeable Mason.  In the meantime I continue to suffer a bit of culture shock every time I drive by one of the several large Masonic Lodges in this region and realize that most of the members are probably Baptists.

Freemasonry and Anglicanism

Source:

Freemasonry and the doctrine of the Church of England

25 Jun 2015

Author:

George Conger

Justin Welby is not now, nor has he ever been a Freemason, a spokesman for Lambeth Palace told Anglican Ink this week. However, the archbishop’s staff declined to comment on the archbishop’s views on the compatibility of freemasonry and Christianity.

While his predecessor, Lord Williams, was an outspoken opponent of freemasonry, blocking masons from senior positions in the church, his successor has so far been silent. The Church of England’s official stance on masonry was set by the June 1987 meeting of General Synod in York, which held Christianity and freemasonry were not compatible.

By a vote of 384 to 52 with five abstentions, the General Synod approved the report, “Freemasonry and Christianity: Are They Compatible”. The 56-page report prepared by a seven member committee led by sociologist Margaret Hewett, which also included two masons, was released after 16 months of study. Whilst the Masonic members believed freemasonry and Christianity were compatible, the non-Masons found a “number of very fundamental reasons to question the com­patibility of Freemasons with Christianity.”

The report stated that it was “clear that some Christians have found the im­pact of Masonic rituals disturb­ing and a few perceive them as positively evil.” They concluded Masonic rituals were “blasphemous” be­cause God’s name “must not be taken in vain, nor can it be replaced by an amalgam of the names of pagan deities.”

It noted that Christians had withdrawn from Masonic lodges “precisely be­cause they perceive their membership of it as being in conflict with their Christian witness and belief.” However, the report did not take the position of the Methodist Church in England that Christians should resign.

In its debate, the synod noted freemasonry advocated a doctrine of works righteousness that conflicted with the Christian doctrine of Grace. A second point of theological concern was blasphemy surrounding the Mason’s use of the word “Jahbulon” for God — an amalgamation of Hebrew, Egyptian and Semitic titles for God.

However some senior churchmen rose in defence of masonry. The Archbishop of York, the Most Rev. John Habgood described English Freemasonry as being a “fairly harmless eccentricity”. The Bishop of Manchester, the Rt. Rev. Stanley Booth-Clibborn (the grandson of Salvation Army founder William Booth) stated: “The important point ought to be that there should be no undue pressure on Christians who are Freemasons, and no witch hunt.”

Upon his appointment by Lord Williams as Bishop of Ebbsfleet in 2011, the Rt. Rev. Jonathan Baker resigned from the Oxford lodge. In a statement posted on the Ebbsfleet website, Bishop Baker said he had joined freemasonry as an “undergraduate in Oxford, before ordination. Over the years I have found it to be an organisation admirably committed to community life and involvement, with a record of charitable giving second to none, especially among, for example, unfashionable areas of medical research.”

He added “Had I ever encountered anything in freemasonry incompatible with my Christian faith I would, of course, have resigned at once. On the contrary, freemasonry is a secular organisation, wholly supportive of faith, and not an alternative to, or substitute for it. In terms of the Church of England, its support, for example, for cathedral fabric is well documented.”

However, “I have concluded that, because of the particular charism of episcopal ministry and the burden that ministry bears, I am resigning my membership of freemasonry.”

A number of public cathedral services during Archbishop Welby’s tenure has reopened the issue. On 21 Sept 2013 Canterbury Cathedral marked the 200th anniversary of Royal Arch Masonry with a special service led by the Archdeacon of Canterbury, the Ven. Sheila Watson.

Freemasonry Today reported Archdeacon Watson noted the “long connection between the cathedral and Freemasons” and paid “tribute to the masonic principles of unity, fellowship and service to the community, and spoke of ‘service beyond ourselves’, a virtue embraced by the Church and Freemasonry alike.”

The cathedral’s press office declined to respond to request for a copy of the liturgy used at the Freemason service and AI was not able to confirm assertions that Jahbulon was worshipped in the Church of England ceremony.

In 2012 the dean of St Albans, the Very Rev. Jeffrey John, played host to 800 Hertfordshire freemasons and members of the Rose Croix and Societas Rosicruciana celebrating a service of thanksgiving and the rededication of a pulpit, a gift from English Freemasons in 1883.

At the St Albans service, Provincial Grand Master Colin Harris and Dr. John both referred to the relationship between the Abbey and Hertfordshire Provincial Grand Stewards’ Lodge, No. 8984, Freemasonry Today reported, noting the lodge “regularly assists at major Abbey events.”

Given the growing public profile of Freemasons in England’s cathedrals, has the 1987 General Synod paper on Freemasonry been made obsolete?

Brotherly Love Recommended

A sermon preached by Charles Brockwell, A.M. “His Majesty’s Chaplain in BOSTON” Post your comments below.

Yours in the Lord,

jm

brotherly love

In the GRAND LODGE, Held at the Exchange Tavern in BOSTON, on Wednesday the 27th Day of December 1749.

AGREED,THAT the Thanks of this ANCIENT and HONOURABLE SOCIETY be given to our Brother the Reverend Mr. CHARLES BROCKWELL, for his SERMON preached this Day before the said SOCIETY, and that the Right Worshipful Brother Hugh M’Daniel, Brother Henry Price, and Brother Thomas Aston request a Copy of the same, to be printed by the SOCIETY.

Charles Pelham, Secretary.


To the Right WorshipfulTHOMAS OXNARD, Esq;

Provincial Grand MasterOf NORTH-AMERICA;

Mr. HUGH McDANIEL,Deputy Grand Master;Mr. BENJAMIN HALLOWELL,Mr. JOHN BOX,

Grand Wardens;And OTHERS the Worshipful

BROTHERS and FELLOWSOF THEAncient and Honourable SOCIETYOFFree and Accepted MASONS:This SERMON,Preached and Published at their Request, isDEDICATEDByTheir most affectionate Brother,And humble Servant,Charles Brockwell.

I. THESS. IV. 9.
But as touching brotherly love, ye need not that I write unto you; for ye your selves are taught of God to love one another.

THE principal intention in forming societies is undoubtedly the uniting men in the stricter bands of love; for men considered as social creatures, must derive their happiness from each other: Every man being designed by Providence to promote the good of others, as he tenders his own advantage; and by that intercourse to secure their good offices, by being as occasion may offer serviceable unto them.

[8] But the Apostle in my text displays the necessity of brotherly love, from a far more noble principle than that of interest; even from the inculcations of GOD, who is love: For Ye your selves are taught of God to love one another. We are engaged to imitate the love of God in Christ, in the Motive, Pattern, and Direction, to as high a degree, as the vast distance and disproportion betwixt him and us renders our nature and condition capable of attaining. Our obligations them of resembling God in this favourite attribute, should be incentives to our most earnest endeavours thereafter, should invigorate our love and charity by that irresistible influence his example should have over us, both in the Equity, Measure, and Extent of this duty; in order whereunto my present design is

I. To enforce the practice of this communicative virtue, from those particular instances, wherein the love of Christ to Mankind, may, and ought to be imitated by us.

II. To lay before you the necessity of our following his example, from the consideration of his goodness towards us.

And

III. I shall close this discourse with some reflections suitable to the present Occasion.

[9] And,

First, To enforce the practice of this communicative virtue, we must observe that our blessed Saviour’s love towards mankind was open, generous, and free; not the effect of any former engagement; no, nor commenced upon prospect of any future advantage from the object of that love; for, herein was love manifested, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. The meaning whereof is this; that all the marvellous methods of Grace, all the great things done and suffered for us, by our blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, were not in requital of any merit or desert in us; but the motions of meer mercy and undeserved compassion.

His happiness could suffer no diminution by our misery, nor receive any addition from our rectitude. Can a man be profitable unto God, as he that is wise may be profitable unto himself? Is it any pleasure to the Almighty, that thou art righteous? or is it gain to him, that thou makest thy ways perfect? No, but stupendous Goodness! when we had deserved the severest of his vengeance, he rather chose to have his mercy glorified in our rescue, than his justice signalized in our destruction. And for this choice was reason can be assigned? only his own exceeding goodness, and the incomprehensible greatness of his love! He would be gracious to whom he would be gracious, and would shew mercy on whom he [9/10] would shew mercy. And mercy triumphed over judgement, not because it was better for him, but because it was more profitable for us.

This was the nature of the affection itself, and herein we are to observe what an ensample our Lord hath set before us; for, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. Moreover, if a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar; for her that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? This is close reasoning, and claimeth the attention of all men; but more especially of Us, who challenge the inspired Author as the Patron of our Society.

The love and esteem we entertain for each other, must be neither sordid nor mercenary, but free and unconfined as the open and ambient air. We must do good unto all men, yet at the same time we are obliged especially to consider and have a due regard to them who are of the house-hold of faith. Our benevolence as Men and Christians should be universal, shewing no respect of persons; but then as Brothers joined in Society, if any distinction can be made, without prejudice to other men, we ought to be as favourable and beneficent as may be, to those of our own fraternity. Now, that what I have offered may not appear with any air of inconsistency, in regard to Religion or Charity, I must beg leave to observe to you, [10/11] that it is not only a rule almost without exception, generally practiced by all men; but even countenanced and warranted by, and from our Saviour’s own example, whose love was equally extended to the benefit of every one of his Apostles or Disciples; yet he gave more distinguishing marks of his affection to the Evangelist St. John, whose anniversary we this day commemorate, than to any other. The disciple whom Jesus loved occurring no less than five several times in the sacred pages, to distinguish him from the other Disciples.

Our love should terminate entirely in the party to whom it is born, without any, the least view or prospect of returning to our own future profit; for such seeming love upon the minutest examination will prove a meer fiction, an empty sound, an ensnaring disguise; because, with what pretences soever it may be varnished, SELF, DEAR SELF, is only at the bottom. Do not even the publicans the same? This is driving a trade, nor rather putting our good offices clandestinely out to interest; which is in reality, not only the most ungenerous, but the most dangerous traffick in the world, as imposing upon mankind in the most tender point. This abases the noblest and bravest Virtues, prostitutes and profanes the sacred and venerable name of Friendship, causing a well-grounded suspicion, that this narrow principle, as predominant in our selves, in the master-spring of other men’s actions; so that consequently there are no such principles, as true generosity, disinterested friendship, or christian good-nature, subsisting among the sons of men.

[12] Having thus far enforced the Practice of this communicative Virtue, I proceed

II. To lay before you, the necessity of following his example, from the consideration of his goodness to us.

He is bountiful and kind from the essential goodness of his own nature, and because it is his most glorious attribute so to be. And as he is, beyond the utmost stretch of expectation liberal and munificent, tho’ no additional happiness can accrue to him, from the poor impotent creatures that bask in the sunshine of his favours: so we, influenced by the force of so great an example, or incited by some inherent principle of christian perfection, should not sit down first, and compute what account our good intentions, kind offices, or works and labour that proceedeth of Love to our indigent brothers, will turn to: but heedfully observe and pursue, those excellent rules of Generous compassion prescribed by our Great Master, and his Apostles. As Christ having loved his own, loved them unto the end; not with sudden sallies of passion, but with a love unfeigned, issuing from that inexhaustible spring of goodness, which was ever flowing, ever diffusing itself, upon all who sought, or received its communications; so should it be our constant endeavours to raise our affections to the constancy and perseverance, the sincerity and extent of his love. As St. John explains it, not in word only, but in deed and [12/13] in truth. Not growing hot or cold in our inclinations, according to the ebbings and flowings of uncertain fortune; but proceeding upon the steady principles of Reason and Religion. Such as are always fixed and consistent with themselves, and if pursued as they ought to be, will not fail to make us increase, and to abound in love one towards another, as in society particularly, so generally toward all men.

Christianity in the general (for I now enter not upon the melancholy divisions so rife among us) never circumscribes our benevolence within the narrow confines of Nature, Fortune, Profit, or Personal Obligation. What I would advance is this: That we restrain not our love to our next neighbour only, this being meerly a point of conveniency–Nor to our acquaintance solely, this being the effect of inclination purely to gratify ourselves–We are not to caress our friends only, because gratitude and common justice require even that at our hands–Nor yet those especially from whom we expect to receive benefit, for this interest and policy will prompt us to–Nor our relations only, for this the ties of blood and meer nature dictate–Nor is our love and charity limited to them particularly who are of the same Church of Opinion with us: for by the very same reason that we are induced to believe ourselves in the right, they may imagine themselves so too; and what we may judge to be a perfection among ourselves, they may condemn as a blemish. Be it so then: that in some points or rather [13/14] modes of worship we may differ or dissent from each other: yet still the LODGE reconciles even these–There we all meet amicably, and converse sociably together–There we harmonize in principals, though we vary in punctilioes–There we join in conversation and intermingle interests–There we discover no estrangement of behaviour, nor alienation of affection–We serve one another most readily in all the kind Offices of a cordial Friendship. Thus are we united, tho’ distinguished: united in the same Grand Christian Fundamentals, tho’ distinguished by some circumstantials: united in one important band of Brotherly Love, tho’ distinguished by some Peculiarity of sentiment.

Freedom of Opinion thus indulged, but its points never discussed, is the happy influence under which the unity of this truly Ancient and Honourable Society has been preserved, from time immemorial. And whoever is an Upright Mason, can neither be an Atheist, Deist, or Libertine. For he is under the strictest obligation to be a good man, a true Christian, and to act with honour and honesty, however distinguished by different opinions in the circumstantials of Religion. Upon which account MASONRY is become the Center of Union, and the means of conciliating friendship among men that might have otherwise remained at perpetual distance; causing them to love as Brethren, as Heirs of the same hope, Partakers of the same promises, Children of the same God, and Candidates for the same Heaven.

But to return from this digression, into which the subject hath insensibly led me.

[15] The necessity of our following Christ’s example, particularly in our love to each other: flows from the consideration of his goodness to us: in putting on bowels of Charity for the most miserable, the most despicable, the most negligent, the most mistaken, the most obstinate, the worst of men, the most implacable of enemies, nay, the most revengeful, that even thirsted after his blood–In all this Christ is our pattern, He died, and in the inexpressible agonies of a most painful and ignominious death, he prayed for those inexorable persons, who were Actors, and Causes, of this most traffic scene. And therefore from this illustrious example does the Apostle urge us, and moreover our own very Constitution teaches us, that all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil-speaking be put away from us, with all malice. And that we be kind to one another. We ourselves (besides these apostolic instructions) being taught of God, to love one another.

I have now gone through my two proposed heads of discourse, tho’ not so fully as I might, as being willing to reserve the more useful reflections on the present Occasion–Which I beg leave particularly to Address to you, my Right Worshipful BROTHERS, at whose request I now stand here, and which I therefore hope will prove the more acceptable.

We read that when Tertullus pleaded against St. Paul, that the chief accusation whereon he founded his Plea, [15/16] was, his being ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes–and this sect (said the Jews) we know that every where it is spoken against. And wherefore was this sect so spoken against? Was it from any evil they knew of its professors? Or from meer ignorance or blind prejudice? We find nothing of the former, but undoubted proof of the latter. And this I take to be pretty much our case, in respect to Masonry–as flowing from the same corrupted principles. I have had the Honour of being a member of this Ancient and Honourable SOCIETY many Years, have sustained many of its offices, and can, and do aver, in this sacred place, and before the Grand ARCHITECT of the World, that I never could observe according to the strictest rules of Society. This being founded on the rules of the Gospel, the doing the Will of God, and the subduing our passions, and highly conducing to every sacred and social virtue. But not to insist on my own experiences, the very Antiquity of our Constitution furnishes a sufficient argument to confuste all gainsayers. For no combination of wicked men, for a wicked purpose, ever lasted long. The want of virtue, on which mutual trust and confidence is founded, soon divides and breaks them to pieces. Nor would men of unquestionable wisdom, known integrity, strict honour, undoubted veracity, and good sense (tho’ they might be trapand into a foolish or ridiculous society, which could pretend to nothing valuable) ever continue it, (as all the world may see they have [16/17] done, and now do) or contribute toward supporting and propagating it to posterity.–

As to any objections that have been raised against this society, they are as ridiculous as they are groundless:–For what can discover more egregious folly in any man, than to attempt to vilifie what he knows nothing of? At any rate, he may with equal justice abuse or calumniate any thing else that he is unacquainted with–But there are some peculiar customs among us; surely these can be liable to no censure, hath every Society some peculiarities, which are not to be revealed to men of different communities?–But some among us behave not so well as might be expected: we fear this is too true, and are heartily sorry for it, let us therefore every one try to mend one: but even this objection is of no weight with a man of ingenuity and candour. For if the unworthiness of a professor, casts a reflection upon the profession, it may be inferred by parity of reason, that the misconduct of a christian, is an argument against christianity. But this is a conclusion which I presume no man will allow, and yet it is no more than what he must subscribe to, who is so unreasonable as to insist on the other.

Upon the whole then, it appears that the Rules of this society have a direct tendency to render Conversation agreable, as well as innocent; and so to influence our practice, as to be useful to others, and profitable to our selves; for to continue in Amity, and maintain a fair correspondence, to be disposed reciprocally to all offices of humanity, and to act upon mutual terms of Benevolence, which are the Characteristicks of Christianity, are [17/18] likewise the Cement of this Society. And how Good it is to assist, Comfort, and Relieve the oppressed, I need not now observe. Nor is it less obvious, how pleasant it is to contribute to the innocent delight, and promote the lawful advantage of one another; and always to converse with security without any the least suspicion of fraudulent, injurious, or malicious practices.

Now in order to cherish and promote this harmony within doors and without; Let us first lay hold on the surest means to stop the mouth of detraction, by endeavouring to lead a pure and unblemished life. Let us consider my Brethren that not the reputation of one only but that of the whole Society is affected by a brother’s misbehaviour. Invested as we are with that distinguishing BADGE, which at this Day is the Glory of the greatest Potentates upon earth, We should scorn to act beneath the dignity of our profession. Let us then walk worthy of our vocation, and do honour to our profession.

Let us rejoice in every opportunity of serving and obliging each other, for then and only then are we answering the great end of our institution. Brotherly love, Relief and Truth, oblige us not only to be compassionate and benevolent, but to administer that relief and comfort, which the condition of any member requires, and we can bestow without manifest inconvenience to ourselves. No artful dissimulation of affection can ever be [18/19] allowed among those, who are upon a Level, nor can persons who live within Compass, act otherwise than upon the Square consistently with the Golden rule of doing as they would be done by. For among us every one is, or should be another self: so that he that hates another must necessarily abhor himself also: He that prejudices another, injures his own nature; and he that doth not relieve a distressed Brother starves a member of his own body; but then this relief is not to be bestow’d upon the idle, indolent, and extravagant; but upon the unfortunate, industrious, successless brother.

Let us next remember the regulations of this Society are calculated not only for the prevention of enmity, wrath, and dissention; but for the promotion of Love, Peace and Friendship; then here surely conversation must be attended with mutual confidence, freedom, and complacency. He who neither contrives mischief against others, nor suspects any against himself, has his mind always serene, and his affections compos’d. all the human Faculties rejoice in Order, Harmony, and Proportion; by this our Society subsists, and upon this depends its Wisdom, Strength, and Beauty. Let therefore no narrow distinctions discompose this goodly Frame or disturb its Symmetry. But when good and worthy Men offer themselves, let them ever have the first place in our Esteem. But as for the abettors of Atheism, Irreligion, Libertinism, Infidelity, let us in the words of the prophet shake our hands from them just as a person would do, who [19/20] happens to have burning-coals or some venomous creature fastening upon his flesh. In such a case none would stand a moment to consider; none would debate with himself the expediency of the thing; but instantly fling off the pernicious incumbrance; instantly endeavour to disengage himself from the clinging mischief; so should every upright Mason from such perilous false Brethren.

There is one essential property which belongs to our Craft, which had like to have slipped me, and which, however condemned, is highly worthy of all applause; and that is, Secrecy. All that should be disclosed of a Lodge is this, that in our meetings we are all good-natured, loving and cheerful one with another. But what are these secrets? why, If a Brother in necessity seeks relief, ’tis an inviolable secret, because true Charity vaunteth not itself. If an overtaken Brother be admonished, ’tis in secret; because Charity is kind. If possible little differences, feuds, or animosities should invade our peaceful walls, they are still kept secret, for Charity suffereth long, is not easily provoked, thinketh no Evil.–These and many more (would time permit) which I could name, are the embellishments that emblazon the Mason’s Escutcheon. And as a further ornament, let us add that aromatic sprig of Cassia, of letting our light so shine before men, that they may see our good works; and that whereas they speak against us as evil doers they may by our good works which they shall behold glorify God. [20/21] In order to which, Lord we pray thee that thy grace may always prevent and follow us and make us continually to be given to all good works through Jesus Christ our Lord; to whom with the Father and the Holy Ghost, three Persons, and God eternal, immortal, invisible, be Honour and Glory forever and ever. AMEN.

FINIS.

Project Canterbury

Freemasons and the Presbyterian Church

Interesting read.

Source

Masons Have Played Prominent Roles In The Presbyterian Church

The small Reformed Church finally took an official stand against Freemasonry in 1942. The one Presbyterian denomination prior to that time that took a clear stand against Freemasonry was the Associate Presbyterian Church which following the 1757 Secession tradition had forbidden Masonic membership.

In writing this part concerning the Presbyterians, I have taken the liberty to lump the various groups together in the same section—however, they can in no way be lumped together in their response to Freemasonry and the One-World-Power.

Examples of Presbyterian Masons working on the functional church level are Robert W. Cretney (33°, deacon Presbyterian church), Morton P. Steyer (KT, 32°, Shriner, York Rite College, Royal Order of Scotland, and elder Presbyterian Church), and Hugh I. Evans (33°, KT, National Head of the Presbyterian Church, USA.)

33rd degree Mason Hugh I. Evans (1887-1958) deserves some note here. He represented the U.S. at the meeting of the World Council of Churches in Holland in 1948. He was the National Head of the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A. in 1950-51. In 1955, he became the director of the Foundation of the Presbyterian Church at NYC. and he served for a while as the President of the Board of National Missions.

The Newsletter Free The Masons (Aug. 1990) says “On the other end of that, however, is the church on whose Board sit Lodge members, or whose Deacons or Elders share Masonic secrets. These secrets reflect their higher allegiance to the Lodge, and seem to produce an aloofness from the rest of the Church body. These are ‘good’ men who attend regularly and are often the financial backbone of many small congregations.

“One Pastor wrote of his frustration in a rural church. He put it this way, “As faithful as these men are, I always feel at board meetings that there is a second agenda which is not open to me. It’s like they get their marching orders from the Lodge on how to conduct the business of the church. They are good men, but they seem to operate with some ‘higher’ knowledge than the rest of us. There is no submission to the authority of the church and its members.” ”

Sometimes Masonic literature shows its true colors almost to the point of being embarrasing. The book Standard Freemasonry states that Presbyterians are bad material [for the lodge] until they go against their church.6 The Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Oregon, 1870, p. 209 states that the world is a good place when the Presbyterian church shares its pulpit with a Jewish rabbi in Salem, OR.

The Alabama Grand Lodge reported in 1889 that out of its 7,950 Freemasons in the state 483 were Christian ministers.7 The New York Grand Lodge report of 1890 gives us the breakdown of the 703 Christian clergymen that were N.Y. Masonic members: Methodist(288), Episcopalian(146), Baptist(112), Presbyterian(59), Universalist(31), Congregationalist(21), Dutch Reformed(13), Christian(13), Lutheran(11), Jewish(7), Unitarian(l), Reform Jew(1).8

THE NEW AGE & THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCHES

The United Presbyterian Church put out a “Report on Occult and Psychic Activities” in 1976 that gave a positive report to various occult activities. It encourages the study of the occult “within the churches” (p.3). The medium Olga Worrall’s book The Gift of Healing gets a favorable review. One of the seven on the task force that wrote up the report was Mrs. Margueritte Harmon Bro who was a medium and the cofounder of SFF.

Another example of the New Age in the Presbyterian church is Pastor H. Richard Neff, of the Christian Community Presbyterian Church of Bowie, Maryland. He authored the book Psychic Phenomena and Religion. He states in his book, “Occult practices…may be beneficial and helpful for many people.” (p. 166)

Presbyterian Pastor Neff believes that only fraudulent mediums are bad, and he advocates mediumism for others. (cf. pp.166-7, 130-1, etc.)

Notes

1. Latourette, Kenneth Scott. A History of Christianity, Vol. II. NY: Harper & Row, 1975, p. 1231.

3. Holmes, Arthur F. The Idea of a Christian College. Grand Rapids, Ml: William B. Eerdmans, 1975, p. 19.

4. Numerous books refer to Anderson. Two references may suffice here, Ferguson, Charles W. 50 Million Brothers, and Jack Harris’ Freemasonry: The Invisible Cult, p. 113.

5. 1982 Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches as quoted in the World Almanac 1983, p. 353.

6. Standard Freemasonry, p. 40.

7. Proceedings…Grand Lodge of…California, 1889, p.5

8. Proceedings…Grand Lodge of…New York, 1890, p.37