"The Congregational convention in session at Ottawa, Ill., have passed a series of resolutions on the subject of secret societies, of which this one is the last: 'That there are certain other wide-spread organizations — such as Freemasonry — which, as we suppose, are in their nature hostile to good citizenship and true religion, because they exact initiatory oaths of blind compliance and concealment, are incompatible with the claims of equal justice toward man and a good conscience toward God; because they may easily, and sometimes have actually, become combinations against the due process of law and government; because, while claiming a religious character, they, in their rituals, deliberately withhold all recognition of Christ as their only Saviour, and of Christianity as the only true religion; because, while they are, in fact, nothing but restricted partnerships or companies for mutual insurance and protection, they ostentatiously parade this characterless engagement as a substitute for brotherly love and true benevolence; because they bring good men into confidential relations to bad men, and because, while in theory they supplant the Church of Christ, they do also in fact largely tend to withdraw the sympathy and active zeal of professing Christians from their respective churches. Against all connections with such associations we earnestly advise the members of our churches, and exhort them, be ye not unequally yoked with unbelievers.'
It will be noticed that these Pharisees set out with a supposition, and, after thus admitting that they know nothing of Freemasonry, proceed to denounce it much after the style of the late allocution. When men talk on a subject of which they know nothing, they are apt to get astray, and find themselves under the necessity of making assertions whereon to base an argument; thus they say that, I while claiming a religious character, they in their rituals deliberately withhold all recognition of Christ as their only Savior, and of Christianity as the only true religion.' We do not claim a religious character, neither do we publish our rituals for the edification of these sainted gentry, and, therefore, they cannot and do not know what they recognize, or from what they withhold recognition. We do not publish the fact that Masonry recognizes no sectarianism; that within its fold men of all sects and forms of worship may meet and fellowship; that while in all probability a majority of us do believe in the divinity of Christ and the truth of the Christian religion, many of us do neither, and they are none the less Masons on that account, nor have we any questions to ask as to the peculiar tenets of their religious belief; and had our defamers followed the admonition of St. Paul, and sought a reason for the faith which is in them, they would at least have ascertained that their denunciations had not the ghost of truth to rest on before they undertook to make themselves ridiculous by asserting positive untruth, and then rearing a card house of fallacy upon it. We can forgive the holy father for his want of knowledge, because his surroundings are not favorable to the progress of light or the increased circulation of newspapers, but that in this free land where the daily paper is one of the necessaries of life, read by the humblest toiler as well as the millionaire, there is no excuse for such ignorance as we find displayed by the bigots under consideration. That characterless charity, of which they evidently know nothing, however, inclines us to ask that they may be forgiven, on the ground that they know not what they do, and to whisper quietly in their ears — to long enough no doubt for the purpose — that untruthful denunciations are apt to recoil on those who make them."