Secret society - free mason

About secret societies, free masonry, simbols, rithuals, order, ... Some articles are taken from "Mysteries of Freemasonry" by Captain William Morgan "The Symbolism of Freemasonry" by Albert G. Mackey, M.D. 1882. "Secret Societies" by David MacDill, Jonathan Blanchard, and Edward Beecher Those three books have free licence and no copyright law has broken.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The Spurious Freemasonry of Antiquity

In the vast but barren desert of polytheism—dark and dreary as were its gloomy domains—there were still, however, to be found some few oases of truth. The philosophers and sages of antiquity had, in the course of their learned researches, aided by the light of nature, discovered something of those inestimable truths in relation to God and a future state which their patriarchal contemporaries had received as a revelation made to their common ancestry before the flood, and which had been retained and promulgated after that event by Noah.

They were, with these dim but still purifying perceptions, unwilling to degrade the majesty of the First Great Cause by sharing his attributes with a Zeus and a Hera in Greece, a Jupiter and a Juno in Rome, an Osiris and an Isis in Egypt; and they did not believe that the thinking, feeling, reasoning soul, the guest and companion of the body, would, at the hour of that body's dissolution, be consigned, with it, to total annihilation.

Hence, in the earliest ages after the era of the dispersion, there were some among the heathen who believed in the unity of God and the immortality of the soul. But these doctrines they durst not publicly teach. The minds of the people, grovelling in superstition, and devoted, as St. Paul testifies of the Athenians, to the worship of unknown gods, were not prepared for the philosophic teachings of a pure theology. It was, indeed, an axiom unhesitatingly enunciated and frequently repeated by their writers, that "there are many truths with which it is useless for the people to be made acquainted, and many fables which it is not expedient that they should know to be false." 6 Such is the language of Varro, as preserved by St. Augustine; and Strabo, another of their writers, exclaims, "It is not possible for a philosopher to conduct a multitude of women and ignorant people by a method of reasoning, and thus to invite them to piety, holiness, and faith; but the philosopher must also make use of superstition, and not omit the invention of fables and the performance of wonders." 7

While, therefore, in those early ages of the world, we find the masses grovelling in the intellectual debasement of a polytheistic and idolatrous religion, with no support for the present, no hope for the future,—living without the knowledge of a supreme and superintending Providence, and dying without the expectation of a blissful immortality,—we shall at the same time find ample testimony that these consoling doctrines were secretly believed by the philosophers and their disciples.

But though believed, they were not publicly taught. They were heresies which it would have been impolitic and dangerous to have broached to the public ear; they were truths which might have led to a contempt of the established system and to the overthrow of the popular superstition. Socrates, the Athenian sage, is an illustrious instance of the punishment that was meted out to the bold innovator who attempted to insult the gods and to poison the minds of youth with the heresies of a philosophic religion. "They permitted, therefore," says a learned writer on this subject8, "the multitude to remain plunged as they were in the depth of a gross and complicated idolatry; but for those philosophic few who could bear the light of truth without being confounded by the blaze, they removed the mysterious veil, and displayed to them the Deity in the radiant glory of his unity. From the vulgar eye, however, these doctrines were kept inviolably sacred, and wrapped in the veil of impenetrable mystery."






&title=">del.icio.us
">Digg it
&u=">Furl
&title=">ma.gnolia
&title=">Shadows
&href=">Simpy
&title=">Spurl
&u=">Yahoo MyWeb

Links created with the Social Bookmark Link Creator


Sunday, August 27, 2006

Oaths and Promises

1. Another serious objection to secret associations is the profanation by them of the oath of God. We regard such profanation as the natural result of their secrecy. When associations of men endeavor to keep secret their operations from generation to generation, they will not be willing to trust to the honor and honesty of their members. A simple promise of secrecy will not be deemed sufficient. Oaths or promises, with dreadful penalties, will very likely be required of all those who are admitted as members. Secret societies may, perhaps, exist without such oaths and promises. If the members of an association are few in number, or if the publication of its secrets would not be regarded as very injurious to its interests, perhaps a simple promise of secrecy will be regarded as sufficient; but whenever an association endeavors to secure a numerous membership, and regards a disclosure of its secrets as likely to damage its reputation or hinder its success, something more than a simple promise of secrecy will very likely be required at the initiation of members. Accordingly, some secret associations, it is known, do employ awful sanctions in order to secure concealment. Even when the members of a secret order claim that they are not bound to secrecy by oath, but only by a simple promise, it will, perhaps, be found on examination that that promise is, in reality, an oath. An appeal to God or to heaven, whether made expressly or impliedly, in attestation of the truth of a promise or declaration, is an oath. Such an appeal may not be regarded as an oath in our civil courts, the violator of which would incur the pains and penalties of perjury; yet certainly it is an oath according to the teachings of the Bible. Our Savior teaches that to swear by the temple, is to swear by God who dwelleth therein; and that to swear by heaven, is to swear by the throne of God, and by him that sitteth thereon. (Matt. xx: 23.) We find, also, that the words, "As the Lord liveth," is to be regarded as an oath. King David is repeatedly said to have sworn, when he used this form of expression, in attestation of his sincerity. (1 Sam. xx: 3; 1 Kings i: 29.) An appeal to God, whether direct or indirect, in attestation of the truth of a declaration or promise, is an oath. As we have already said, a secret association may exist without an oath. But we are not sure that any does. Odd-fellows have declared that they have no initiatory oath. In the address published by the Grand Lodge of the United States, referred to before, the following declaration is made: "No oath, as was once supposed, is administered to the candidate." (App. to Proceedings of Grand Lodge, 1859, p. 10.) Yet Grosch, in his Odd-fellows' Manual, speaks of an "appeal to heaven" in the initiation, at least, into one of the degrees. (P. 306.) Perhaps the contradiction arises from a difference of opinion in regard to what it takes to constitute an oath, or, perhaps, from the fact that an oath is required in initiations into some degrees, but not in others. However this may be, we know that some secret societies have initiatory oaths, and that nearly all administer what, in the sight of God, is an oath, though they may not so view it themselves. Nor do we see any reason to discredit the declaration of Grosch that the candidate "appeals to heaven."

2. Now, the taking of an initiatory oath is, to say the very least of it, of doubtful propriety. Every one who does so swears by the living God that he will forever keep secret things about which he knows nothing. The secrets of the association are not imparted to him until after he has sworn that he will not reveal them. He is kept ignorant of them until the "brethren" are assured by his appeal to heaven that they can trust him. Now, the inspired apostle lays down the principle that a man sins when he does any thing about the propriety of which he is in doubt. He declares that the eating of meats was in itself a matter of indifference, but that if any man esteem any thing unclean, to him it is unclean. He then makes the following declaration: "But he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith; for whatsoever is not of faith is sin." (Rom. xiv: 22, 23.) According to this most emphatic declaration, we must have faith and confidence that what we do is right, else we are blameworthy. We sin whenever we do any thing which is, according to our own judgment, of doubtful propriety. The man who is initiated into an oath-bound society, swears that he will keep secret things about which he knows nothing--things which, for aught he knows, ought not to be kept secret. If the apostle condemned, in most emphatic language, the man who would do so trivial a thing as eat meat without assuring himself of the lawfulness of his doing so, what would he have said had the practice existed in his day of swearing by the God of heaven in regard to matters that are altogether unknown? To say the very least, such swearing is altogether inconsistent with that caution and conscientiousness which the Scriptures enjoin. The apostle also condemns the conduct of those who "understand neither what they say nor whereof they affirm" (1 Tim. i: 7.) Does not his condemnation fall on those who know not about what they swear, nor whereof they appeal to heaven?
masonic belt
3. There is another objection to taking an initiatory oath. We are expressly forbidden to take God's name in vain. To pronounce God's name without a good reason for doing so is to take it in vain. Certainly, to swear by the name of the living God demands an important occasion. To make an appeal to the God of heaven on some trifling occasion is a profanation of his oath and name. If the secrets of Masonry, Odd-fellowship, Good Templars, and similar associations, are unimportant, their oaths, appeals to heaven, and solemn promises made in the presence of God are profane and sinful. Perhaps their boasted secrets are only signs, grips, pass-words, and absurd rites of initiation. To swear by the name of the Lord about things of this kind is certainly a violation of the third commandment. The candidate does not know that the secrets about to be disclosed to him are of any importance, and he runs the risk of using God's name and oath about light and trivial things. He must be uncertain whether there is any thing of importance in hand at the time of swearing, and how can he escape the disapproval of God, since the inspired Paul declares that the doubtful eater of meat is damned? (Rom. xiv: 23.)

4. We have already adverted to the fact that concealment is resorted to in order to take advantage of "a weakness in human nature," and to recommend things which, if known generally, would be disregarded. Is it right to use the name and oath of God for the accomplishment of such purposes? Is it right to use the name and oath of God in order to take advantage of "a weakness in human nature," and to invest with fictitious charms things which, if seen in the clear light of day, would be regarded with indifference or contempt? The taking of oaths for such purposes, and under such circumstances will generally be avoided by those who give good heed to the command, "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain."

5. While we do not claim that there is any passage of Scripture which expressly declares the initiatory oaths under consideration to be profane and sinful, at the same time there are many passages which require us to beware how and when we swear:

"But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath; but let your yea be yea, and your nay, nay, lest ye fall into condemnation." (James v: 12.) Does not this command condemn those who swear to keep secret they know not what, and to fulfill obligations which devolve upon them as members of an association, before they know fully what that association is, or what those obligations are? Should not every one consider himself admonished not to swear such an oath lest he fall into condemnation? Again: Our Savior says, "Swear not at all; neither by heaven, for it is God's throne; nor by the earth, for it is his footstool; neither by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great king. Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black; but let your communication be yea, yea, nay, nay; for whatsoever is more than these, cometh of evil." These words were spoken in condemnation of those who employed oaths frequently and on improper occasions. They should make every one hesitate in regard to swearing, in any form, on his initiation into an order the obligations and operations of which have not yet been revealed to him. Once more: "Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God, for God is in heaven and thou upon earth; therefore, let thy words be few." (Eccl. v: 2.) Is it not a rash thing to bind one's self by the oath of God to keep secret things as yet unknown, or to bind one's self to conform to unknown regulations and usages? In view of these declarations of the Word of God, it certainly would be well to avoid taking such oaths as generally are required of the members of secret associations at their initiation.

6. The promise required of candidates at their initiation, whether there be an oath or not, is also, at least in many cases, improper and sinful. For instance, the "candidate for the mysteries of Masonry," previous to initiation, must make the declaration that he "will cheerfully conform to all the ancient established usages and customs of the fraternity." (Webb's Freemason's Monitor, p. 34.) Grosch, in his Odd-fellows' Manual, directs the candidate at his initiation as follows: "Give yourself passively to your guides, to lead you whithersoever they will." (P. 91.) Again, in regard to initiation into a certain degree, he says: "The candidate for this degree should be firm and decided in his answers to all questions asked him, and patient in all required of him," etc. (P. 279.) In the form of application for membership, as laid down by Grosch, the applicant promises as follows:

"If admitted, I promise obedience to the usages and laws of the Order and of the Lodge." (P. 378.)

These declarations, by reliable authors, plainly show that both in Masonry and Odd-fellowship obligations are laid on members of which, at the time, they are ignorant. Candidates for Masonry must promise to conform, yes, "cheerfully conform to all the ancient established usages and customs of the fraternity." The application for membership in the association of Odd-fellows must be accompanied by a promise of obedience to the usages and laws both of the whole Order and of the lodge in which membership is sought. No man has a right to make such a promise until he has carefully examined the usages, and customs, and laws referred to. While he is ignorant of them, he does not know but some of them or all of them may be morally wrong. Before the candidate has been initiated, he has not had an opportunity of acquainting himself with all the laws, usages, and customs which he promises to obey. Is not such a promise condemned by the divine injunction, "Be not rash with thy mouth?" Is not the man who promises to obey regulations, customs, and usages before he knows fully what they are as blameworthy as the doubtful eater of meats, who, the inspired apostle tells us, is damned for doing what he is not confident is right? The candidate for initiation into Odd-fellowship must "give himself passively to his guides." Such demands indicate the spirit which secret associations require of their members. They must surrender the exercise of their own judgment, and permit themselves to be blindly led by others. No man has a right thus to surrender himself passively to the guidance of others. Every man is bound to act according to his own judgment and conscience. Before a man promises to obey any human regulations, or to conform to any usage or custom, he is bound to know what that regulation, usage, or custom is, and to see that it is morally right. To do otherwise is to sin against conscience and the law of God.

7. Besides this, the promise to "preserve mysteries inviolate," made before they have been made known to the promiser, is condemned by sound morality. He may have heard the declaration of others that there is nothing wrong in "the mysteries," but this is not sufficient to justify him. A man is bound to exercise his own reason and conscience in regard to all questions of morality.
No man has a right, at any time, to lay aside his reason and conscience and allow himself to be "guided passively" by others. Every man is bound to see and decide for himself in every case of duty and morals. We should not let the church of Christ even decide for us in such matters, much less some association, composed, it may be, of infidels, Mormons, Jews, Mohammedans, and all sorts of men except atheists. (See pages 37, 31.) A band of such men may have secrets very immoral in character, and which it would be a violation of God's law to preserve inviolate. To promise beforehand that any "mysteries" which they may see fit to enact and practice shall be forever concealed, is to trifle with conscience and morality. It is useless to plead that a member can withdraw as soon as he discovers any thing wrong in the regulations and usages which he is required to obey. Every one who joins such an association as those under consideration must make up his mind to do so before he knows what "the mysteries" are, and he must promise (either with or without an oath) that he will preserve them inviolate before "the brethren" will intrust them to him. The possibility of dissolving his connection with the association afterward does not exonerate him of promising to do he knows not what--of laying aside his own conscience and reason, and yielding himself "passively" to others. The promise of secrecy and of obedience to unknown regulations and customs, required at the initiation of candidates into such associations as we are considering, is, therefore, a step in the dark. It involves the assuming of an obligation to do what may be morally wrong, and is, therefore, inconsistent with the teachings of the Word of God and the principles of sound morality.



del.icio.us
Digg it
Furl
ma.gnolia
Shadows
Simpy
Spurl
Yahoo MyWeb

Links created with the Social Bookmark Link Creator


Friday, August 25, 2006

Lecture on the First Degree of Masonry

Question—From whence came you as an Entered Apprentice Mason? Answer—From the Holy Lodge of St. John at Jerusalem.

Q. What recommendations do you bring? A. Recommendations from the Worshipful Master, Wardens, and brethren of that Right Worshipful Lodge, who greet you.

Q. What comest thou hither to do? A. To learn to subdue my passions, and improve myself in the secret arts and mysteries of Ancient Freemasonry.

Q. You are a Mason, then, I presume? A. I am.

Q. How do you know that you are a Mason? A. By being often tried, never denied, and willing to be tried again.

Q. How shall I know you to be a Mason? A. By certain signs, and a token.

Q. What are signs? A. All right angles, horizontals and perpendiculars.

Q. What is a token? A. A certain friendly and brotherly grip, whereby one Mason may know another in the dark as well as in the light.

Q. Where were you first prepared to be a Mason? A. In my heart.

Q. Where secondly? A. In a room adjacent to the body of a just and lawfully constituted Lodge of such.

Q. How were you prepared? A. By being divested of all metals, neither naked nor clothed, barefoot nor shod, hoodwinked, with a cable-tow about my neck, in which situation I was conducted to the door of the Lodge.

Q. You being hoodwinked, how did you know it to be a door? A. By first meeting with resistance, and afterwards gaining admission.

Q. How did you gain admission? A. By three distinct knocks from without, answered by the same from within.

Q. What was said to you from within? A. Who comes there? Who comes there? Who comes there?

Q. Your answer? A. A poor, blind candidate, who has long been desirous of having and receiving a part of the rights and benefits of this Worshipful Lodge, dedicated to God, and held forth to the Holy Order of St. John, as all true fellows and brothers have done, who have gone this way before me.

Q. What further was said to you from within? A. I was asked if it was of my own free will and accord I made this request; if I was duly and truly prepared, worthy and well qualified; all of which being answered in the affirmative, I was asked by what further rights I expected to obtain so great a favor or benefit.

Q. Your answer? A. By being a man, free-born, of lawful age, and well recommended.

Q. What was then said to you? A. I was bid to wait till the Worshipful Master in the East was made acquainted with my request and his answer returned.

Q. After his answer was returned, what followed? A. I was caused to enter the Lodge.

Q. How? A. On the point of some sharp instrument pressing my naked left breast, in the name of the Lord.

Q. How were you then disposed of? A. I was conducted to the centre of the Lodge, and there caused to kneel for the benefit of a prayer.

Q. After prayer, what was said to you? A. I was asked in whom I put my trust.

Q. Your answer? A. God.

Q. What followed? A. The Worshipful Master took me by the right hand and said, Since in God you put your trust, arise, follow your leader, and fear no danger.

Q. How were you then disposed of? A. I was conducted three times regularly around the Lodge, and halted at the Junior Warden in the South, where the same questions were asked, and answers returned at the door.

Q. How did the Junior Warden dispose of you? A. He ordered me to be conducted to the Senior Warden in the West, where the same questions were asked, and answers returned as before.

Q. How did the Senior Warden dispose of you? A. He ordered me to be conducted to the Worshipful Master in the East, where the same questions were asked, and answers returned as before, who likewise demanded of me from whence I came, and whither I was traveling.

Q. Your answer? A. From the West, and traveling to the East.

Q. Why do you leave the West and travel to the East? A. In search of light.

Q. How did the Worshipful Master then dispose of you? A. He ordered me to be conducted back to the West, from whence I came, and put in care of the Senior Warden, who taught me how to approach the East, the place of light, by advancing upon one upright regular step to the first step, my feet forming the right angle of an oblong square, my body erect at the altar before the Worshipful Master.

Q. What did the Worshipful Master do with you? A. He made an Entered Apprentice Mason of me.

Q. How? A. In due form.

Q. What was that due form? A. My left knee bare and bent, my right forming a square, my left hand supporting the Holy Bible, Square and Compass; I took upon me the solemn oath or obligation of an Entered Apprentice Mason.

Q. After you had taken your obligation, what was said to you? A. I was asked what I most desired.

Q. Your answer? A. Light.

Q. Was you immediately brought to light? A. I was.

Q. How? A. By the direction of the Master, and assistance of the brethren.

Q. What did you first discover after being brought to light? A. Three great lights in Masonry, by the assistance of three lesser.

Q. What were those three great lights in Masonry? A. The Holy Bible, Square and Compass.

Q. How are they explained? A. The Holy Bible is given to us as a guide for our faith and practice; the Square, to square our actions; and the Compass to keep us in due bounds with all mankind, but more especially with the brethren.

Q. What were those three lesser lights? A. Three burning tapers, or candles on candlesticks.

Q. What do they represent? A. The Sun, Moon, and Master of the Lodge.

Q. How are they explained? A. As the Sun rules the day, and the Moon governs the night, so ought the Worshipful Master to use his endeavors to rule and govern his Lodge with equal regularity, or cause the same to be done.

Q. What did you next discover? A. The Worshipful Master approaching me from the East, under the sign and due-guard of an Entered Apprentice Mason, who presented me with his right hand in token of brotherly love and esteem, and proceeded to give me the grip and word of an Entered Apprentice Mason, and bid me arise and salute the Junior and Senior Wardens, and convince them that I had been regularly initiated as an Entered Apprentice Mason, and was in possession of the sign, grip, and word.

Q. What did you next discover? A. The Worshipful Master a second time approaching me from the East, who presented me with a lamb-skin, or white apron, which he said was an emblem of innocence, and the badge of a Mason; that it had been worn by kings, princes, and potentates of the earth, who had never been ashamed to wear it; that it was more honorable than the diamonds of kings, or pearls of princesses, when worthily worn; and more ancient than the Golden Fleece or Roman Eagle; more honorable than the Star or Garter, or any other order that could be conferred on me at that time, or any time thereafter, except it be in the body of a just and lawfully constituted Lodge of Masons; and bid me carry it to the Senior Warden in the West, who taught me how to wear it as an Entered Apprentice Mason.

Q. What were you next presented with? A. The working tools of an Entered Apprentice Mason.

Q. What were they? A. The twenty-four-inch gauge and common gavel.

Q. How were they explained? A. The twenty-four-inch gauge is an instrument made use of by operative masons to measure and lay out their work; but we, as Free and Accepted Masons, are taught to make use of it for the more noble and glorious purpose of dividing our time; the twenty-four inches on the gauge are emblematical of the twenty-four hours in the day, which we are taught so divide into three equal parts, whereby we find eight hours for the service of God and a worthy distressed brother; eight hours for our usual vocation, and eight hours for refreshment and sleep. The common gavel is an instrument made use of by operative masons to break off the corners of rough stones, the better to fit them for the builder's use; but we, as Free and Accepted Masons, are taught to make use of it for the more noble and glorious purpose of divesting our hearts and consciences of all the vices and superfluities of life, thereby fitting our minds as lively and living stone for that spiritual building, that house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

Q. What was you next presented with? A. A new name.

Q. What was it? A. Caution.

Q. What does it teach? A. It teaches me, as I was barely instructed in the rudiments of Masonry, that I should be cautious over all my words and actions, especially when before its enemies.

Q. What were you next presented with? A. Three precious jewels.

Q. What were they? A. A listening ear, a silent tongue, and a faithful heart.

Q. What do they teach? A. A listening ear teaches me to listen to the instructions of the Worshipful Master, but more especially that I should listen to the calls and cries of a worthy distressed brother. A silent tongue teaches me to be silent in the Lodge, that the peace and harmony thereof may not be disturbed; but more especially that I should be silent when before the enemies of Masonry. A faithful heart, that I should be faithful to the instructions of the Worshipful Master at all times; but more especially that I should be faithful and keep and conceal the secrets of Masonry, and those of a brother, when delivered to me in charge as such, that they may remain as secure and inviolable in my breast as in his own, before communicated to me.

Q. What was you next presented with? A. Check-words two.

Q. What were they? A. Truth and Union.

Q. How explained? A. Truth is a divine attribute, and the foundation of every virtue. To be good and true are the first lessons we are taught in Masonry. On this theme we contemplate, and by its dictates endeavor to regulate our conduct; hence, while influenced by this principle, hypocrisy and deceit are unknown amongst us; sincerity and plain dealing distinguish us; and the heart and tongue join in promoting each other's welfare, and rejoicing in each other's prosperity.

Union is that kind of friendship that ought to appear conspicuous in the conduct of every Mason. It is so closely allied to the divine attribute, truth, that he who enjoys the one, is seldom destitute of the other. Should interest, honor, prejudice, or human depravity ever influence you to violate any part of the sacred trust we now repose in you, let these two important words, at the earliest insinuation, teach you to put on the check-line of truth, which will infallibly direct you to pursue that straight and narrow path which ends in the full enjoyment of the Grand Lodge above, where we shall all meet as Masons and members of one family; where all discord on account of religion, politics, or private opinion, shall be unknown and banished from within our walls.

Q. What followed? A. The Worshipful Master in the East made a demand of me of something of a metallic kind, which, he said, was not so much on account of its intrinsic value, as that it might be deposited in the archives of the Lodge as a memorial that I had herein been made a Mason.

Q. How did the Worshipful Master then dispose of you? A. He ordered me to be conducted out of the Lodge and invested of what I had been divested, and return for further instruction.

Q. After you returned, how was you disposed of? A. I was conducted to the northeast corner of the Lodge, and there caused to stand upright like a man, my feet forming a square, and received a solemn injunction, ever to walk and act uprightly before God and man, and in addition thereto received too following charge.

Friday, August 18, 2006

The Primitive Freemasonry of Antiquity

The next important historical epoch which demands our attention is that connected with what, in sacred history, is known as the dispersion at Babel. The brightness of truth, as it had been communicated by Noah, became covered, as it were, with a cloud. The dogmas of the unity of God and the immortality of the soul were lost sight of, and the first deviation from the true worship occurred in the establishment of Sabianism, or the worship of the sun, moon, and stars, among some peoples, and the deification of men among others. Of these two deviations, Sabianism, or sun-worship, was both the earlier and the more generally diffused.5 "It seems," says the learned Owen, "to have had its rise from some broken traditions conveyed by the patriarchs touching the dominion of the sun by day and of the moon by night." The mode in which this old system has been modified and spiritually symbolized by Freemasonry will be the subject of future consideration.

But Sabianism, while it was the most ancient of the religious corruptions, was, I have said, also the most generally diffused; and hence, even among nations which afterwards adopted the polytheistic creed of deified men and factitious gods, this ancient sun-worship is seen to be continually exerting its influences. Thus, among the Greeks, the most refined people that cultivated hero-worship, Hercules was the sun, and the mythologic fable of his destroying with his arrows the many-headed hydra of the Lernaean marshes was but an allegory to denote the dissipation of paludal malaria by the purifying rays of the orb of day. Among the Egyptians, too, the chief deity, Osiris, was but another name for the sun, while his arch-enemy and destroyer, Typhon, was the typification of night, or darkness. And lastly, among the Hindus, the three manifestations of their supreme deity, Brahma, Siva, and Vishnu, were symbols of the rising, meridian, and setting sun.

This early and very general prevalence of the sentiment of sun-worship is worthy of especial attention on account of the influence that it exercised over the spurious Freemasonry of antiquity, of which I am soon to speak, and which is still felt, although modified and Christianized in our modern system. Many, indeed nearly all, of the masonic symbols of the present day can only be thoroughly comprehended and properly appreciated by this reference to sun-worship.

This divine truth, then, of the existence of one Supreme God, the Grand Architect of the Universe, symbolized in Freemasonry as the TRUE WORD, was lost to the Sabians and to the polytheists who arose after the dispersion at Babel, and with it also disappeared the doctrine of a future life; and hence, in one portion of the masonic ritual, in allusion to this historic fact, we speak of "the lofty tower of Babel, where language was confounded and Masonry lost."

There were, however, some of the builders on the plain of Shinar who preserved these great religious and masonic doctrines of the unity of God and the immortality of the soul in their pristine purity. These were the patriarchs, in whose venerable line they continued to be taught. Hence, years after the dispersion of the nations at Babel, the world presented two great religious sects, passing onward down the stream of time, side by side, yet as diverse from each other as light from darkness, and truth from falsehood.

One of these lines of religious thought and sentiment was the idolatrous and pagan world. With it all masonic doctrine, at least in its purity, was extinct, although there mingled with it, and at times to some extent influenced it, an offshoot from the other line, to which attention will be soon directed.

The second of these lines consisted, as has already been said, of the patriarchs and priests, who preserved in all their purity the two great masonic doctrines of the unity of God and the immortality of the soul.

This line embraced, then, what, in the language of recent masonic writers, has been designated as the Primitive Freemasonry of Antiquity.

Now, it is by no means intended to advance any such gratuitous and untenable theory as that proposed by some imaginative writers, that the Freemasonry of the patriarchs was in its organization, its ritual, or its symbolism, like the system which now exists. We know not indeed, that it had a ritual, or even a symbolism. I am inclined to think that it was made up of abstract propositions, derived from antediluvian traditions. Dr. Oliver thinks it probable that there were a few symbols among these Primitive and Pure Freemasons, and he enumerates among them the serpent, the triangle, and the point within a circle; but I can find no authority for the supposition, nor do I think it fair to claim for the order more than it is fairly entitled to, nor more than it can be fairly proved to possess. When Anderson calls Moses a Grand Master, Joshua his Deputy, and Aholiab and Bezaleel Grand Wardens, the expression is to be looked upon simply as a façon de parler, a mode of speech entirely figurative in its character, and by no means intended to convey the idea which is entertained in respect to officers of that character in the present system. It would, undoubtedly, however, have been better that such language should not have been used.

All that can be claimed for the system of Primitive Freemasonry, as practised by the patriarchs, is, that it embraced and taught the two great dogmas of Freemasonry, namely, the unity of God, and the immortality of the soul. It may be, and indeed it is highly probable, that there was a secret doctrine, and that this doctrine was not indiscriminately communicated. We know that Moses, who was necessarily the recipient of the knowledge of his predecessors, did not publicly teach the doctrine of the immortality of the soul. But there was among the Jews an oral or secret law which was never committed to writing until after the captivity; and this law, I suppose, may have contained the recognition of those dogmas of the Primitive Freemasonry.

Briefly, then, this system of Primitive Freemasonry,—without ritual or symbolism, that has come down to us, at least,—consisting solely of traditionary legends, teaching only the two great truths already alluded to, and being wholly speculative in its character, without the slightest infusion of an operative element, was regularly transmitted through the Jewish line of patriarchs, priests, and kings, without alteration, increase, or diminution, to the time of Solomon, and the building of the temple at Jerusalem.

Leaving it, then, to pursue this even course of descent, let us refer once more to that other line of religious history, the one passing through the idolatrous and polytheistic nations of antiquity, and trace from it the regular rise and progress of another division of the masonic institution, which, by way of distinction, has been called the Spurious Freemasonry of Antiquity.







&title=">del.icio.us
">Digg it
&u=">Furl
&title=">ma.gnolia
&title=">Shadows
&href=">Simpy
&title=">Spurl
&u=">Yahoo MyWeb

Links created with the Social Bookmark Link Creator


Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Freemasonry - Ceremonies of the Admission and Initiation -2

After the candidate is brought to light, the Master addresses him as follows: "Brother, on being brought to light, you first discover three great lights in Masonry by the assistance of three lesser; they are thus explained: The three great lights in Masonry are the Holy Bible, Square and Compass. The Holy Bible is given to us as a rule and guide for our faith and practice; the Square, to square our actions, and the Compass to keep us in due bounds with all mankind, but more especially with the brethren. Three lesser lights are three burning tapers, or candles placed on candlesticks (some say, or candles on pedestals), they represent the Sun, Moon, and Master of the Lodge, and are thus explained: As the sun rules the day, and the moon governs the night, so ought the Worshipful Master, with equal regularity, to rule and govern his Lodge, or cause the same to be done; you next discover me, as Master of this Lodge, approaching you from the East upon the first step of Masonry, under the sign and due-guard of an Entered Apprentice Mason, as already revealed to you. This is the manner of giving them; imitate me, as near as you can, keeping your position. First, step off with your left foot, and bring the heel of the right into the hollow thereof, so as to form a square." [This is the first step in Masonry.] The following is the sign of an Entered Apprentice Mason, and is the sign of distress in this degree; you are not to give it unless in distress. [It is given by holding your two hands traversely across each other, the right hand upwards, and one inch from the left.] The following is the due-guard of an Entered Apprentice Mason. [This is given by drawing your right hand across your throat, the thumb next to your throat, your arm as high as the elbow, in a horizontal position.] "Brother, I now present you my right hand, in token of brotherly love and esteem, and with it the grip and name of the grip of an Entered Apprentice Mason." The right hands are joined together, as in shaking hands, and each sticks his thumb nail into the third joint or upper end of the forefinger; the name of the grip is Boaz, and is to be given in the following manner and no other: The Master gives the grip and word, and divides it for the instruction of the candidate; the questions are as follows: The Master and candidate holding each other by the grip as before described, the Master says, "What is this?" Candidate—"A grip." Master "A grip of what?" Candidate—"The grip of an Entered Apprentice Mason." Master—"Has it a name?" Candidate—"It has." Master—"Will you give it to me?" Candidate—"I did not so receive it, neither can I so impart it." Master—"What will you do with it?" Candidate—"Letter it, or halve it." Master—"Halve it and begin." Candidate—"You begin." Master—"Begin you." Candidate—"BO." Master—"AZ." Candidate—"BOAZ." Master says, "Right, Brother Boaz, I greet you. It is the name of the left hand pillar of the porch of King Solomon's Temple—arise, Brother Boaz, and salute the Junior and Senior Wardens as such, and convince them that you have been regularly initiated as an Entered Apprentice Mason, and have got the sign, grip, and word." The Master returns to his seat, while the Wardens are examining the candidate, and gets a lamb-skin or white apron, presents it to the candidate and observes, "Brother, I now present you with a lamb-skin, or white apron; it is an emblem of innocence, and the badge of a Mason; it has been worn by kings, princes, and potentates of the earth, who have never been ashamed to wear it; it is more honorable than the diamonds of kings, or pearls of princesses, when worthily worn; it is more ancient than the Golden Fleece or Roman Eagle; more honorable than the Star and Garter, or any other order that can be conferred upon you at this or any other time, except it be in the body of a just and fully constituted Lodge; you will carry it to the Senior Warden in the West, who will teach you how to wear it as an Entered Apprentice Mason." The Senior Warden ties the apron on, and turns up the flap, instead of letting it fall down in front of the apron. This is the way Entered Apprentice Masons wear, or ought to wear, their aprons until they are advanced. The candidate is now conducted to the Master in the East, who says, "Brother, as you are dressed, it is necessary you should have tools to work with; I will now present you with the working tools of an Entered Apprentice Mason, which are the twenty-four-inch gauge and common gavel; they are thus explained: The twenty-four-inch gauge is an instrument made use of by operative Masons to measure and lay out their work, but we, as Free and Accepted Masons, make use of it for the more noble and glorious purpose of dividing our time. The twenty-four inches on the gauge are emblematical of the twenty-four hours in the day, which we are taught to divide into three equal parts, whereby we find eight hours for the service of God and a worthy distressed brother; eight hours for our usual vocations; and eight for refreshment and sleep; the common gavel is an instrument made use of by operative Masons to break off the corners of rough stones, the better to fit them for the builder's use; but we, as Free and Accepted Masons, use it for the more noble and glorious purpose of divesting our hearts and consciences of all the vices and superfluities of life, thereby fitting our minds as living and lively stones for that spiritual building, that house not made with hands, eternal in the Heavens. I also present you with a new name; it is CAUTION; it teaches you, as you are barely instructed in the rudiments of Masonry, that you should be cautious over all your words and actions, particularly when before the enemies of Masonry. I shall next present you with three precious jewels, which are a LISTENING EAR, a SILENT TONGUE, and a FAITHFUL HEART. A listening ear teaches you to listen to the instructions of the Worshipful Master, but more especially that you should listen to the cries of a worthy distressed brother. A silent tongue teaches you to be silent while in the Lodge, that the peace and harmony thereof may not be disturbed, but more especially that you should be silent before the enemies of Masonry, that the craft may not be brought into disrepute by your imprudence. A faithful heart teaches you to be faithful to the instructions of the Worshipful Master at all times, but more especially that you should be faithful, and keep and conceal the secrets of Masonry, and those of a brother when given to you in charge as such, that they may remain as secure and inviolable in your breast as his own, before communicated to you. I further present you with check-words two; their names are TRUTH and UNION, and are thus explained: Truth is a divine attribute, and the foundation of every virtue; to be good and true is the first lesson we are taught in Masonry; on this theme we contemplate, and by its dictates endeavor to regulate our conduct; hence, while influenced by this principle, hypocrisy and deceit are unknown among us, sincerity and plain dealing distinguish us, and the heart and tongue join in promoting each other's welfare, and rejoicing in each other's prosperity. Union is that kind of friendship which ought to appear conspicuous in every Mason's conduct. It is so closely allied to the divine attribute, truth, that he who enjoys the one is seldom destitute of the other. Should interest, honor, prejudice, or human depravity ever induce you to violate any part of the sacred trust we now repose in you, let these two important words, at the earliest insinuation, teach you to put on the check-line of truth, which will infallibly direct you to pursue that straight and narrow path which ends in the full enjoyment of the Grand Lodge above, where we shall all meet as Masons and members of the same family, in peace, harmony, and love; where all discord on account of politics, religion, or private opinion, shall be unknown, and banished from within our walls.

"Brother, it has been a custom from time immemorial to demand, or ask from a newly-made brother, something of a metallic kind, not so much on account of its intrinsic value, but that it may be deposited in the archives of the Lodge, as a memorial that you was herein made a Mason; a small trifle will be sufficient—anything of a metallic kind will do; if you have no money, anything of a metallic nature will be sufficient; even a button will do." [The candidate says he has nothing about him; it is known he has nothing.] "Search yourself," the Master replies. He is assisted in searching—nothing is found. "Perhaps you can borrow a trifle," says the Master. [He tries to borrow, none will lend him; he proposes to go into the other room where his clothes are; he is not permitted: if a stranger, he is very much embarrassed.] Master to candidate, "Brother, let this ever be a striking lesson to you, and teach you, if you should ever see a friend, but more especially a brother, in a like penniless situation, to contribute as liberally to his relief as his situation may require, and your abilities will admit, without material injury to yourself or family." Master to Senior Deacon, "You will conduct the candidate back from whence he came, and invest him of what he has been divested, and let him return for further instruction. A zealous attachment to these principles will insure a public and private esteem. In the State, you are to be a quiet and peaceable subject, true to your government, and just to your country; you are not to countenance disloyalty, but faithfully submit to legal authority, and conform with cheerfulness to the government of the country in which you live. In your outward demeanor be particularly careful to avoid censure or reproach. Although your frequent appearance at our regular meetings is earnestly solicited, yet it is not meant that Masonry should interfere with your necessary vocations; for these are on no account to be neglected: neither are you to suffer your zeal for the institution to lead you into argument with those who, through ignorance, may ridicule it. At your leisure hours, that you may improve in Masonic knowledge, you are to converse with well-informed brethren, who will be always as ready to give, as you will be to receive information. Finally, keep sacred and inviolable the mysteries of the Order, as these are to distinguish you from the rest of the community, and mark your consequence among Masons. If, in the circle of your acquaintance, you find a person desirous of being initiated into Masonry, be particularly attentive not to commend him, unless you are convinced he will conform to our rules; that the honor, glory, and reputation of the institution may be firmly established, and the world at large convinced of its good effects." Here the initiation ends, and the candidate is congratulated by his Masonic friends.

After this, the business of the meeting proceeds according to the by-laws or regulations of the Lodge. Before adjourning, it is a very common practice to close a Lodge of Entered Apprentices, and open a Lodge of Fellow Crafts, and close that, and open a Master Mason's Lodge, all in the same evening.

Freemasonry - Ceremonies of the Admission and Initiation -1

At the first regular communication after the candidate has petitioned for admission, if no objection has been urged against him, the Lodge proceeds to a ballot. One black ball will reject a candidate. The boxes [Pg 6]may be passed three times. The Deacons are the proper persons to pass them; one of the boxes has black and white beans or balls in it, the other empty; the one with the balls in it goes before and furnishes each member with a black and white ball; the empty box follows and receives them. There are two holes in the top of this box, with a small tube in each, one of which is black, and the other white, with a partition in the box. The members put both their balls into this box as their feelings dictate; when the balls are received, the box is presented to the Master, Senior, and Junior Wardens, who pronounce clear or not clear, as the case may be. The ballot proving clear, the candidate (if present) is conducted into a small preparation room adjoining the Lodge; he is asked the following questions, and gives the following answers. Senior Deacon to candidate, "Do you sincerely declare, upon your honor before these gentlemen, that, unbiassed by friends, uninfluenced by unworthy motives, you freely and voluntarily offer yourself a candidate for the mysteries of Masonry?" Candidate answers, "I do." Senior Deacon to candidate, "Do you sincerely declare, upon your honor before these gentlemen, that you are prompt to solicit the privileges of Masonry, by a favorable opinion conceived of the institution, a desire of knowledge, and a sincere wish of being serviceable to your fellow-creatures?" Candidate answers, "I do." Senior Deacon to candidate, "Do you sincerely declare, upon your honor before these gentlemen, that you will cheerfully conform to all the ancient established usages and customs of the fraternity?" Candidate answers, "I do." After the above questions are proposed and answered, and the result reported to the Master, he says, "Brethren, at the request of Mr. A. B., he has been proposed and accepted in the regular form. I therefore recommend him as a proper candidate for the Mysteries of Masonry, and worthy to partake of the privileges of the fraternity; and in consequence of a declaration of his intentions, voluntarily made, I believe he will cheerfully conform to the rules of the Order." The candidate, during the time, is divested of all his apparel (shirt excepted), and furnished with a pair of drawers, kept in the Lodge for the use of candidates; he is then blindfolded, his left foot bare, his right in a slipper, his left breast and arm naked, and a rope, called a cable-tow, 'round his neck and left arm (the rope is not put 'round the arm in all Lodges) in which posture the candidate is conducted to the door, where he is caused to give, or the conductor gives, three distinct knocks, which are answered by three from within; the conductor gives one more, which is also answered by one from within. The door is then partly opened, and the Junior Deacon generally asks, "Who comes there? Who comes there? Who comes there?" The conductor alias the Senior Deacon, answers, "A poor, blind candidate, who has long been desirous of having and receiving a part of the rights and benefits of this worshipful Lodge, dedicated (some say erected) to God, and held forth to the holy order of St. John, as all true fellows and brothers have done, who have gone this way before him." The Junior Deacon then asks, "Is it of his own free will and accord he makes this request? Is he duly and truly prepared? Worthy and well qualified? And properly avouched for?" All of which being answered in the affirmative, the Junior Deacon says to the Senior Deacon, "By what further right does he expect to obtain this benefit?" The Senior Deacon replies, "By being a man, free born, of lawful age, and under the tongue of good report." The Junior Deacon then says, "Since this is the case you will wait till the Worshipful Master in the East is made acquainted with his request, and his answer returned." The Junior Deacon repairs to the Master, when the same questions are asked, and answers returned as at the door; after which the Master says, "Since he comes endowed with all these necessary qualifications, let him enter this worshipful Lodge in the name of the Lord, and take heed on what he enters." The candidate then enters, the Junior Deacon at the same time pressing his naked left breast with the point of the compass, and asks the candidate, "Did you feel anything?" Ans.—"I did." Junior Deacon to the candidate, "What was it?" Ans.—"A torture." The Junior Deacon then says, "As this is a torture to your flesh, so may it ever be to your mind and conscience, if ever you should attempt to reveal the secrets of Masonry unlawfully." The candidate is then conducted to the centre of the Lodge, where he and the Senior Deacon kneel, and the Deacon says the following prayer:

"Vouchsafe Thine aid, Almighty Father of the Universe, to this, our present convention; and grant that this candidate for Masonry may dedicate and devote his life to Thy service, and become a true and faithful brother among us! Endue him with a competency of Thy divine wisdom, that by the secrets of our art, he may be the better enabled to display the beauties of holiness, to the honor of Thy holy name. So mote it be. Amen!"

The Master then asks the candidate, "In whom do you put your trust?" The candidate answers, "In God." The Master then takes him by the right hand, and says, "Since in God you put your trust, arise, follow your leader, and fear no danger." The Senior Deacon then conducts the candidate three times regularly around the Lodge and halts at the Junior Warden in the South, where the same questions are asked, and answers returned as at the door.

As the candidate and the conductor are going around the room, the Master reads the following passage of Scripture, and takes the same time to read it that they do to go around the Lodge three times.

"Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard, that went down to the skirts of his garment; as the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion, for there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life forevermore."

The candidate is then conducted to the Senior Warden in the West, where the same Questions are asked, and answers returned as before; from thence he is conducted to the Worshipful Master in the East, where the same questions are asked, and answers returned as before. The Master likewise demands of him from whence he came, and whither he is traveling. The candidate answers, "From the West, and traveling to the East." Master inquires, "Why do you leave the West and travel to the East?" He answers, "In search of light." Master then says "Since the candidate is traveling in search of light, you will please conduct him back to the West from whence he came, and put him in the care of the Senior Warden, who will teach him how to approach the East, the place of light, by advancing upon one upright regular step, to the first step, his feet forming the right angle of an oblong square, his body erect at the altar before the Master, and place him in a proper position to take upon himself the solemn oath or obligation of an Entered Apprentice Mason." The Senior Warden receives the candidate, and instructs him as directed. He first steps off with his left foot and brings up the heel of the right into the hollow thereof; the heel of the right foot against the ankle of the left, will, of course, form the right angle of an oblong square; the candidate then kneels on his left knee, and places his right foot so as to form a square with the left, he turns his foot around until the ankle bone is as much in front of him as the toes on the left; the candidate's left hand is then put under the Holy Bible, square and compass, and the right hand on them. This is the position in which a candidate is placed when he takes upon him the oath or obligation of an Entered Apprentice Mason. As soon as the candidate is placed in this position, the Worshipful Master approaches him, and says, "Mr. A. B., you are now placed in a proper position to take upon you the solemn oath or obligation of an Entered Apprentice Mason, which I assure you is neither to affect your religion nor politics. If you are willing to take it, repeat your name, and say after me:

"I, A. B., of my own free will and accord, in presence of Almighty God, and this worshipful Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons, dedicated to God, and held forth to the holy order of St. John, do hereby and hereon most solemnly and sincerely promise and swear, that I will always hail, ever conceal, and never reveal any part or parts, art or arts, point or points of the secrets, arts and mysteries of ancient Free Masonry, which I have received, am about to receive, or may hereafter be instructed in, to any person or persons in the known world, except it be a true and lawful brother Mason, or within the body of a just and lawfully constituted Lodge of such, and not unto him, nor unto them whom I shall hear so to be, but unto them only after strict trial and due examination or lawful information. Furthermore, do I promise and swear that I will not write, print, stamp, stain, hew, cut, carve, indent, paint, or engrave it on anything moveable or immoveable, under the whole canopy of heaven, whereby, or whereon the least letter, figure, character, mark, stain, shadow, or resemblance of the same may become legible or intelligible to myself or any other person in the known world, whereby the secrets of Masonry may be unlawfully obtained through my unworthiness. To all which I do most solemnly and sincerely promise and swear, without the least equivocation, mental reservation, or self-evasion of mind in me whatever; BINDING MYSELF UNDER NO LESS PENALTY THAN TO HAVE MY THROAT CUT ACROSS, MY TONGUE TORN OUT BY THE ROOTS, AND MY BODY BURIED IN THE ROUGH SANDS OF THE SEA AT LOW WATER MARK, WHERE THE TIDE EBBS AND FLOWS IN TWENTY-FOUR HOURS: so help me God, and keep me steadfast in the true performance of the same."

After the obligation, the Master addresses the candidate in the following manner: "Brother, to you the secrets of Masonry are about to be unveiled, and a brighter sun never shone lustre on your eyes; while prostrate before this sacred altar, do you not shudder at every crime? Have you not confidence in every virtue? May these thoughts ever inspire you with the most noble sentiments; may you ever feel that elevation of soul that shall scorn a dishonest act. Brother, what do you most desire?" The candidate answers, "Light." Master to brethren, "Brethren, stretch forth your hands and assist in bringing this new-made brother from darkness to light." The members having formed a circle round the candidate, the Master says, "And God said, Let there be light, and there was light." At the same time, all the brethren clap their hands and stamp on the floor with their right feet as heavy as possible, the bandage dropping from the candidate's eyes at the same instant, which, after having been so long blind, and full of fearful apprehensions all the time, this great and sudden transition from perfect darkness to a light brighter (if possible) than the meridian sun in a midsummer day, sometimes produces an alarming effect.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Secret societies - Their Secrecy

1. One of the objectionable features of all the associations of which we are writing is their secrecy. We do not say that secrecy is what is called an evil or sin in itself. Secrecy may sometimes be right and even necessary. There are family secrets and secrets of State. Sometimes legislatures and church courts hold secret sessions. It is admitted that secrecy in such cases may be right; but this does not prove that secrecy is always right. The cases above-mentioned are exceptional in their character. For instance, a family may very properly keep some things secret; but were a family to act on the principle of secrecy, they would justly be condemned, and would arouse suspicions in the minds of all who know them. Were a family to endeavor to conceal every thing that is said and done by the fireside; were they to invent signs, and grips, and passwords for the purpose of concealment; were they to admit no one under their roof without exacting a solemn oath or promise that nothing seen or heard shall be made known, every one would say there is something wrong. So, too, if a church court would always sit in secret; were none but members at any time admitted; were all the members bound by solemn promises or oaths to keep the proceedings secret, and were they to employ signs, grips, and passwords, and to hold up horrid threats, in order to secure concealment, such a church court would lose the confidence of all men whose esteem is of any value. Such studious and habitual concealment would damage the reputation of any family or church court in the estimation of all sensible people. The same result would follow in case a Legislature would endeavor, as a general thing, to conceal its proceedings. As to State secrets, they generally pertain to what is called diplomacy; and even in straightforward, manly diplomacy there is generally no effort at concealment. In our own country, Congress very often asks the President for information in regard to the negotiations and correspondence of the Executive Department with foreign governments, and almost always the whole correspondence asked for is laid before Congress and published to the country. It is very seldom that the President answers the call with a declaration that the public welfare requires the correspondence to be kept secret. Besides this, the concealment is only temporary. It is never supposed that the secrecy must be perpetual. It is true that many diplomatists--perhaps nearly all the diplomatists of Europe--do endeavor to cover up their doings from the light of day. It is also true that the secrecy and deceit of diplomatists have made diplomacy a corrupt thing. Diplomacy is regarded by many as but another name for duplicity. Talleyrand, the prince of diplomatists, said "the design of language is to conceal one's thoughts." This terse sentence gives a correct idea of the practice of secret negotiators. With regard, then, to State secrets, we remark that real statesmen do not endeavor to cover up their doings in the dark, and that the practices of diplomatists, and the reputation they have for duplicity, are not such as should encourage individuals or associations to endeavor to conceal their proceedings. We see nothing in the fact that there may be secrets of State to justify studied and habitual secrecy either in individuals or associations.

2. The impropriety of habitual concealment may be further illustrated. An individual who endeavors to conceal the business in which he is engaged, or the place and mode of carrying it on, exposes himself to the suspicion of his fellow-men. People lose confidence in him. They feel that he is not a safe man. They at once suspect that there is something wrong. They do not ask or expect him to make all his business affairs public. They are willing that he should say nothing about many of his business operations. But habitual secrecy, constant concealment, unwillingness to tell either friend or foe what business he follows, or to speak of his business operations, will cause any man to be regarded as destitute of common honesty. This fact shows that, in the common judgment of men, constant concealment is suspicious and wrong. Wherever it is practiced, men expect the development of some unworthy purpose.

We regard secrecy just like homicide and other actions that in general are very criminal. To take human life, as a general thing, is a very great crime; but it is right to kill a man in self-defense, and to take the life of a murderer as a punishment for his crime. The habitual concealment of one's actions is wrong, but it may be right at particular times and for special reasons. It is not a dreadfully wicked thing, like the causeless taking of human life, and may be justifiable much oftener and for less weighty reasons. Still habitual secrecy, or secrecy, except at particular times and for special reasons, is, according to the common judgment of men, suspicious and unjustifiable. Now, with secret societies secrecy is the general rule. They practice constant concealment. At all times and on all occasions must the members keep their proceedings secret. If an individual would thus studiously endeavor to conceal his actions; were he to throw the veil of secrecy over his business operations, refusing to speak to any of his fellow-men concerning them, he would justly expose himself to suspicion. His fellow-men would lose all confidence in his integrity. If habitual secrecy on the part of an individual, in regard to business matters, is confessedly suspicious and wrong, it must be so, also, on the part of associations of men. There is less excuse, indeed, for concealment on the part of a number of men banded together than on the part of an individual. An individual working in the dark may do much mischief, but an association thus working can do much more. All those considerations which forbid individuals to shroud their actions in secrecy and darkness, and require them to be open, frank, and straightforward in their course, apply with equal or greater force to associations.

3. In the case of secret societies, the reasons for concealment set the impropriety of it in a still stronger light. So far from there being any necessity or special reason to justify habitual secrecy in their case, we believe the very design of their secrecy to be improper and sinful. We present the following quotation from a book of high authority among those for whose benefit it was specially intended:

"If the secrets of Masonry are replete with such advantages to mankind, it may be asked, Why are they not divulged for the general good of society? To which it may be answered, were the privileges of Masonry to be indiscriminately bestowed, the design of the institution would be subverted, and, being familiar, like many other important matters, would soon lose their value and sink into disregard."--Webb's Freemason's Monitor, p. 21.

The same author intimates that the secrecy of Masonry is designed to take advantage of "a weakness of human nature." He admits that Masonry would soon sink into disregard if its affairs were generally known. Although this remark is made with special reference to the giddy and unthinking, yet it is certainly not the contempt of such persons which Masons fear. They would not care for the contempt of the giddy and unthinking, if they could retain the esteem of the thoughtful and wise. The real reason, then, for concealing the doings of Masons in their lodges, is to recommend things which, if generally known, would be regarded with contempt. The design of concealment in the case of other secret associations, we understand to be the same. The following is an extract from an address delivered at the national celebration of the fortieth anniversary of Odd-fellowship, in New York, April 26, 1859, and published by the Grand Lodge of the United States:

"But even if we do resort to the aid of the mysterious, to render our meetings attractive, or as a stimulant to applications for membership, surely this results, in no injury to society or individuals."--Proceedings of Grand Lodge of United States, 1859, Ap., p. 10.

Here, again, it is pretty plainly hinted that the design of secrecy in the case of Odd-fellowship, is to invest it with unreal attractions, or, at least, with attractions which it would not possess, were the veil of concealment withdrawn. Here, again, as in Masonry, it is virtually admitted that secrecy is designed to take advantage of "a weakness in human nature," and to recommend things which, if not invested with the attractions which secrecy throws around them, would sink into contempt.

Doubtless the design of concealment in the case of other secret associations is the same. We are not aware that Good-fellows, Good Templars, Sons of Temperance, and other similar associations, have any better reason for working, like moles, in the dark than Masons and Odd-fellows. There is, then, as it respects secret societies, no necessity for concealment--nothing to justify it. The real motive for it is itself improper and sinful.

4. That the concealment of actions and principles, either by individuals or associations, is inconsistent with the teachings of the Bible, is, we think, easily shown. Thus our Savior, on his trial, declared: "I spake openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogue, whither the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing." (John xviii: 20.) An association which claims to be laboring in behalf of true principles, and for the moral and intellectual improvement of men, and yet conceals its operations under the impenetrable veil of secrecy, is certainly practicing in direct opposition to the example and teaching of the Son of God.

Again: The concealment of our actions is condemned in the words of the Most High, as recorded by the prophet: "Woe unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the Lord, and their works are in the dark; and they say, Who seeth us? and who knoweth us?" (Is. xxix: 15.) Those on whom a divine curse is thus pronounced are described as endeavoring to hide their works in the dark. This description applies, most assuredly, to those associations which meet only at night, and in rooms with darkened windows, and which require their members solemnly to promise or swear that they will never make known their proceedings.

Again: The inspired apostle incidentally condemns secret societies in denouncing the sins prevalent in his own day: "And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them; for it is a shame to speak of those things that are done of them in secret." (Eph. v: 11, 12.) It is not without reason that commentators understand the shameful things done in secret, of which the apostle speaks, to be the "mysteries" of the "secret societies" which prevailed among the ancient heathen. They maintained religious rites and ceremonies in honor of their imaginary deities, just as most modern "secret societies" make a profane use of the word and worship of God in their parades and initiations. He says it would be a shame to speak of the rites performed by the heathen in their secret associations in honor of Bacchus and Venus, the god of wine and the goddess of lust, and of their other abominable deities. But whether the apostle refers to the Eleusinian, Samothracian, and other pagan mysteries, or not, the principle of secrecy comes in for a share of his condemnation.

The concealment practiced by "secret societies" is inconsistent, also, with such declarations of the Bible as the following: "For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest that they are wrought in God."(John iii: 20, 21.) "Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." These are the words of our Savior, and they certainly condemn the concealment practiced by secret associations, and all the means employed for that purpose--their signs, grips, and passwords; their shunning the light of day; their secret gatherings in the night, and in rooms with darkened windows; the terrible oaths and solemn promises with which they bind their members to perpetual secrecy; the disgraceful punishments which they threaten to inflict on any member who will expose their secret doings--all these things are inconsistent with the spirit, if not the very letter, of the commands of our Savior quoted above.

5. Besides, if the doings of these associations, in there secret meetings, are good, then it is in the violation of the express command of our Savior to keep them concealed; for he tells us to let others see our good works. In case their doings are bad, it is, perhaps, no violation of Christ's command to keep them hid; but, most certainly, such things ought not to be done at all. So far as the moral character of secret societies is concerned, it matters not whether the transactions which they so studiously conceal are good or bad, sinless or wicked. If such transactions are good, the Savior commands that they be made known; if they are improper and sinful, he commands us to have no fellowship with them. In either case secret associations are to be condemned as practicing contrary to the teachings of the Bible.

Hence, we conclude that the concealment so studiously maintained and rigidly enforced by the associations whose moral character we are considering is condemned both by the common judgment of men and by the Word of God.

The Symbolism of Freemasonry - The Noachide

I proceed, then, to inquire into the historical origin of Freemasonry, as a necessary introduction to any inquiry into the character of its symbolism. To do this, with any expectation of rendering justice to the subject, it is evident that I shall have to take my point of departure at a very remote era. I shall, however, review the early and antecedent history of the institution with as much brevity as a distinct understanding of the subject will admit.

Passing over all that is within the antediluvian history of the world, as something that exerted, so far as our subject is concerned, no influence on the new world which sprang forth from the ruins of the old, we find, soon after the cataclysm, the immediate descendants of Noah in the possession of at least two religious truths, which they received from their common father, and which he must have derived from the line of patriarchs who preceded him. These truths were the doctrine of the existence of a Supreme Intelligence, the Creator, Preserver, and Ruler of the Universe, and, as a necessary corollary, the belief in the immortality of the soul1, which, as an emanation from that primal cause, was to be distinguished, by a future and eternal life, from the vile and perishable dust which forms its earthly tabernacle.

The assertion that these doctrines were known to and recognized by Noah will not appear as an assumption to the believer in divine revelation. But any philosophic mind must, I conceive, come to the same conclusion, independently of any other authority than that of reason.

The religious sentiment, so far, at least, as it relates to the belief in the existence of God, appears to be in some sense innate, or instinctive, and consequently universal in the human mind2. There is no record of any nation, however intellectually and morally debased, that has not given some evidence of a tendency to such belief. The sentiment may be perverted, the idea may be grossly corrupted, but it is nevertheless there, and shows the source whence it sprang3.

Free Mason symbol

Even in the most debased forms of fetichism, where the negro kneels in reverential awe before the shrine of some uncouth and misshapen idol, which his own hands, perhaps, have made, the act of adoration, degrading as the object may be, is nevertheless an acknowledgment of the longing need of the worshipper to throw himself upon the support of some unknown power higher than his own sphere. And this unknown power, be it what it may, is to him a God.4

But just as universal has been the belief in the immortality of the soul. This arises from the same longing in man for the infinite; and although, like the former doctrine, it has been perverted and corrupted, there exists among all nations a tendency to its acknowledgment. Every people, from the remotest times, have wandered involuntarily into the ideal of another world, and sought to find a place for their departed spirits. The deification of the dead, man-worship, or hero-worship, the next development of the religious idea after fetichism, was simply an acknowledgment of the belief in a future life; for the dead could not have been deified unless after death they had continued to live. The adoration of a putrid carcass would have been a form of fetichism lower and more degrading than any that has been discovered.

But man-worship came after fetichism. It was a higher development of the religious sentiment, and included a possible hope for, if not a positive belief in, a future life.

Reason, then, as well as revelation, leads us irresistibly to the conclusion that these two doctrines prevailed among the descendants of Noah, immediately after the deluge. They were believed, too, in all their purity and integrity, because they were derived from the highest and purest source.

These are the doctrines which still constitute the creed of Freemasonry; and hence one of the names bestowed upon the Freemasons from the earliest times was that of the "Noachidae" or "Noachites" that is to say, the descendants of Noah, and the transmitters of his religious dogmas.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Secret society - Antiquity

- Secret associations are of very ancient origin. They existed among the ancient Egyptians, Hindoos, Grecians, Romans, and probably among nearly all the pagan nations of antiquity. This fact, however is neither proof of their utility nor of their harmlessness. Slavery, despotism, cruelty, drunken falsehood, and all sorts of sins and crimes have been practiced from time immemorial, but are none the less to be reprobated on that account.

- The facts that these associations had no existence among the Israelites, who, alone of all the ancient nations, enjoyed the light of Divine revelation, and that they originated and flourished among the heathen, who were vain in their imaginations; whose foolish heart was darkened, and whom God gave up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts (Rom. i: 21-24), is a presumptive proof that their nature and tendency are evil. We do not claim that all the institutions among God's ancient people were right and good; nor that every institution among the heathen was sinful and injurious; still, that which was so popular among those whom the Bible declares to have been filled with all unrighteousness; that which was so pleasing to men whom God had given over to a reprobate mind and to vile affections (Rom. i: 26-28); that which made a part of the worship which the ignorant heathen offered up to their unclean gods, and which was unknown among God's chosen people, is certainly a thing to be viewed with suspicion. A thing of so bad origin and so bad accompaniments we should be very slow to approve. The fact that many good men see no evil in secret societies, and that many good men have been and are members of them, is more than counterbalanced by the fact that many good men very decidedly disapprove of them, and that, from time immemorial, men of vile affections and reprobate minds, men whose inclinations and consciences were perverted by heathenish ignorance and error, and by a corrupt and abominable religion, have been very fond of them.

- Doubtless the authors and conductors of the ancient mysteries made high pretensions, just as do the modern advocates of secret societies. Perhaps the original design of the ancient mysteries was to civilize mankind and promote religion; that is, pagan superstition. But whatever may have been the design of the authors of them, it is certain that they became schools of superstition and vice. Their pernicious character and influence were so manifest that the ancient Christian writers almost universally exclaimed against them. (Leland's Chr. Rev., p. 223.) Bishop Warburton, who, in his "Divine Legation," maintains that the ancient mysteries were originally pure, declares that they "became abominably abused, and that in Cicero's time the terms mysteries and abominations were almost synonymous." The cause of their corruption, this eminent writer declares to be the secrecy with which they were performed. He says: "We can assign no surer cause of the horrid abuses and corruptions of the mysteries than the season in which they were represented, and the profound silence in which they were buried. Night gave opportunity to wicked men to attempt evil actions, and the secrecy encouragement to repeat them." (Leland's Chr. Rev., p. 194.) It seems to have been of these ancient secret associations that the inspired Apostle said, "It is a shame even to speak of those things which are done in secret." (Eph. v: 12.)

- In view of these facts, the antiquity of secret societies is no argument in their favor; yet it is no uncommon thing to find their members tracing their origin back to the heathenish mysteries of the ancient Egyptians, Hindoos, or Grecians. (See Webb's Freemason's Monitor, p. 39.) Since the ancient mysteries were so impure and abominable, those who boast of their affinity with them must be classed with them of whom the Apostle says, "Their glory is in their shame" (Phil, iii: 19.)

The Origin and Progress of Freemasonery - 3

12. But those among the masses—and there were some—who were made acquainted with the truth, received their knowledge by means of an initiation into certain sacred Mysteries, in the bosom of which it was concealed from the public gaze.

13. These Mysteries existed in every country of heathendom, in each under a different name, and to some extent under a different form, but always and everywhere with the same design of inculcating, by allegorical and symbolic teachings, the great Masonic doctrines of the unity of God and the immortality of the soul. This is an important proposition, and the fact which it enunciates must never be lost sight of in any inquiry into the origin of Freemasonry; for the pagan Mysteries were to the spurious Freemasonry of antiquity precisely what the Masters' lodges are to the Freemasonry of the present day. It is needless to offer any proof of their existence, since this is admitted and continually referred to by all historians, ancient and modern; and to discuss minutely their character and organization would occupy a distinct treatise. The Baron de Sainte Croix has written two large volumes on the subject, and yet left it unexhausted.

14. These two divisions of the Masonic Institution which were defined in the 9th proposition, namely, the pure or primitive Freemasonry among the Jewish descendants of the patriarchs, who are called, by way of distinction, the Noachites, or descendants of Noah, because they had not forgotten nor abandoned the teachings of their great ancestor, and the spurious Freemasonry practised among the pagan nations, flowed down the stream of time in parallel currents, often near together, but never commingling.

15. But these two currents were not always to be kept apart, for, springing, in the long anterior ages, from one common fountain,—that ancient priesthood of whom I have already spoken in the 8th proposition,—and then dividing into the pure and spurious Freemasonry of antiquity, and remaining separated for centuries upon centuries, they at length met at the building of the great temple of Jerusalem, and were united, in the instance of the Israelites under King Solomon, and the Tyrians under Hiram, King of Tyre, and Hiram Abif. The spurious Freemasonry, it is true, did not then and there cease to exist. On the contrary, it lasted for centuries subsequent to this period; for it was not until long after, and in the reign of the Emperor Theodosius, that the pagan Mysteries were finally and totally abolished. But by the union of the Jewish or pure Freemasons and the Tyrian or spurious Freemasons at Jerusalem, there was a mutual infusion of their respective doctrines and ceremonies, which eventually terminated in the abolition of the two distinctive systems and the establishment of a new one, that may be considered as the immediate prototype of the present institution. Hence many Masonic students, going no farther back in their investigations than the facts announced in this 15th proposition, are content to find the origin of Freemasonry at the temple of Solomon. But if my theory be correct, the truth is, that it there received, not its birth, but only a new modification of its character. The legend of the third degree—the golden legend, the legenda aurea—of Masonry was there adopted by pure Freemasonry, which before had no such legend, from spurious Freemasonry. But the legend had existed under other names and forms, in all the Mysteries, for ages before. The doctrine of immortality, which had hitherto been taught by the Noachites simply as an abstract proposition, was thenceforth to be inculcated by a symbolic lesson—the symbol of Hiram the Builder was to become forever after the distinctive feature of Freemasonry.

16. But another important modification was effected in the Masonic system at the building of the temple. Previous to the union which then took place, the pure Freemasonry of the Noachites had always been speculative, but resembled the present organization in no other way than in the cultivation of the same abstract principles of divine truth.

17. The Tyrians, on the contrary, were architects by profession, and, as their leaders were disciples of the school of the spurious Freemasonry, they, for the first time, at the temple of Solomon, when they united with their Jewish contemporaries, infused into the speculative science, which was practised by the latter, the elements of an operative art.

18. Therefore the system continued thenceforward, for ages, to present the commingled elements of operative and speculative Masonry. We see this in the Collegia Fabrorum, or Colleges of Artificers, first established at Rome by Numa, and which were certainly of a Masonic form in their organization; in the Jewish sect of the Essenes, who wrought as well as prayed, and who are claimed to have been the descendants of the temple builders, and also, and still more prominently, in the Travelling Freemasons of the middle ages, who identify themselves by their very name with their modern successors, and whose societies were composed of learned men who thought and wrote, and of workmen who labored and built. And so for a long time Freemasonry continued to be both operative and speculative.

19. But another change was to be effected in the institution to make it precisely what it now is, and, therefore, at a very recent period (comparatively speaking), the operative feature was abandoned, and Freemasonry became wholly speculative. The exact time of this change is not left to conjecture. It took place in the reign of Queen Anne, of England, in the beginning of the eighteenth century. Preston gives us the very words of the decree which established this change, for he says that at that time it was agreed to "that the privileges of Masonry should no longer be restricted to operative Masons, but extend to men of various professions, provided they were regularly approved and initiated into the order."

The nineteen propositions here announced contain a brief but succinct view of the progress of Freemasonry from its origin in the early ages of the world, simply as a system of religious philosophy, through all the modifications to which it was submitted in the Jewish and Gentile races, until at length it was developed in its present perfected form. During all this time it preserved unchangeably certain features that may hence be considered as its specific characteristics, by which it has always been distinguished from every other contemporaneous association, however such association may have simulated it in outward form. These characteristics are, first, the doctrines which it has constantly taught, namely, that of the unity of God and that of the immortality of the soul; and, secondly, the manner in which these doctrines have been taught, namely, by symbols and allegories.

Taking these characteristics as the exponents of what Freemasonry is, we cannot help arriving at the conclusion that the speculative Masonry of the present day exhibits abundant evidence of the identity of its origin with the spurious Freemasonry of the ante-Solomonic period, both systems coming from the same pure source, but the one always preserving, and the other continually corrupting, the purity of the common fountain. This is also the necessary conclusion as a corollary from the propositions advanced in this essay.

There is also abundant evidence in the history, of which these propositions are but a meagre outline, that a manifest influence was exerted on the pure or primitive Freemasonry of the Noachites by the Tyrian branch of the spurious system, in the symbols, myths, and legends which the former received from the latter, but which it so modified and interpreted as to make them consistent with its own religious system. One thing, at least, is incapable of refutation; and that is, that we are indebted to the Tyrian Masons for the introduction of the symbol of Hiram Abif. The idea of the symbol, although modified by the Jewish Masons, is not Jewish in its inception. It was evidently borrowed from the pagan mysteries, where Bacchus, Adonis, Proserpine, and a host of other apotheosized beings play the same rôle that Hiram does in the Masonic mysteries.

And lastly, we find in the technical terms of Masonry, in its working tools, in the names of its grades, and in a large majority of its symbols, ample testimony of the strong infusion into its religious philosophy of the elements of an operative art. And history again explains this fact by referring to the connection of the institution with the Dionysiac Fraternity of Artificers, who were engaged in building the temple of Solomon, with the Workmen's Colleges of Numa, and with the Travelling Freemasons of the middle ages, who constructed all the great buildings of that period.

These nineteen propositions, which have been submitted in the present essay, constitute a brief summary or outline of a theory of the true origin of Freemasonry, which long and patient investigation has led me to adopt. To attempt to prove the truth of each of these propositions in its order by logical demonstration, or by historical evidence, would involve the writing of an elaborate treatise. They are now offered simply as suggestions on which the Masonic student may ponder. They are but intended as guide-posts, which may direct him in his journey should he undertake the pleasant although difficult task of instituting an inquiry into the origin and progress of Freemasonry from its birth to its present state of full-grown manhood.

But even in this abridged form they are absolutely necessary as preliminary to any true understanding of the symbolism of Freemasonry.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Ceremonies of Opening a Lodge of Entered Apprentice Masons

One rap calls the Lodge to order; one calls up the Junior and Senior Deacons; two raps call up the subordinate officers; and three, all the members of the Lodge.

The Master having called the Lodge to order, and the officers all seated, the Master says to the Junior Warden, "Brother Junior, are they all Entered Apprentice Masons in the South?" He answers, "They are, Worshipful." Master to the Senior Warden, "Brother Senior, are they all Entered Apprentice Masons in the West?" He answers, "They are, Worshipful." The Master then says, "They are in the East;" at the same time he gives a rap with the common gavel, or mallet, which calls up both Deacons. Master to Junior Deacon, "Attend to that part of your duty, and inform the Tyler that we are about to open a Lodge of Entered Apprentice Masons; and direct him to tyle accordingly." The Tyler then steps to the door and gives three raps, which are answered by three from without; the Junior Deacon then gives one, which is also answered by the Tyler with one; the door is then partly opened, and the Junior Deacon delivers his message and resumes his situation, and says, "The door is tyled, Worshipful" (at the same time giving the due-guard, which is never omitted when the Master is addressed). The Master to the Junior Deacon, "By whom?" He answers, "By a Master Mason without the door, armed with the proper implements of his office." Master to the Junior Deacon, "His duty there?" He answers, "To keep off all cowans and eave-droppers, see that none pass or repass without permission from the Master." [Some say without permission from the chair.] Master to Junior Deacon, "Brother Junior, your place in the Lodge?" He answers, "At the right hand of the Senior Warden in the West." Master to Junior Deacon, "Your business there, Brother Junior?" He answers, "To wait on the Worshipful Master and Wardens, act as their proxy in the active duties of the Lodge, and take charge of the door." Master to Junior Deacon, "The Senior Deacon's place in the Lodge?" He answers, "At the right hand of the Worshipful Master in the East." [The Master, while asking the last question, gives two raps, which call up all the subordinate officers.] Master to Senior Deacon, "Your duty there, Brother Senior?" He answers, "To wait on the Worshipful Master and Wardens, act as their proxy in the active duties of the Lodge, attend to the preparation and introduction of candidates—and welcome and clothe all visiting brethren." [i.e., furnish them with an apron.] Master to Senior Deacon, "The Secretary's place in the Lodge, Brother Senior?" He answers, "At the left hand of the Worshipful Master in the East." Master to the Secretary, "Your duty [Pg 4]there, Brother Secretary?" He answers, "The better to observe the Worshipful Master's will and pleasure, record the proceedings of the Lodge; transmit a copy of the same to the Grand Lodge, if required; receive all moneys and money-bills from the hands of the brethren, pay them over to the Treasurer, and take his receipt for the same." The Master to the Secretary, "The Treasurer's place in the Lodge?" He answers, "At the right hand of the Worshipful Master." Master to the Treasurer, "Your duty there, Brother Treasurer?" He answers, "Duly to observe the Worshipful Master's will and pleasure; receive all moneys and money-bills from the hands of the Secretary; keep a just and true account of the same; pay them out by order of the Worshipful Master and consent of the brethren." The Master to the Treasurer, "The Junior Warden's place in the Lodge, Brother Treasurer?" He answers, "In the South, Worshipful." Master to Junior Warden, "Your business there, Brother Junior?" He answers, "As the sun in the South at high meridian, is the beauty and glory of the day, so stands the Junior Warden in the South the better to observe the time; call the crafts from labor to refreshment; superintend them during the hours thereof; see that none convert the hours of refreshment into that of intemperance or excess; and call them on again in due season, that the Worshipful Master may have honor, and they pleasure and profit thereby." Master to the Junior Warden, "The Senior Warden's place in the Lodge?" He answers, "In the West, Worshipful." Master to the Senior Warden, "Your duty there, Brother Senior?" He answers, "As the sun sets in the West, to close the day, so stands the Senior Warden in the West, to assist the Worshipful Master in opening his Lodge; take care of the jewels and implements; see that none be lost; pay the craft their wages, if any be due; and see that none go away dissatisfied." Master to the Senior Warden, "The Master's place in the Lodge?" He answers, "In the East, Worshipful." Master to the Senior Warden, "His duty there?" He answers, "As the sun rises in the East to open and adorn the day, so presides the Worshipful Master in the East to open and adorn his Lodge; set his crafts to work with good and wholesome laws, or cause the same to be done." The Master now gives three raps, when all the brethren rise, and the Master, taking off his hat, proceeds as follows: "In like manner so do I, strictly forbidding all profane language, private committees, or any other disorderly conduct whereby the peace and harmony of this Lodge may be interrupted while engaged in its lawful pursuits, under no less penalty than the by-laws, or such penalty as a majority of the brethren present may see fit to inflict. Brethren, attend to giving the signs." [Here Lodges differ very much. In some they declare the Lodge open, as follows, before they give the sign.] The Master (all the brethren imitating him) extends his left arm from his body, so as to form an angle of about forty-five degrees, and holds his right hand traversely across his left, the palms thereof one inch apart. This is called the first sign of a Mason—is the sign of distress in this degree, and alludes to the position a candidate's hands are placed in when he takes the obligation of an Entered Apprentice Mason. The Master then draws his right hand across his throat, the hand open, with the thumb [Pg 5]next to the throat, and drops it down by his side. This is called the due-guard of an Entered Apprentice Mason (many call it the sign), and alludes to the penalty of an obligation. The Master then declares the Lodge opened in the following manner:—"I now declare the Lodge of Entered Apprentice Masons duly opened for the dispatch of business." The Senior Warden declares it to the Junior Warden, and he to the brethren. "Come, brethren, let us pray."

Prayer.—Most holy and glorious God! the great Architect of the Universe: the giver of all good gifts and graces. Thou hast promised that "Where two or three are gathered together in Thy name, Thou wilt be in the midst of them, and bless them." In Thy name we assemble, most humbly beseeching Thee to bless us in all our undertakings, that we may know and serve Thee aright, and that all our actions may tend to Thy glory, and our advancement in knowledge and virtue. And we beseech Thee, O Lord God, to bless our present assembling; and to illumine our minds through the influence of the Son of Righteousness, that we may walk in the Light of Thy countenance; and when the trials of our probationary state are over, be admitted into the temple not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. Amen. So mote it be.

Another Prayer.—Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard, that went down to the skirts of his garments; as the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountain of Zion, for there the Lord commanded the blessing, evermore. Amen. So mote it be. (This prayer is likewise used on closing the Lodge.)

The Lodge being now open and ready to proceed to business, the Master directs the Secretary to read the minutes of the last meeting, which naturally brings to view the business of the present. If there are any candidates to be brought forward, that is the first business attended to.

privacy: