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.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Shall Christians Join Secret Societies?

"With charity for all and with malice toward none," we bring this question to all those who would serve Christ. We mean by "secret societies" not literary, scientific, or college associations, which merely use privacy as a screen against intrusion, but those affiliated and centralized "orders" spreading over the land, professing mysteries, practicing secret rites, binding by oaths, admitting by signs and pass-words, solemnly pledging their members to mutual protection, and commonly constructed in "degrees," each higher one imposing fresh fees, oaths, and obligations, and swearing the initiated to secrecy even from lower "degrees" in the same Order.

Shall Christians join societies of this kind?
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Thursday, September 21, 2006

THE second or fellow craft MASON'S DEGREE

This degree is usually called "passing." The ceremonies of opening and closing the Lodge are precisely the same as in the first degree; except two knocks are used in this degree, and the door is entered by the benefit of a pass-word. It is Shibboleth, and explained in the Lecture. The candidate, as before, is taken into the preparation room and prepared in the manner following: All his clothing taken off, except his shirt; furnished with a pair of drawers; his right breast bare; his left foot in a slipper; the right bare; a cable-tow twice 'round his neck; semi-hoodwinked; in which situation he is conducted to the door of the Lodge, where he gives two knocks, when the Senior Warden rises and says, "Worshipful, while we are peaceably at work on the second degree of Masonry, under the influence of faith, hope, and charity, the door of our Lodge is alarmed." Master to Junior Deacon, "Brother Junior, inquire the cause of that alarm." [In many Lodges they come to the door, knock, are answered by the Junior Deacon, and come in without being noticed by the Senior Warden or Master. The Junior Deacon gives two raps on the inside of the door. The candidate gives one without. It is answered by the Junior Deacon with one; when the door is partly opened by the Junior Deacon, who inquires, "Who comes here? Who comes here?" The Senior Deacon, who is, or ought to be, the conductor, answers, "A worthy brother, who has been regularly initiated as an Entered Apprentice Mason, served a proper time as such, and now wishes for further light in Masonry, by being passed to the degree of Fellow Craft." Junior Deacon to Senior Deacon, "Is it of his own free will and accord he makes this request?" Senior Deacon replies, "It is." Junior Deacon to Senior Deacon, "Is he duly and truly prepared?" Ans. "He is." Junior Deacon to Senior Deacon, "Is he worthy and well qualified?" Ans. "He is." Junior Deacon to Senior Deacon, "Has he made suitable proficiency in the preceding degree?" Ans. "He has." Junior Deacon to Senior Deacon, "By what further rights does he expect to obtain this benefit?" Ans. "By the benefit of a pass-word." Junior Deacon to Senior Deacon, "Has he a pass-word?" Ans. "He has not, but I have it for him." Junior Deacon to Senior Deacon, "Give it to me." The Senior Deacon whispers in the Junior Deacon's ear, "Shibboleth." The Junior Deacon says, "The pass is right; since this is the case, you will wait until the Worshipful Master in the East is made acquainted with his request, and his answer returned." The Junior Deacon then repairs to the Master and gives two knocks, as at the door, which are answered by two by the Master; when the same questions are asked, and answers returned, as at the door. After which, the Master says, "Since he comes endued with all these necessary qualifications, let him enter this Worshipful Lodge in the name of the Lord, and take heed on what he enters." He enters; the angle of the Square is pressed hard against his naked right breast, at which time the Junior Deacon says, "Brother, when you entered this Lodge the first time, you entered on the point of the Compass pressing your naked left breast, which was then explained to you. You now enter it on the angle of the Square, pressing your naked right breast; which is to teach you to act upon the square with all mankind, but more especially with the brethren." The candidate is then conducted twice regularly 'round the Lodge and halted at the Junior Warden in the South, where he gives two raps, and is answered by two, when the same questions are asked, and answers returned as at the door; from thence he is conducted to the Senior Warden, where the same questions are asked, and answers returned as before; he is then conducted to the 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 was traveling; he answers, "From the West, and traveling to the East." The Master says, "Why do you leave the West, and travel to the East?" The candidate answers, "In search of more light." The Master then says to the Senior Deacon, "Since this is the case, you will please conduct the candidate 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 two upright regular steps to the second step (his heel is in the hollow of the right foot in this degree), his feet forming the right angle of an oblong square, and his body erect at the altar before the Worshipful Master, and place him in a proper position to take the solemn oath or obligation of a Fellow Craft Mason." The Master then leaves his seat and approaches the kneeling candidate (the candidate kneels on the right knee, the left forming a square; his left arm, as far as the elbow, in a horizontal position, and the rest of the arm in a vertical position, so as to form a square; his arm supported by the Square held under his elbow), and says, "Brother, you are now placed in a proper position to take on you the solemn oath or obligation of a Fellow Craft Mason, which, I assure you, as before, 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 the presence of Almighty God, and this Worshipful Lodge of Fellow Craft 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, in addition to my former obligation, that I will not give the degree of a Fellow Craft Mason to any one of an inferior degree, nor to any one being in the known world, except it be to a true and lawful brother, or brethren Fellow Craft Masons, 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 him and them only whom I shall find so to be, after strict trial and due examination, or lawful information. Furthermore, do I promise and swear, that I will not wrong this Lodge, nor a brother of this degree, to the value of two cents, knowingly, myself, nor suffer it to be done by others, if in my power to prevent it. Furthermore, do I promise and swear, that I will support the Constitution of the Grand Lodge of the United States, and of the Grand Lodge of this State, under which this Lodge is held, and conform to all the by-laws, rules, and regulations of this, or any other Lodge, of which I may at any time hereafter become a member, as far as in my power. Furthermore, do I promise and swear, that I will obey all regular signs and summons given, handed, sent, or thrown to me by the hand of a brother Fellow Craft Mason, or from the body of a just and lawfully constituted Lodge of such; provided it be within the length of my cable-tow, or a square and angle of my work. Furthermore, do I promise and swear, that I will be aiding and assisting all poor and penniless brethren Fellow Crafts, their widows and orphans, wheresoever disposed 'round the globe, they applying to me as such, as far as in my power, without injuring myself or family. To all which I do most solemnly and sincerely promise and swear, without the least hesitation, mental reservation, or self-evasion of mind in me whatever; binding myself under no less penalty than to have my left breast torn open, and my heart and vitals taken from thence and thrown over my left shoulder, and carried into the valley of Jehosaphat, there to become a prey to the wild beasts of the fields, and vultures of the air, if ever I should prove wilfully guilty of violating any part of this my solemn oath or obligation of a Fellow Craft Mason; so keep me God, and keep me steadfast in the due performance of the same."
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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The Ancient Mysteries

I now propose, for the purpose of illustrating these views, and of familiarizing the reader with the coincidences between Freemasonry and the ancient Mysteries, so that he may be better enabled to appreciate the mutual influences of each on the other as they are hereafter to be developed, to present a more detailed relation of one or more of these ancient systems of initiation.

As the first illustration, let us select the Mysteries of Osiris, as they were practised in Egypt, the birthplace of all that is wonderful in the arts or sciences, or mysterious in the religion, of the ancient world.

It was on the Lake of Sais that the solemn ceremonies of the Osirian initiation were performed. "On this lake," says Herodotus, "it is that the Egyptians represent by night his sufferings whose name I refrain from mentioning; and this representation they call their Mysteries."

Osiris, the husband of Isis, was an ancient king of the Egyptians. Having been slain by Typhon, his body was cut into pieces by his murderer, and the mangled remains cast upon the waters of the Nile, to be dispersed to the four winds of heaven. His wife, Isis, mourning for the death and the mutilation of her husband, for many days searched diligently with her companions for the portions of the body, and having at length found them, united them together, and bestowed upon them decent interment,—while Osiris, thus restored, became the chief deity of his subjects, and his worship was united with that of Isis, as the fecundating and fertilizing powers of nature. The candidate in these initiations was made to pass through a mimic repetition of the conflict and destruction of Osiris, and his eventual recovery; and the explanations made to him, after he had received the full share of light to which the painful and solemn ceremonies through which he had passed had entitled him, constituted the secret doctrine of which I have already spoken, as the object of all the Mysteries. Osiris,—a real and personal god to the people,—to be worshipped with fear and with trembling, and to be propitiated with sacrifices and burnt offerings, became to the initiate but a symbol of the

"Great first cause, least understood,"

while his death, and the wailing of Isis, with the recovery of the body, his translation to the rank of a celestial being, and the consequent rejoicing of his spouse, were but a tropical mode of teaching that after death comes life eternal, and that though the body be destroyed, the soul shall still live.

"Can we doubt," says the Baron Sainte Croix, "that such ceremonies as those practised in the Mysteries of Osiris had been originally instituted to impress more profoundly on the mind the dogma of future rewards and punishments?"

"The sufferings and death of Osiris," says Mr. Wilkinson "were the great Mystery of the Egyptian religion; and some traces of it are perceptible among other people of antiquity. His being the divine goodness and the abstract idea of 'good,' his manifestation upon earth (like an Indian god), his death and resurrection, and his office as judge of the dead in a future state, look like the early revelation of a future manifestation of the deity converted into a mythological fable."

A similar legend and similar ceremonies, varied only as to time, and place, and unimportant details, were to be found in all the initiations of the ancient Mysteries. The dogma was the same,—future life,—and the method of inculcating it was the same. The coincidences between the design of these rites and that of Freemasonry, which must already begin to appear, will enable us to give its full value to the expression of Hutchinson, when he says that "the Master Mason represents a man under the Christian doctrine saved from the grave of iniquity and raised to the faith of salvation."

In Phoenicia similar Mysteries were celebrated in honor of Adonis, the favorite lover of Venus, who, having, while hunting, been slain by a wild boar on Mount Lebanon, was restored to life by Proserpine. The mythological story is familiar to every classical scholar. In the popular theology, Adonis was the son of Cinyras, king of Cyrus, whose untimely death was wept by Venus and her attendant nymphs: in the physical theology of the philosophers, he was a symbol of the sun, alternately present to and absent from the earth; but in the initiation into the Mysteries of his worship, his resurrection and return from Hades were adopted as a type of the immortality of the soul. The ceremonies of initiation in the Adonia began with lamentation for his loss,—or, as the prophet Ezekiel expresses it, "Behold, there sat women weeping for Thammuz,"—for such was the name under which his worship was introduced among the Jews; and they ended with the most extravagant demonstrations of joy at the representation of his return to life, while the hierophant exclaimed, in a congratulatory strain,—

"Trust, ye initiates; the god is safe,
And from our grief salvation shall arise."

Before proceeding to an examination of those Mysteries which are the most closely connected with the masonic institution, it will be as well to take a brief view of their general organization.

The secret worship, or Mysteries, of the ancients were always divided into the lesser and the greater; the former being intended only to awaken curiosity, to test the capacity and disposition of the candidate, and by symbolical purifications to prepare him for his introduction into the greater Mysteries.

The candidate was at first called an aspirant, or seeker of the truth, and the initial ceremony which he underwent was a lustration or purification by water. In this condition he may be compared to the Entered Apprentice of the masonic rites, and it is here worth adverting to the fact (which will be hereafter more fully developed) that all the ceremonies in the first degree of masonry are symbolic of an internal purification.

In the lesser Mysteries the candidate took an oath of secrecy, which was administered to him by the mystagogue, and then received a preparatory instruction, which enabled him afterwards to understand the developments of the higher and subsequent division. He was now called a Mystes, or initiate, and may be compared to the Fellow Craft of Freemasonry.

In the greater Mysteries the whole knowledge of the divine truths, which was the object of initiation, was communicated. Here we find, among the various ceremonies which assimilated these rites to Freemasonry, the aphanism, which was the disappearance or death; the pastos, the couch, coffin, or grave; the euresis, or the discovery of the body; and the autopsy, or full sight of everything, that is, the complete communication of the secrets. The candidate was here called an epopt, or eye-witness, because nothing was now hidden from him; and hence he may be compared to the Master Mason, of whom Hutchinson says that "he has discovered the knowledge of God and his salvation, and been redeemed from the death of sin and the sepulchre of pollution and unrighteousness."

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Freemasonry - Ceremony of Closing a Lodge of Entered Apprentices

A brother having made a motion that the Lodge be closed, it being seconded and carried, the Master says to the Junior Deacon, "Brother Junior [giving one rap, which calls up both Deacons], the first as well as the last care of a Mason?" The Junior Deacon answers, "To see the Lodge tyled, Worshipful." Master to the Junior Deacon, "Attend to that part of your duty, and inform the Tyler that we are about to close this Lodge of Entered Apprentice Masons, and direct him to tyle accordingly." The Junior Deacon steps to the door and gives three raps, which are answered by the Tyler with three more; the Junior Deacon then gives one, which is also answered by the Tyler by one. The Junior Deacon then opens the door, delivers his message, and resumes his place in the Lodge, and says, "The door is tyled, Worshipful." Master to Junior Deacon, "By whom?" Ans. "By a Master Mason without the door, armed with the proper implements of his office." Master to Junior Deacon, "His business there?" Ans. "To keep off all cowans and eavesdroppers, and see that none pass or repass without permission from the chair." Master to Junior Deacon, "Your duty there?" Ans. "To wait on the Worshipful Master and Wardens, act as their proxy in the active duties of the Lodge, and take care of the door." Master to Junior Deacon, "The Senior Deacon's place in the Lodge?" Ans. "At the right hand of the Worshipful Master in the East." Master to Senior Deacon, "Your duty there, Brother Senior?" Ans. "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; receive and clothe all visiting brethren." Master to the Senior Deacon, "The Secretary's place in the Lodge?" Ans. "At your left hand, Worshipful." Master to Secretary, "Your duty there, Brother Secretary?" The Secretary replies, "Duly to observe the 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." Master to the Secretary, "The Treasurer's place in the Lodge?" Ans. "At the right hand of the Worshipful Master." Master to Treasurer, "Your business there, Brother Treasurer?" Treasurer 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 accurate account of the same; pay them out by order of the Worshipful Master and consent of the brethren." Master to the Treasurer, "The Junior Warden's place in the Lodge?" Ans. "In the South, Worshipful." Master to the Junior Warden, "Your business there, Brother Junior?" The Junior Warden says, "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 at high twelve, the better to observe the time, call the crafts from labor to refreshment; superintend them during the hours thereof; see that none convert the purposes of refreshment into that of excess or intemperance; call them on again in due season; that the Worshipful Master may have honor, and they pleasure and profit thereby." The Master to the Junior Warden, "The Master's place in the Lodge?" Ans. "In the East, Worshipful." Master to Junior Warden, "His duty there?" Ans. "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." Master to the Junior Warden, "The Senior Warden's place in the Lodge?" Ans. "In the West, Worshipful." Master to the Senior Warden, "Your business there, Brother Senior?" The Senior Warden replies, "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 and closing the 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." The Master now gives three raps, when all the brethren rise, and the Master asks, "Are you all satisfied?" They answer in the affirmative by giving the due-guard. Should the Master discover that any declined giving it, inquiry is immediately made why it is so; and if any member is dissatisfied with any part of the proceedings, or with any brother, the subject is immediately investigated. Master to the brethren, "Attend to giving the signs; as I do, so do you give them downwards;" [which is by giving the last in opening, first in closing. In closing, on this degree, you first draw your right hand across your throat, as hereinbefore described, and then hold your two hands over each other as before described. This is the method pursued through all the degrees; and when opening on any of the upper degrees, all the signs of all the preceding degrees are given before you give the signs of the degree on which you are opening.] This being done, the Master proceeds, "I now declare this Lodge of Entered Apprentice Masons regularly closed in due and ancient form. Brother Junior Warden, please inform Brother Senior Warden, and request him to inform the brethren that it is my will and pleasure that this Lodge of Entered Apprentice Masons be now closed, and stand closed until our next regular communication, unless a case or cases of emergency shall require earlier convention, of which every member shall be notified; during which time it is seriously hoped and expected that every brother will demean himself as becomes a Free and Accepted Mason." Junior Warden to Senior Warden, "Brother Senior, it is the Worshipful Master's will and pleasure that this Lodge of Entered Apprentice Masons be closed, and stand closed until our next regular communication, unless a case or cases of emergency shall require earlier convention, of which every brother shall be notified; during which time it is seriously hoped and expected that every brother will demean himself as becomes a Free and Accepted Mason." Senior Warden to the brethren, "Brethren, you have heard the Worshipful Master's will and pleasure as communicated to me by Brother Junior; so let it be done." Master to the Junior Warden, "Brother Junior, how do Mason's meet?" Ans. "On the level." Master to Senior Warden, "How do Masons part?" Ans. "On the square." Master to the Junior and Senior Wardens, "Since we meet on the level, Brother Junior, and part on the square, Brother Senior, so let us ever meet and part in the name of the Lord." Master to the brethren, "Brethren, let us pray."

"Supreme Architect of the Universe! Accept our humble praises for the many mercies and blessings which Thy bounty has conferred upon us, and especially for this friendly and social intercourse. Pardon, we beseech Thee, whatever Thou hast seen amiss in us since we have been together; and continue to us Thy presence, protection and blessing. Make us sensible of the renewed obligations we are under to love Thee supremely, and to be friendly to each other. May all our irregular passions be subdued, and may we daily increase in faith, hope, and charity; but more especially in that charity which is the bond of peace, and perfection of every virtue. May we so practice Thy precepts, that through the merits of the Redeemer we may finally obtain Thy promises, and find an acceptance through the gates and into the temple and city of our God. So mote it be. Amen."

It is often that the prayer is neglected and the following benediction substituted: May the blessing of heaven rest upon us, and all regular Masons! May brotherly love prevail, and every moral and social virtue cement us. So mote it be. Amen.

After the prayer the following charge ought to be delivered, but it is seldom attended to; in a majority of Lodges it is never attended to; Master to brethren, "Brethren, we are now about to quit this sacred retreat of friendship and virtue to mix again with the world. Amidst its concerns and employments, forget not the duties which you have heard so frequently inculcated, and so forcibly recommended in this Lodge. Remember that around this altar you have promised to befriend and relieve every brother who shall need your assistance. You have promised in the most friendly manner to remind him of his errors and aid a reformation. These generous principles are to extend further; every human being has a claim upon your kind offices. Do good unto all. Recommend it more 'especially to the household of the faithful.' Finally, brethren, be ye all of one mind, live in peace, and may the God of love and peace delight to dwell with and bless you."

In some Lodges, after the charge is delivered, the Master says, "Brethren, form on the square." Then all the brethren form a circle, and the Master, followed by every brother [except in using the words], says, "And God said, Let there be light, and there was light." At the same moment that the last of these words drops from the Master's lips, every member stamps with his right foot on the floor, and at the same instant brings his hands together with equal force, and in such perfect unison with each other, that persons situated so as to hear it would suppose it the precursor of some dreadful catastrophe. This is called "THE SHOCK." The members of the Lodge then separate.

The above comprises all the secret forms and ceremonies in a Lodge of Entered Apprentice Masons; but if the candidate would thoroughly understand the whole, he must commit to memory the following "Lecture." Very few do this except the officers of the Lodge. The "Lecture" is nothing more nor less than a recapitulation of the preceding ceremonies and forms by way of question and answer, in order fully to explain the same. In fact, the ceremonies and forms (masonically called the WORK) and Lecture are so much the same that he who possesses a knowledge of the Lecture cannot be destitute of a knowledge of what the ceremonies and forms are. The ceremonies used in opening and closing are the same in all the degrees.