General Ahiman Rezon, by Daniel Sickels, , at sacred-texts.com
p. 50 p. 51
THE first, or Entered Apprentice degree of Masonry, is intended, symbolically, to represent the entrance of man into the world, in which he is afterwards to become a living and thinking actor. Coming from the ignorance and darkness of the outer world, his first craving is for light—not that physical light which springs from the great orb of day as its fountain, but that moral and intellectual light which emanates from the primal Source of all things—from the Grand Architect of the Universe—the Creator of the sun and of alt that it illuminates. Hence the great, the primary object of the first degree, is to symbolize that birth of intellectual light into the mind; and the Entered Apprentice is the type of unregenerate man, groping in moral and mental darkness, and seeking for the light which is to guide his steps and point him to the path which leads to duty and to Him who gives to duty its reward.
THE first step taken by a candidate, on entering a Lodge of Freemasons, teaches him the pernicious tendency of infidelity, and shows him that the foundation on which Masonry rests is the belief and acknowledgment of a Supreme Being; that in Him alone a sure confidence can be safely placed, to protect his steps in all the dangers and difficulties he may
be called to encounter in his progress through life; it assures him that, if his faith be well founded in that Being, he may confidently pursue his course without fear and without danger.
Every candidate, previous to his reception, is required to give his free and full assent to the following interrogatories, in a room adjacent to the Lodge:
1. Do you seriously declare, upon your honor, that, unbiased by the improper solicitation of friends, and uninfluenced by mercenary motives, you freely and voluntarily offer yourself a can-date for the mysteries of Freemasonry?
2. Do you seriously declare, upon your honor, that you are prompted to solicit the privileges of Freemasonry by a favorable opinion conceived of the institution, a desire of knowledge, and a sincere wish of being serviceable to your fellow-creatures?
3. Do you seriously declare, upon your honor, that you will cheerfully conform to all the ancient usages and established customs of the Fraternity?
MASONRY was originally an operative society, and in that form those who worked as ENTERED APPRENTICES were styled the first class; but in Speculative or Freemasonry, the degree of which we are now treating is regarded as the first of the Order. Its reception places the novitiate in possession of
the Masonic alphabet, and discloses to him the fundamental principles of this time-honored institution. This section is sub-divided under three heads, viz:
2d. ITS MORAL; and
3d. ITS NECESSITY and CONSISTENCY.
A full and perfect knowledge of this section is indispensably necessary to every Mason who would be serviceable to the institution, and would avail himself of its privileges and its enjoyments.
THE ENTRANCE.—The preparations to which the candidate must submit, before entering the Lodge, serve allegorically to teach him, as well as to remind the brethren who are present, that it is the man alone, divested of all the outward recommendations of rank, state, or of riches, which Masonry accepts, and that it is his spiritual, or moral worth alone, which can open for him the door of the temple.
As Masons, we are taught never to commence any great or important undertaking, without first invoking the blessing of Deity.
The trust of a Mason is in God, as a basis which can never fail, and a rock which can never be shaken. Nor is it a mere empty profession; for it is borne out and illustrated by our practice. We open and close our Lodges with prayer; the same formula is used at the initiation of candidates; and no business of any importance is conducted without invoking the Divine assistance on our labors; and the blessing of God cannot be expected to follow any man's profession, unless it be verified by a good and virtuous life.