[The first section of this degree teaches the candidate, by Symbols, many important lessons, and among other things, that Masonry is a moral institution, founded upon the morality as taught in the Bible, and that he has to take the Holy Bible as the rule and guide to his faith and practice; it being the great light in Masonry and the source whence we, as Masons, derive all our ethics.
The ceremonies as taught in this section not only serve as marks of distinction, but communicate useful and interesting knowledge, when they are thoroughly investigated and understood.]
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 wisdom, that by the influence of the pure principles of our Order he may the better be enabled to display the beauties of holiness to the honor of Thy Holy Name. Amen.
Response: So mote it be.
[The following passage of Scripture may be used during the ceremony:]
"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 for evermore."
[Since the more general introduction of music into the Lodges, the following hymn is sometimes used as a substitute for this passage of Scripture, with excellent effect:]
(Music)--"AULD LANG SYNE"
For there the Lord of light and love
A blessing sent with pow’r;
Oh! may we all this blessing prove.
E’en life for evermore; p. 23
On friendship's altar rising here,
Our hands now plighted be,
To live in love with hearts sincere,
In peace and unity.
[In the course of this section the badge of a Mason is introduced and explained.]
The Lambskin, or white leather apron, is an emblem of innocence and the badge of a Mason; more ancient than the Golden Fleece or Roman Eagle; more honorable than the Star and Garter, or any other order that could be conferred, at this, or any future period, by king, prince or potentate, or any person, except he be a Mason; and which every one ought to wear with equal pleasure to himself and honor to the Fraternity.
[This Section closes with a moral explanation of the Twenty-four Inch Gauge and Common Gavel.]
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. It being divided into twenty-four equal parts, is emblematical of the twenty-four hours of the day; which we are
taught to divide into three parts, whereby we find a portion for the service of God and a distressed worthy brother; a portion for our usual vocations, and a portion for refreshment and sleep.
Is an instrument made use of by operative Masons, to break off the rough and superfluous parts of 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 minds and consciences of all the vices and superfluities of life, thereby fitting ourselves as living stones, for that spiritual building, that house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
[This section rationally accounts for the ceremony of initiating a candidate into our ancient institution, and fully explains the first section.]
The lamb has in all ages been deemed an emblem of innocence; he, therefore, who wears the lambskin as the badge of a Mason is constantly reminded of that purity of heart and
uprightness of conduct so essentially necessary to his gaining admission into the celestial Lodge above, where the Supreme Architect of the Universe presides.
[This section sets out with the definition of a Lodge, and contains instructions relative to the form, supports, covering, furniture, ornaments, lights, jewels, situation and dedication of Lodges. We also here derive instruction as to the tenets of a Mason's profession, the manner in which our ancient brethren served their Masters, and the section closes with an explanation of the four cardinal virtues. Much of this section is monitorial, and is open and free to the perusal of any and all persons. By a perusal of our monitors the uninitiated may learn much of the workings of Masonry.]
A Lodge is said to be supported by Wisdom, Strength and Beauty; because there should be wisdom to contrive, strength to support, and beauty to adorn, all great and important undertakings.
The covering of a Lodge is no less than the clouded canopy, or starry-decked heavens, where all good Masons
hope at last to arrive, by the aid of the theological ladder, which Jacob, in his vision, saw extending from earth to heaven; the three principal rounds of which are denominated Faith, Hope and Charity; teaching Faith in God, Hope in immortality, and Charity to all mankind.
Of these, Charity is the greatest; for Faith may be lost in sight; Elope end in fruition; but Charity extends beyond the grave, through the bound-less realms of eternity.
is the Holy Bible, Square and Compasses.
The Bible is dedicated to the service of God, it being the inestimable gift of God to man; * * * * * the Square to the Master, it being the proper Masonic emblem of his office; and the Compasses to the Craft, because, by a due attention to their use, they are taught to circumscribe their desires and keep their passions within due bounds towards all mankind, more especially, a Brother Mason.
Are the Mosaic Pavement, the Indented Tessel, and the Blazing Star.
The Mosaic Pavement is a representation of the ground-floor of King Solomon's Temple, and is emblematical of human life, checquered with good and evil. The Blazing Star represents the Sun, which enlightens the earth, and by its benign influence dispenses its blessings to all mankind. The Indented, or Tesselated border, refers to the Planets which, in their revolution, form a beautiful border around that grand luminary, and are emblematical of the blessings and comforts which surround us.
There are three lights belonging to the Lodge, situated in the East, West and South; but there is none in the North.
There are six Jewels belonging to a Lodge, three immovable and three movable. The immovable Jewels are the Square, Level and Plumb; these are said to be immovable, because they have fixed stations in a Lodge.
The movable Jewels are the Rough Ashlar, Perfect Ashlar, and the Trestle-Board.
The Rough Ashlar is a stone as taken from the quarry, in its rude
and natural state. The Perfect Ashlar is a stone made ready by the hands of the Apprentice, to be adjusted by the working-tools of the Fellow-Craft. The Trestle-Board is for the Master to draw his designs upon.
[By the Rough Ashlar we are reminded of our rude and imperfect state by nature; by the Perfect Ashlar, of that state of perfection at which we hope to arrive by a virtuous education, our own endeavors, and the blessing of God; and by the Trestle-Board, we are also reminded that, as the operative workman erects his temporal building agreeably to the rules and designs laid down by the Master on his Trestle-Board, so should we, as Speculative Masons, endeavor to erect our spiritual building agreeably to the rules and designs laid down by the Supreme Architect of the Universe, in the great volume of nature and revelations, which is our moral and Masonic Trestle-Board.]
Lodges were anciently dedicated to King Solomon, who was our first Most Excellent Grand Master; but Masons
professing Christianity dedicate theirs to St. John the Baptist, and St. John the Evangelist, who were two eminent patrons of Masonry; [and since their time, there is represented in every regular and well-governed Lodge, a certain Point within a Circle (the Point represents an individual brother, the Circle the boundary-line of his duty), embordered by two perpendicular parallel lines, representing St. John the Baptist, and St. John the Evangelist; upon the top rest the Holy Scriptures.
In passing around this circle, we necessarily touch upon these two lines, as well as the Holy Scriptures; and while a Mason keeps his desires circumscribed within their precepts, it is impossible that he can materially err.]
The principal tenets of our profession are three: Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth, and are thus explained:
1. By the exercise of Brotherly Love, we are taught to regard the whole human species as one family--the high and low, the rich and poor; who, as created by one Almighty Parent,
and inhabitants of the same planet, are to aid, support, and protect each other. On this principle, Masonry unites men of every country, sect and opinion, and conciliates true friendship among those who might, otherwise, have remained at a perpetual distance.
2. To relieve the distressed is a duty incumbent upon all men; but particularly on Masons, who are linked together by an indissoluble chain of sincere affection. To soothe the unhappy, to sympathize with their misfortunes, to compassionate their miseries, and to restore peace to their troubled minds, is the grand aim we have in view. On this basis we form our friendships and establish our connections.
3. 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.
Our Ancient Brethren served their Masters with
Temperance, Fortitude, Prudence and Justice, are * * * * * in this manner:
Temperance is that due restraint upon our affections and passions which renders the body tame and governable, and frees the mind from the allurements of vice. This virtue should be the constant practice of every Mason, as he is thereby taught to avoid excess, or the contracting of any vicious habit, which might lead him to betray his trust, and subject him to the contempt of all good Masons.
Fortitude is that noble and steady purpose of the mind, whereby we are enabled to undergo any pain, peril or danger, when prudentially deemed expedient. This virtue should be deeply impressed on the mind of every Mason,
as a safeguard against any attack that may be made to extort from him any of those valuable secrets with which he has been so solemnly entrusted upon his first admission into the Lodge.
Prudence teaches us to regulate our lives and actions agreeably to the dictate of reason, and is that habit by which we wisely judge, and prudently determine, on all things relative to our present, as well as our future happiness. This virtue, particularly attended to, in all strange and mixed companies, will prevent us from letting fall the least sign, token or word, whereby the secrets of Masonry might be unlawfully obtained.
Justice is that standard, or boundary of right, which enables us to render to every man his just due, without distinction. This virtue, in a great measure, constitutes the real good man; and it should be the invariable practice of every Mason, never to deviate from the minutest principles thereof.
This closes the Third Section, and finishes the degree, with the exception of the charge, which is as follows:
My Brother:--Having passed through the ceremonies of your initiation, I congratulate you on your admission into this ancient and honorable Order; ancient, as having existed from time immemorial; honorable, as tending to make all men so, who are strictly obedient to its teachings and precepts. It is an institution having for its foundation the practice of the social and moral virtues, and to so high an eminence has its credit been advanced that, in every age and country, men pre-eminent for their moral and intellectual attainments have encouraged and promoted its interests. Nor has it been thought derogatory to their dignity that monarchs have, for a season, exchanged the scepter for the trowel, to patronize our mysteries, and join in our assemblies.
As a Mason, you are to regard the Holy Scriptures as the great light in your profession; they are the unerring standard of truth and justice; and you are to regulate your life and
actions by the divine precepts therein contained. No institution was ever raised on better principles, or a more solid foundation than that of ours, which takes the Holy Bible as its corner-stone; nor were ever more excellent rules or useful maxims laid down, than are inculcated in the several Masonic Lectures, which you will learn at your leisure, by conversing with well-informed Brethren, who will be always as ready to give as you will to receive instruction.
There are three great duties which, as a Mason, you are charged to inculcate--to God, your neighbor, and yourself. To God, in never mentioning His name, but with that reverential awe, which is due from a creature to his Creator; to implore His aid in all your laudable undertakings, and to esteem Him as the chief good. To your neighbor, in acting upon the square, doing unto him as you wish he should do unto you; and to yourself, in avoiding all irregularity and intemperance, which may impair your faculties, or debase the dignity of your profession.
[paragraph continues] A zealous attachment to these duties will insure public and private esteem.
As a citizen, you are to be a quiet and peaceable subject, true to your government, and just to your country; you are not to countenance disloyalty or rebellion, but patiently submit to legal authority, and conform with cheerfulness to the government of the country in which you live.
Your prompt attendance at our meetings, when at labor in the Entered Apprentice Degree, 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.
Finally, be faithful to the trust committed to your care, and manifest your fidelity to our principles, by a strict observance of the Constitutions and Ancient Landmarks of our Order; and by refraining to recommend any person to a participation in our privileges,
unless you are satisfied, and have strong reasons to believe that, by a similar fidelity, he will ultimately reflect honor and credit on our ancient and honorable institution.