Format: Global Grey free PDF, epub, Kindle ebook
Pages (PDF): 330
Publication Date: 1868
With over 70 illustrations, this is a collection of Masonic rituals, including ceremonies related to the degrees of the Entered Apprentice, Fellow-craft and Master Mason. It includes extensive treatment of funeral rituals. There is musical notation for a number of Masonic hymns. An appendix has a series of model documents for various masonic situations. While it does not disclose anything truly secret, the General Ahiman Rezon gives us an insightful peek behind the veil of 19th century Masonic pomp and circumstance.
IN all regular assemblies of men who are convened for wise and useful purposes, the commencement and conclusion of business are accompanied with some form. In every country in the world the practice prevails, and is deemed essential. From the most remote periods of antiquity, it may be traced, and the refined improvements of modern times have not totally abolished it.
Ceremonies, when simply considered, it is true, are little more than visionary delusions; but their effects are sometimes important. When they impress awe and reverence on the mind, and engage the attention by external attraction to solemn rites, they are interesting objects. These purposes are effected by judicious ceremonies, when regularly conducted and properly arranged. On this ground, they have received the sanction of the wisest men in all ages, and consequently could not escape the notice of Masons. To begin well, is the most likely means to end well; and it has been properly remarked, that when order and method are neglected at the beginning, they will be seldom found to take place at the end. The ceremonies of OPENING and CLOSING a Lodge with solemnity and decorum is, therefore, universally admitted among Masons, and which differ in each of the degrees; but differ so slightly as not to affect their general character. They must, therefore, be considered in reference to the several purposes which they are designed to accomplish.
To conduct these ceremonies with propriety, ought to be the peculiar study of every Mason, especially of those who have the honor to rule in our assemblies. To persons who are dignified, every eye is naturally directed for propriety of conduct and behavior; and from them other brethren, who are less informed, will naturally expect to derive an example worthy of imitation. From a share in these ceremonies no Mason can be exempted. This is the first request of the Master, and the prelude to all business. No sooner has it been signified that the Lodge is about to be opened, than every officer repairs to his station, and the intent of the meeting becomes the sole object of attention.
A Lodge must always be opened on the Third Degree, and in due form, for the transaction of any business, except that of initiating or passing a candidate into the mysteries of the first and second degrees. The first business after opening, if it be a regular communication, is the reading of the minutes of the preceding communication, for the information of the brethren. The minutes of the proceedings of the evening should, also, always be read before the Lodge is closed, that the brethren may know that they have been properly recorded, and then duly approved.
The Lodge should always be opened and closed with prayer.
TO BE USED AT OPENING.
MOST holy and glorious Lord 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 their midst, and bless them." In thy name we have assembled, and in thy name we desire to proceed in all our doings. Grant that the sublime principles of Freemasonry may so subdue every discordant passion within us—so harmonize and enrich our hearts with thine own love and goodness—that the Lodge at this time may humbly reflect that order and beauty which reign for ever before thy throne.—Amen.
Response by the brethren.—So mote it be.
WHICH MAY BE USED AT OPENING.
GREAT Architect of the Universe! in thy name we have assembled, and in thy name we desire to proceed in all our doings. Grant that the sublime principles of Freemasonry may so subdue every discordant passion within us—so harmonize and enrich our hearts with thine own love and goodness—that the Lodge at this time may reflect that order and beauty which reigns for ever before thy throne.—Amen.
Response.—So mote it be.
In addition to the Prayer, the following CHARGE may be given:
The ways of virtue are beautiful. Knowledge is attained by degrees. Wisdom dwells with contemplation; there we must seek her. Let us then, brethren, apply ourselves with becoming zeal to the practice of the excellent principles inculcated by our Order. Let us ever remember that the great objects of our association are, the restraint of improper desires and passions, the cultivation of an active benevolence, and the promotion of a correct knowledge of the duties we owe to God, our neighbor, and ourselves. Let us be united, and practice with assiduity the sacred tenets of our Order. Let all private animosities, if any unhappily exist, give place to affection and brotherly love. It is useless parade to talk of the subjection of irregular passions within the walls of the Lodge, if we permit them to triumph in our intercourse with each other. Uniting in the grand design, let us be happy ourselves, and endeavor to promote the happiness of others. Let us cultivate the great moral virtues which are laid down on our Masonic Trestle-board, and improve in every thing that is good, amiable, and useful. Let the benign Genius of the Mystic Art preside over our councils, and under her sway let us act with a dignity becoming the high moral character of our venerable institution.