BRETHREN, Masonry; according to the general acceptation of the term, is an Art founded on the principles of Geometry, and directed to the service and convenience of mankind. But Freemasonry embracing a wider range, and having a more noble object in view, namely, the cultivation and improvement of the human mind, may, with more propriety, be called a Science, although its lessons for the most part are veiled in Allegory and illustrated by Symbols, inasmuch as, veiling itself under the terms of the former, it inculcates principles of the purest morality.
To draw aside this veil therefore, or, more properly speaking, to penetrate through its mysteries, is the object of our Masonic Lectures, and by a faithful and appropriate attention to them we hope ultimately to become acquainted with all its mysteries. The Lecture of this Degree is divided into seven Sections, and throughout the whole, virtue is depicted in its most beautiful colours, the duties of morality are everywhere strictly enforced.
The nature, character, the attributes and perfections of the Deity are faithfully delineated and forcibly portrayed, and are well calculated to influence our conduct towards Him, as our Father, Benefactor, and Moral Governor, as also in the proper discharge of the duties of social life.
The mode of Masonic instruction is the catechetical, or, in more familiar terms, by question and answer; therefore, from a previous conviction that you are a Mason, permit me to ask you in that character:
Q - As Free and Accepted Masons, how did you and I first meet?
A - On the Square.
Q - How do we hope to part?
A - On the Level
Q - Why meet and part in that particular manner?
A -As Masons we should so act on the Square, as to enable us to part on the Level with all mankind, particularly a Brother
Q -As a Mason whence come you?
A -The West.
Q- Whither directing your course?
A- The East.
Q -What inducement have you to leave the West, and go to the East?
A- To seek a Master, and from him to gain instruction.
Q- Who are you that want instruction?
A- A Free and Accepted Mason.
Q- What manner of man ought a Free and Accepted Mason to be?
A- A free man, born of a free woman, brother to a King, fellow to a Prince or to a beggar, if a Mason, and found worthy.
Q- Why freeborn?
A- In allusion to that grand festival which Abraham made at the weaning of his son Isaac, when Sarah, Abraham's wife, observing Ishmael, the son of Hagar the Egyptian bondwoman, teasing and perplexing her son, remonstrated with her husband, and said: Put away that bondwoman and her son, for such as he shall not inherit with the freeborn, even with my son Isaac. She spake as being endued with a prophetic spirit, well knowing that from Isaac's loins would spring a great and mighty people, who would serve the Lord with freedom, fervency, and zeal; and fearing that if the two youths were brought up together, Isaac might imbibe some of Ishmael's slavish principles; it being a general remark in those days, as well as the present, that the minds of slaves are more vitiated and less enlightened than those of the freeborn. This is the reason we, as Freemasons, give why every Mason ought to be freeborn; but in the present day, slavery being generally abolished, it has therefore been considered under our Constitution, that if a man be free, although he may not have been freeborn, he is eligible to be made a Mason.
Q- Why those equalities among Masons?
A- We are all created equal, which is strengthened by our Mason Oath.
Q- Generally speaking, as a Mason whence come you?
A- From a worthy and worshipful Lodge of Brothers and Fellows
A -To greet your worship well.
Q.- Any other recommendation?
A- Hearty good wishes.
Q- Since you bring nothing but hearty good wishes, what do you come here to do?
A- To learn to rule and subdue my passions, and make a further progress in Masonry.
Q- By this I presume you are a Mason?
A- I am so taken and accepted among Brothers and Fellows.
Q- How do you know yourself to be a Mason?
A- By the regularity of my initiation, repeated trials and approbations, and a willingness at all times to undergo an examination when properly called on.
Q- How do you demonstrate the proof of your being a Mason to others?
A- By Signs, Tokens, and the Perfect Points of my entrance.
Q - What are Signs?
A- All Squares, Levels, and Perpendiculars are true and proper signs to know a Mason by.
Q -What are Tokens?
A- Certain regular and friendly Grips, whereby we know a Brother in the dark as well as in the light.
Q - Will you give me the Points of your Entrance?.
A- Give me the first, I will give you the second.
Q - What do you wish to Collect.?
A- All Secrets and Mysteries of or belonging to Free and Accepted Masons in Masonry.
Q- This being open Lodge, you may safely reveal.
A- Of, At, and On.
Q- Of, At, and On what?
A- Of my own free will and accord; at the Door of the Lodge; on the Point of a Square presented to my naked left breast.
Q- When were you made a Mason?
A- When the sun was at its meridian.
Q- In this country Freemasons' Lodges are usually held in the evening: how do you account for that, which at first view appears a paradox?
A- The earth constantly revolving on its axis in its orbit round the sun, and Freemasonry being universally spread over its surface, it necessarily follows that the sun must always be at its meridian with respect to Freemasonry.
Q- What is Freemasonry?
A- A peculiar system of morality, veiled in allegory, and illustrated by symbols.
Q.- Where were you made a Mason?
A- In the body of a Lodge, just, perfect, and regular.
Q- What is a Lodge of Freemasons?
A- An assemblage of Brethren, met to expatiate on the mysteries of the Craft.
Q- When met, what makes it just?
A- The Volume of the Sacred Law unfolded.
Q- What perfect?
A - Seven, or more, regularly made Masons.
Q - And what regular?
A -The charter or warrant of constitution.
Q- Why were you made a Mason?
A -For the sake of obtaining the Secrets of Masonry, and to be brought from darkness.
Q- Have Masons Secrets?
A - They have many invaluable ones.
Q -Where do they keep them?
A- In their Hearts.
Q- To whom do they reveal them?
A- None but Brothers and Freemasons
Q.- How do they reveal them?
A- By Signs, Tokens, and particular Words.
Q - As Masons, how do we hope to get at them?
A- By the help of a key.
Q.- Does that key hang or lie?
A- It hangs.
Q- Why is the preference given to hanging?
A- It should always hang in a Brother's defense, and never lie to his prejudice.
Q- What does it hang by?
A- The thread of life, in the passage of utterance.
Q- Why is it so nearly connected with the heart?
A- Being an index of the mind, it should utter nothing but what the heart truly dictates
Q.- It is a curious key, of what metal is it composed?
A- No metal, it is the tongue of good report
Brethren, this ends the first section of the first lecture:
That excellent key, a Freemason's. tongue, which should speak well of a Brother absent or present, but when unfortunately that cannot be done with honour and propriety, should adopt that excellent virtue of the Craft, which is Silence.
To order, Brethren
Q- Where were you first prepared to be made a Mason?
A- In my Heart.
Q- Where next?
A- In a convenient room adjoining the L.
Q- Who brought you to be made a Mason?
A- A friend, whom I afterwards found to be a Brother.
Q- Describe the mode of your preparation.
A- I was divested of metals and hoodwinked my right arm, left breast, and knee. were made bare, my right heel was slipshod, and a. cabletow placed about my neck.
Q- Why were you divested of m.?
A - That I might bring nothing offensive or defensive into the Lodge to disturb its harmony.
Q- A second reason?
A- As I was received into Masonry in a state of poverty, it was to remind me to relieve indigent brethren, knowing them to be worthy, without detriment to myself or connections.
Q- A third reason?
A- At the building of King Solomon's Temple, there was not heard the sound of metallic tool.
Q- How could the building of so stately an edifice as King Solomon's Temple have been carried on and completed without the aid of metal tools?
A- The stones were hewn in the quarry, there squared, carved, marked, and numbered. The timber was felled and prepared in the forest of Lebanon, carved, marked, and numbered also; they were then floated to Joppa, thence conveyed on carriages to Jerusalem, and there set up with wooden mauls and implements prepared for that purpose.
Q - Why were the stones and timber prepared so far off?
A- To show the excellence of the Craft in those days, for although the materials were prepared at so great a distance, yet when they were brought to Jerusalem, and came to be put together, each piece fitted to that exact nicety, that it appeared more like the work of the Great Architect of the Universe than of human hands.
Q- Why were you hoodwinked?
A- That in case I had refused to go through any of the usual ceremonies required in making a Mason, I might have been led out of the Lodge without discovering its form.
Q- A second reason?
A- As I was received into Masonry in a state of darkness., it was to remind me to keep all the world so, with respect to our Masonic mysteries, unless they came legally by them as I was then about to do.
Q- A third reason?
A- That my heart might conceive before my eyes should discover.
Q- Why were you slipshod?
A- Our Lodges being considered to stand on Holy Ground, it alludes to a certain passage of Scripture, where the Lord spake thus to Moses from the Burning Bush, " put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is Holy Ground."
Q- Being thus properly prepared, where were you conducted?
A- To the Door of the Lodge
Q- How did you find that D.?
A- Shut and close Tyled.
Q- Whom was it Tyled by?
A- One whom I afterwards found to be the Tyler of the Lodge.
Q- His duty?
A- Being armed with a drawn Sword to keep off all intruders and cowans to Masonry, and to see that the candidates are properly prepared.
Q- Being in a state of darkness, how did you .know it to be a Door.?
A- By meeting with an obstruction, and afterwards gaining admission.
Q- How did you gain admission?
A- By three distinct knocks.
Q -To what do these three distinct knocks allude?
A- An ancient and venerable exhortation Seek, and ye shall find; ask, and ye shall have; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
Q - How did you apply that exhortation to your situation?
A- Having sought in my mind, I asked of my friend, he knocked, and the door of Freemasonry became open unto me.
Q- When the Masonic Door. became open unto you, who came to your assistance?
A- One whom I afterwards found to be the Inner Guard.
Q;- What did he demand of your friend, or the Tyler?
A- Whom he had there.
Q- The Tyler's answer?
A- Mr. A. B., a poor candidate, in a state of darkness, who has been well and worthily recommended, regularly proposed and approved in open Lodge and now comes of his own free will and accord, properly prepared, humbly soliciting to be admitted to the mysteries. and privileges. of Freemasonry.
Q- What did the Inner Guard further demand?
A- How I hoped to obtain those privileges
Q- Your answer?
A- By the help of God, being free, and of good report.
Q- How did the Inner Guard. then proceed?
A- He desired me to halt, while he reported me to the Worshipful Master, who was afterwards pleased to order my admission
Q- Were you admitted? And on what?
A- I was, on the Point of a sharp implement presented to my naked left breast.
Q- Why was the Point of a Sharp Implement presented to your naked left breast on your entrance into the Lodge.?
A- To intimate to me that I was about to engage in something serious and solemn, likewise to distinguish the sex.
Q - When admitted into the Lodge, what was the first question put to you by the Master?
A- Mr. A. B., as no person can be made a Mason unless he is free and of mature age, I demand of you, are you a free man, and of the full age of twenty-one years? To which I answered in the affirmative.
Q- What were you then desired to do?
A- Kneel and receive the benefit of a Masonic prayer.
Q- Which I will thank you for.
A- Vouchsafe Thine aid, Almighty Father and Supreme Governor of the Universe, to our present convention, and grant that this Candidate for Freemasonry may so dedicate and devote his life to Thy service, as to become a true and 'faithful Brother amongst us. Endue him with a competency of Thy Divine wisdom, that, assisted by the secrets of our Masonic art he may the better be enabled to unfold the beauties of true godliness, to the honour and glory of Thy holy name.
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