Section. 2 - The Ceremony of Opening and Closing A Lodge
In regular assemblies of men, convened for wise and useful purposes, the
commencement and conclusion of business are accompanied with some form. In
every country of the world the practice prevails, and is deemed essential.
From the most remote periods of antiquity it is traced, and the refined
improvements of modern items have not abolished it.
Ceremonies, simply considered, are little more than visionary delusions;
but their effects are sometimes important. - When they impress awe and reverence
on the mind, and engage attention, by external attraction, to solemn rites,
they are interesting objects. There purposes are effected when judicious
ceremonies are regularly conducted an properly arranged. On this ground they
have received the sanction of the wisest of 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 is justly remarked, that when order and method
are neglected at the beginning, they will be seldom found to take place at
The ceremony of opening and closing a Lodge with solemnity and decorum is
there universally adopted among masons; and though the mode in some lodges
may vary, still an uniformity in the general practice prevails in every lodge;
and the variation (if any) is solely occasioned by a want of method, which
a little application might easily remove.
To conduct this ceremony with propriety, ought to be the peculiar study of
every Mason; especially of those who have the honour to rule in our assemblies.
To persons thus dignified, every eye is directed for propriety of conduct
and behaviour; and from them, other brethren, less informed, will naturally
expect to derive example worthy of imitation.
From a share in this ceremony no mason is exempted. It is a general concern,
in which all must assist. This is the first request of the Master, and the
prelude to business. no sooner has it been signified, than every officer
repairs to his station, and the brethren rank according to their degrees.
The intent of the meeting becomes the object of attention, and the mind is
insensibly drawn from those indiscriminate subjects of conversation which
are apt to intrude on our less serious moments.
Our care is first directed to the external avenues of the lodge, and the
proper officers whose province it is to discharge that duty, execute the
trust with fidelity. By certain mystic forms. of no recent date, they intimate
that we may safely proceed. To detect impostors among ourselves, an adherence
to order in the character of masons ensues, and the lodge is opened or closed
in solemn form.
At opening the lodge two purposes are effected; the Master is reminded of
the dignity of his character, the brethren of the homage and veneration due
from them in the sundry stations. These are not the only advantages resulting
from due observance of the ceremony; a reverential awe for the Deity is
inculcated, and the eye fixed on that object from whose radiant beams light
only can be derived. Hence in this ceremony we are taught to adore God of
Heaven, and to supplicate his protection on our well-meant endeavours. Thus
the Master assumes his government in due form, and under him his Wardens;
who accept their trust, after the customary salutations, as disciples of
one general patron. After which the brethren, with one accord, unite in duty
and respect, and the ceremony concludes.
At closing the lodge, a similar form takes place. here the less important
duties of masonry are not passed over unobserved. the necessary degree of
subordination, which takes place in the government of a lodge is peculiarly
marked, while the proper tribute of gratitude is offered up to the beneficent
Author of life and his blessing invoked, and extended to the whole fraternity.
Each brother faithfully locks up the treasure which he has acquired in his
own repository, and , pleased with his reward, retires, to enjoy, and
disseminate, among the private circle of his friends, the fruits of his labour
and industry in the lodge.
There are faint outlines of a ceremony which universally prevails among masons
in every county, and distinguishes all their meetings . Hence it is arranged
as a general section in every degree, and takes the lead in all our
A Prayer used at opening the Lodge
May the favour of Heaven be upon this meeting and as it is happily begun,
may it be conducted with order, and closed with harmony.
A Prayer used at closing the Lodge
May the blessing of Heaven rest upon us, and all regular masons! May brotherly
love prevail, and every moral and social virtue cement us!
Charges and Regulations for the conduct and behaviour of Masons.
A rehearsal of the Ancient Charges properly succeed the opining and precede
the closing of a lodge. This was the constant practice of our ancient brethren
and ought never to be neglected in our regular assemblies. A recapitulation
of our duty cannot be disagreeable to those who are aquatinted with it; and
to those to whom it is not known, should any such be, it must be highly proper
to recommend it.
(to be rehearsed at opening the Lodge)
On the Management of the Craft in working.
Masons employ themselves diligently in their sundry vocations, live creditably,
and conform with cheerfulness to the government of the county in which they
The most expert craftsman is chosen or appointed Master of the work, and
is duly honoured in that character by those over whom he presides.
The Master, knowing himself qualified, undertakes the government of the
lodge, and truly dispenses his rewards, according to merit.
A craftsman who is appointed Warden of the work under the Master, is true
to the Master and fellows, carefully oversees the work, and the brethren
The Master, Wardens and brethren are just and faithful, and carefully finish
the work they begin, whether it be in the first or second degree; but never
put that work to the first, which has been appropriated to the second degree.
Neither envy nor censure is discovered among masons. No brother is supplanted,
or put out of his work, if he is capable to finish it; for he who is not
perfectly skilled in the original design, can never with equal advantage
to the Master finish the work begun by another.
All employed in Masonry meekly receive their reward, and use no disobling
name. Brother or Fellow are the appellations they bestow on each other. they
behave courteously within and without the lodge, and never desert the Master
till the work is finished.
Laws for the Government of the Lodge
(To be rehearsed at opening the Lodge)
You are to salute one another in a courteous manner, agreeably to the forms
established among masons [In a lodge, masons meet as members of the same family, and
representative for the time being of all the brethren throughout the
world; all prejudices, therefore, on account of religion, country,
or private opinion are removed.] you are freely to give such mutual instructions
as shall be thought, necessary or expedient, not being overkeen or overhead,
without encroaching upon each other, derogating from that respect which is
due to a gentleman were he not a mason; for thought as mason we rank as brethren
on a level, yet masonry deprives no man of the honour due to his rank or
character, but rather adds to his honour, especially if he has deserved well
of the fraternity, who always render honour to whom it is due, and avoid
No private committees are to be allowed, or separate conversations encouraged;
the Master or Wardens are not to be interrupted, or any brother who is speaking
to the Master; but a due respect paid to the Master, and presiding officers.
These laws are to be strictly enforced, that harmony may be preserved, and
the business of the lodge carried on with order and regularity.
Amen. So mote it be.
Charge on the Behaviour of Masons
(To be rehearsed at closing the Lodge)
When the Lodge is closed, you are to enjoy yourselves with innocent mirth
and carefully to avoid excess. You are not to compel any brother to act contrary
to his inclination, or to give offence by word or deed, but enjoy a free
and easy conversation. You are to avoid immoral and obscene discourse, and
at all time support with propriety the dignity of you character.
You are to be cautious in your words and carriage, that the most penetrating
stranger may not discover, or find, what is not proper to be intimated; and
if necessary, you are to wave a discourse, and manage it prudently, for the
honour of the fraternity.
At home. and in your several neighbourhoods, you are to behave as wise and
moral men. You are never to communicate to your families, friends or
acquaintances, the private transactions of our different assemblies; but
upon every occasion to consult your honour, and the reputation of the fraternity
You are to study the preservation of health, by avoiding irregularity and
intemperance, that your families may not be neglected and injured your selves
disabled from attending to you necessary employments in life.
If a stranger apply in the character of a Mason, you are cautiously to examine
him in such a method as prudence may direct, and agreeably to the forms
established among masons; that you may not be imposed upon by an ignorant
false pretender, whom you are to reject with contempt [This injunction may seem uncharitable; but when it is
considered that the secrets of Masonry are open to all men of probity and
honour well recommended, an illegal intruder, who could wish to
obtain that to which he has no claim, in order to deprive the public
charity of a small pittance at his admission can deserve no better
and beware of giving him any secret hints of knowledge. But
if you discover him to be a true and genuine brother, you are to respect
him; if he be in want, you are without prejudice to relieve him, or direct
him how he may be relieved; you are to employ him, or recommend him to
employment: however, you are never charged to do beyond you ability only
to prefer a poor mason, who is a good man and true, before any other person
in the same circumstances [On this principle, unfortunate captives in war, and sojourners
accidentally cast on a distant shore, are particular objects of
attention, and seldom, fail to experience indulgence from masons,
and it is very remarkable, there is not an influence on record of a
breach of fidelity or ingratitude where that indulgence has been
Finally; These rules you are always to observe and enforce, and also the
duties which have been communicated in the lecture; cultivating brotherly
love, the foundation and capstone, the cement and glory of this ancient
fraternity; avoiding, upon every occasion, wrangling and quarrelling, slandering
and backbiting; not permitting others to slander honest brethren, but defending
their characters, and doing them good offices, as far as amy be consistent
with your honour and safety, but no farther. Hence all may see the benign
influence of masonry, as all true masons have done from the beginning of
the world, and will do to the end of time.