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Preston Illustrations of Masonry- Book 2 General Remarks

Section 1 - General Remarks.

Section 2 - The Ceremony of Opening and Closing A Lodge

Section 3 - Remarks on the First Lecture.

Section 4 - Remarks on the Second Lecture.

Section 5 - Remarks on the Third Lecture

Section 6 - Of the Ancient Ceremonies of the Order

Preston Book 2 Section 6

Section 6. - Of the Ancient Ceremonies of the Order

We shall now proceed to illustrate the Ancient Ceremonies of the Order, particularly those observed at the Constitution and Consecration of a Lodge, and the Installation of Officers, with the usual Charges delivered on those occasions. We shall likewise annex an explanation of the Ceremonies used at laying the Foundation Stones of Public Structures, at the Dedication of Public Halls, and at Funerals; and close this part of the treatise with the Funeral Services.

The Manner of constituting a Lodge, including the Ceremony of Consecration &c (etc.)

Any number of Master-masons, not under seven, resolved to form a New Lodge, must apply, by petition must apply, by petition [The mode of applying by petition to the Grand Master for a warrant to meet as a regular lodge, commenced only in the year 1718; previous to that time lodges were empowered, by ancient privileges vested in the fraternity at large, to meet and act occasionally under the direction of some able architect; and the proceedings of those meetings being approved by the majority of the brethren convened at another lodge assembled in the same district, were deemed constitutional. By such an inherent authority the Lodge of Antiquity in London now acts, having no warrant from any Grand Lodge but an authority traced from time immemorial, which has been long and universally admitted and acknowledged by the whole fraternity throughout the world, and which no warrant or other instrument of any particular Masonic jurisdiction can possibly supercede.] setting forth 'that they are regular masons, and are at present, or have been, members of regular lodges: [By regular Masons is to be understood persons initiated into Masonry in a regular Lodge, ie one agreeable to the Constitutions of the Order.] That having the prosperity of the fraternity at heart, they are are willing to exert their best endeavours to promote and diffuse the genuine principles of masonry: That, for the convenience of their respective dwellings, and other good reasons, they have agreed to form a New Lodge, to be named..........

That, in consequence to this resolution, they pray for a warrant of constitution, to empower them to assemble as a regular lodge on the of every month, at ................; and then and there to discharge the duties of Masonry in a regular and constitutional manner, according to the original forms of the Order, and the laws of the Grand Lodge: That they have nominated and do recommend A.B. to be the first Master, and C.D. to be the first Senior Warden, and E.F. to be the first Junior Warden, of the said lodge: That the prayer of the petition being granted, they promise strict conformity to every regular edict and command of the Grand Master, and to all the constitutional laws and regulations of the Grand Lodge.

This petition, being signed by at least seven regular masons, and recommended by the Masters of three regular lodges adjacent to the place, where the New Lodge is to be held, is delivered to the Grand Secretary; who, on presenting it to the Grand Master, or in his absence to the Deputy, and, on its being approved by him, grants a dispensation, authorising the brethren specified in the petition to assemble as masons for forty days, and until such time as constitution can eb granted by command of the Grand Lodge, or that authority be recalled.

In consequence of this dispensation, a lodge is held at the place specified; and the transactions of that lodge being properly recorded, are valid for the time being, provided they are afterwards approved by the brethren convened at the time of Constitution.

When the Grand Lodge has signified his approbation of the New Lodge, and the Grand Master is thoroughly satisfied of the truth of the allegations set forth in the petition, he appoints a day and an hour for constituting and consecrating the New Lodge; and for installing its Master, Wardens, and Officers.[This is frequently omitted.]

If the Grand Master in person attend the ceremony, the lodge is said to be constituted IN AMPLE  FORM; if the Deputy Grand Master acts a Grand Master, it is said to be constituted IN DUE FORM; and if the power of performing the ceremony is vested in the Master of a private lodge, it is said to be constituted IN FORM.

Ceremony of Constitution

 On the day and hour appointed, the Grand Master and this Officers, or the Master and Officers of any private Lodge authorised by the Grand Master for that purpose, meet in a convenient room; and when properly clothed, walk in procession to the lodge room, where the usual ceremonies being observed, the lodge is opened by the Grand Master, or the Master in the Chair, in all the degrees of Masonry. After a short prayer, an ode in honour of masonry is sung. The Grand Master, or Master in the Chair, is then informed by the Grand Secretary, or his locum tenens. That the brethren then present, being duly instructed in the mysteries of the Art,[naming them,] desire to be formed into a New Lodge, under the Grand Master's patronage; that a dispensation has been granted to them for that purpose, and by virtue of that authority, they had assembled as regular masons, and had duly recorded their transactions. The petition is read, as is also the dispensation, and the warrant or charter of constitution, granted in consequence of it. the minute of the New Lodge while under dispensation, are read, and being approved, are declared to he regular, valid and constitutional. The Grand Master, or Master in the Chair, then takes the warrant in his hand and requests the brethren of the New Lodge, publicly to signify their approbation or disapprobation of the Officers nominated in the warrant to preside over them. This being signified accordingly, an anthem is sung, and an oration on the nature and design of masonry delivered.

The ceremony of Consecration succeeds.

Ceremony of Consecration

<> The Grand Master and his Officers, accompanied by some distinguished Clergyman, having taken their stations, and the lodge which is placed in the centre, being covered with white satin, the ceremony of Consecration commences. All devoutly kneel, and the preparatory prayer is rehearsed. The chaplain, or orator, produces his authority, [The constitution roll.] and being properly assisted proceeds to consecrate.[Corn, wine, and oil, are the elements of consecration.] Solemn music is introduced, while the necessary preparations are make. At length the lodge is uncovered, and the first clause of the consecration prayer is rehearsed, all devoutly kneeling. The response is made, GLORY TO GOD ON HIGH. Incense is scattered over the lodge, and the grand honours of masonry given. the grand Invocation is then pronounced, with the honours; after which the consecration prayer is concluded, and the response repeated as before, together with the honours. The lodge is again covered, and all rising up, solemn music is resumed, after which a blessing is given, and the response made as before, accompanied by honours. an anthem is then sung and the brethren of the New Lodge advance according to rank, and offer homage to the Grand Master, when the consecration ends.

The above ceremony being finished, the Grand Master then advances to the Pedestal, and constitutes the New Lodge in the following manner:

In the exalted character to which the suffrages of my brethren have raised me, I invoke the NAME of the MOST HIGH, to whom be glory and honour! May he be with you at your beginning, may he strengthen you in the principles of our royal Art, may he prosper you with all success, and may your zealous pursuits rebound to the good of the Craft! By the divine aid, I constitute and form you, my good brethren, into a Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons; and from henceforth empower you to act as a regular lodge, constituted in conformity to the rites of our venerable Order, and charges of our ancient fraternity. May God be with you.! Amen.

Flourish with drums and trumpets.

The grand honours are given, and the ceremony of Installation succeeds.

Ceremony of Installation

<> The Grand Master [In this, and similar instances, where the Grand Master is specified as acting, may be understood any Master who performs the ceremony.] asks his Deputy, whether he has examined the Master nominated in the warrant, and finds him well skilled in the noble science and the royal Art. The Deputy answering in the affirmative, [A private examination is understood to precede the installation of every Officer.] by the GrandMaster's order takes the candidate from among his fellows, and presents him at the pedestal, saying, Most worshipful Grand Master, [or right worshipful, as it happens] I present to you  my worthy brother, A.B. to be installed Master of this New Lodge. I find him to be of good morals, and of great skill, true and trusty; and as his is a lover of the whole fraternity, where forever dispersed over the face of the earth, I doubt not he will discharge his duty with fidelity.

The Grand Master order a summary of the ancient charges to be read by the Grand Secretary [or acting Secretary] to the Master elect.

As the curious reader may wish to know the ancient charges that were used on this occasion, we shall here insert them verbatim, as they are contained in a MS, in possession of the Lodge of Antiquity in London, written in the reign of James the Second. And furthermore, at diverse assemblies, have been put and ordained diverse crafties by the best advice of magistrates and fellows: Tune unus ex senioribus tenet librum, et illi ponent manum suam super librum.

Every man that is a mason take good heed to these charges wee pray, that if any man find himselfe guilty of any of these charges, that he may amend himself, or principally for the dread of God, you that be charged, take good heed that you keepe all these charges well, for if is a great evill for a man to forswear himselfe upon a book.

The first charge is. That yee shall be true men to God and the holy church, and to use no error or heretic by your understanding and by wise men's teaching. Also,

Secondly, That yee shall be true liege men to the King of England, without treason or any falsehood, and that yee know no treason or treachery, but yee shall give knowledge thereof to the King, or to his councell, also yee shall be true one to another (that is to say) every mason of the craft that is mason allowed, yee shall doe to him as yee would be done unto yourself.

Thirdly, And yee shall keepe truely all the counsell that ought to be kept in the way of Masonhood, and all the counsell of the lodge or of the chamber. Also, that yee shall be no thieves nor thieves in your knowledge free; that yee shall be true to the king, lord or master that yee serve, and truely to see and worke for his advantage.

Fourthly, Yee shall call all masons your fellows, or your brethren, and no other names.

Fifthly, Yee shall not take your fellow's wife in villany, nor deflower his daughter or servant, not put him to no disworship.

Sixthly, Yee shall truly pay for your meat or drinke whereforever yee goe, to table or bord. Also, yee shall doe no villany there, whereby the craft or science may be slandered.

There be the charges general to every true mason, both master and fellows.

Now I will rehearse other charges single for masons allowed or accepted.

First, That no mason take on him no lord's worke, nor any other man's, unless he know himself well able to perform the work, so that the craft have no slander.

Secondly, Also, that no master take worke, but that he take reasonable pay for itt, so that the lord may be truely served and the master to live honestly, and pay his fellows truely. and that no master or fellow supplant other of their worke, that he shall not put him out, unless he be unable of cunning to make an end of his worke. And no master nor fellow shall take no apprentice for less than seven years. And that apprentice be free-born, and of limbs whole as a man ought to be, and no bastard. And that no master or fellow take no allowance to made mason without the assent of his fellows, as the least six or seven.

Thirdly, That he that be made be able in all degrees; that is; free-born, of good kindred, true, and no bondsman, and that he have his right limbs as a man ought.

Fourthly. That a master take no apprentice without he have occupation to occupy two or three fellows at the least.

Fifthly, That no master or fellow put away any lord's worke to take that ought to be journey work.

Sixthly, That every master give pay to his fellows and servants as they may deserve, soe that he be not defamed with false working. And that none slander another behind his back, to make him loose his good name.

Seventhly, That no fellow in the house or abroad answer unother ungodly or reproveably without a cause.

Eighthly, That every master must doe reverence his elders; and that a mason be no common player at the cards, dice, or hazzard, nor at any other unlawful playies, through the which the science and the craft may be dishonoured or slandered.

Ninthly, That no fellow goe into the town by night, except he have a fellow with him, who may beare him record that he was in an honest place.

Tenthly, That every master and fellow shall come to the assemblie, if it be with fifty miles of him, if have any warning. And if he have trespassed against the craft, to abide the award of masters and fellows.

Eleventhly, That every master-mason and fellow that hath trespassed against the craft shall stand to the correction of other masters and fellows to make him accord; and if they cannot accord, to go to common law.

Twelvethly, That a master or fellow make not a mould-stone, square, nor rule, to no cowen, nor let no cowen worked within their lodge, nor without, tp mould stone.

Thirteenthly, That every mason receive and cherish strange fellows when they come over the countrie, and set them on worke if they will worke, as the manner is; (that is to say) if the mason have any mould stone in his place, he shall give him a mould stone, and set him to worke, and if he have none, the mason shall refresh him with money unto the next lodge.

Fourteenthly, That every mason shall truely serve his master for his pay.

Fifteenthly, That every master shall truely make an end of his worke, taske or journey; wherethese, it be.

These be all the charges and covenants that ought to be read at the installation of Master, or making of a free-mason or free-masons. The almighty God of Jacob who ever have you and me in his keeping; bless us now and ever. Amen.

I. You agree to be  good man and true and strictly obey the moral law.

II. You agree to be a peaceable subject and cheerfully conform to the laws of the country in which you reside.

III. You promise, not to be concerned in plots or conspiracies against government, but patiently to submit to the decision of the supreme legislature.

IV. You agree to pay a proper respect to the civil magistrate, to work diligently, live creditably, and act honourably by all men.

V. You agree to hold in veneration the original rulers and patrons of the Order of Masonry, and their regular successors, supreme and subordinate, according to their stations; and to submit to the awards and resolutions of your brethren in general chapter convened, in every case consistent with the constitutions of the Order.

VI. You agree to avoid private piques and quarrels, and to guard against intemperance and excess.

VII. You agree to be cautious in carriage and behaviour, courteous to our brethren, and faithful to our lodge.

VIII. You promise to respect genuine brethren, and to discountenance impostors, and all dissenters from the original plan of Masonry.

IX. You agree to promote the general good of society, to cultivate the social virtues, and to propagate the knowledge of the Art.

On the Master Elect signifying his assent to these Charges, the Secretary proceeds to read the following regulations.

I. You admit that it is not in the power of any man, or body of men, to make innovation in the body of masonry.

II. You promise to pay homage to the Grand Master for the time being, and to his Officers, when duly installed, and strictly to conform to every edict of the Grand Lodge, or General Assembly of Masons, that is not subversive of the principles and groundwork of Masonry.

III. You promise a regular attendance on the committees and communications of the Grand Lodge, on receiving proper notice; and to pay attention to all the duties of masonry, on convenient occasions.

IV. You admit that no new lodge shall be formed without permission of the Grand Master or is Deputy; and that no countenance be given to any irregular lodge, or to any person clandestinely initiated therein, being contrary to the ancient charges of the Order.

V. You admit that no person can be regularly made a mason in, or admitted member of, a regular lodge, without previous notice, and due inquiry into his character.

VI. You agree that no visitors shall be received into your lodge without due examination, and producing proper vouchers of their regular initiation.

These are the regulations of the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons.

The Grand Master then addresses the Master Elect in the following manner: Do you submit to those Charges, and promise to support those Regulations, as Masters have done in all ages before you.?

The New Master having signified his cordial submission, is regularly installed, bound to his trust and invested with the badge of office by the Grand Master, who thus salutes him:

Brother A. B., in consequence of your cheerful conformity to the Charges and Regulations of the Order, I appoint you Master of this New Lodge, not doubting of your care, skill, and capacity.

The warrant of constitution is then delivered over to the Master; after which the Holy Writings, the rule and line, the square and compasses, the constitutions, the minute book, the mallet, the trowel, the chisel, the movable jewels, and all the insignia of the different Officers, are separately presented to him, and charges suitable for each delivered.

[The same ceremony and charges attend every succeeding installation.

For the accommodation of brethren, whose distance from the metropolis may deprive them of gaining the necessary instruction in this important rite, we shall here insert a few moral observations on the instruments of masonry, usually presented to the Master of a lodge at installation.

The various implements of the profession are emblematical of our conduct in life, and , upon this occasion, carefully enumerated.

The Rule directs, that we should punctually observe our duty, press forward in the path of virtue, and, neither inclining to the right, nor to the left, in all our actions have eternity in view. 

The Line teaches, that nothing can be united without proper cement, and that the perfection of a building must depend on the suitable disposition of that cement; so Charity, the bond of perfection and social union must link separate minds and separate interests; that, like the radii of a circle which extend from the centre to every part of the circumference, the principle of universal benevolence may be diffused to every member of the community.

>The Plumb admonishes, to walk upright in our station, to hold the seale of justice in equal poise, to observe the ust medium between intemperance and pleasure, and to make our passions and prejudices coincide with line of our duty.

The Square teaches, to regulate our action by rule and line, and to harmonise our conduct by the principles of morality and virtue.

The Compasses teach, to limit our duty in every station, that, rising to eminence by merit, we may live respected, and die regretted.

The Level demonstrates, that we are descended from the same stock, partake of the same nature, and share the same hope; and though distinctions among men are necessary to preserve subordination, yet that no eminence of station should make us forget that we are brethren, and that he who is placed on the lowest spoke of fortune's wheel, may be entitled to our regard; because a time will come, and the wisest knows not how soon, when all distinction, but that of goodness shall cease; and death, the grand leveller of human greatness, reduce us to the same state.

The Chisel demonstrates, the advantage of discipline and education. The mind, like the diamond, in its original state, is unpolished; but as the effect of the chisel on the external coat, soon presents to view the latest virtues of the mind, and draws them forth to range the large field of matter and space, to display the summit of human knowledge, our duty to God, and to man.

>The Mallet teaches, to lop off excrescences, and smooth surfaces; or, in other words, to correct irregularities, and reduce man to a proper level; so that, by quiet deportment, he may, in the school of discipline, learn to be content. What the Mallet is to the workman, enlightened reason is to the passions; it curbs ambition, it depresses envy, it moderates anger, and it encourages good dispositions; whence arise that comely which nothing earthly gives, or can destroy, The soul's calm sunshine, and the heart felt joy.]

The New Master is then conducted by the Grand Stewards, amidst the acclamations of the brethren, to the Grand Master's left hand, where he returns his becoming acknowledgements; first, to the Grand Master; and next, to all the Officers in order; after which he is saluted by the Brethren in a grand chorus suitable for the occasion. The members of the New Lodge advance in procession, pay due homage to the Grand Master, and signify their promise of subjection and obedience by the usual congratulations in the different degrees of masonry.

This ceremony being concluded, the Grand Master orders the New Master to enter immediately upon the exercise of his office; by appointing his Wardens. They are conducted to the pedestal, presented to the Grand Master, and installed by the Grand Wardens; after which the New Master proceeds to invest them with the badges of their offices in the following manner:

[When the Grand Master and his Officers attend to constitute a new Lodge, the D.G.M. usually invests the New Master, and the Grand Wardens invest the New Wardens, the Grand Treasurer and Grand Secretary invest the Treasurer and Secretary; and the Grand Stewards, the Stewards.]

Brother C.D. I appoint you Senior Warden of this lodge; and invest you with the ensign of your office. [Here specify its moral excellence.] Your regular attendance on our stated meetings is essentially necessary; as in my absence you are to govern this lodge, and in my presence to assist me in the government of it. I firmly rely on your knowledge of the Art, and attachment to the lodge, for the faithful discharge of the duties of this important trust.

Brother E.F. I appoint you Junior Warden of this lodge; and invest our with the badge of your office. [Here specify its moral excellence.] To you I entrust the examination of visitors, and the introduction of candidates. Your regular and punctual attendance is particularly requested; and I have no doubt that you will faithfully execute the duty which you owe to your present appointment.

The New Master then addresses his Wardens together:

Brother Wardens, you are too expert in the principles of masonry, to require more information in the duties of your respective offices; suffice it to mention, that I expect that what you have seen praise-worthy in others, you will carefully imitate; and what in them may have appeared defective, you will in yourselves amend. Good order and regularity you must endeavour to promote; and, by due regard to the laws in your own conduct, enforce obedience to them from the other members.

The Wardens retire to their seats, and the Treasurer is invested. [This Officer is not appointed by the Master, but elected by the Lodge.] The Secretary is then called to the pedestal, and invested with the jewel of his office; upon which the Mew Master addresses him:

I appoint you, Brother G.H., Secretary of this lodge. It is your province to record the minutes, settle the accounts, and issue out the summons for our regular meetings. Your good inclinations to masonry and the lodge, I hope, will induce you to discharge your office with fidelity, and by so doing, you will merit the esteem and applause of your brethren.

The Deacons are then named, and invested, upon which the New Master addresses them as follows:

Brothers I.K.and L.M. I appoint you Deacons of this lodge. It is your province to attend on the Master, and to assist the Wardens in the active duties of the lodge; such as in the reception of candidates into the different degrees of masonry, and in the immediate practice of our rites. Those columns, as badges of your office, I entrust to your care, not doubting your vigilance and attention.

The Stewards are next called up, and invested, upon which the following charge is delivered to them by the New Master:

Brothers N.O. and P.Q. I appoint you Stewards of this lodge, The duties of your office are, introduce visitors, and see that they are properly accommodated, to collect subscriptions and other fees, and keep an exact account of the lodge expenses. Your regular and early attendance will afford the best proof of your zeal and attachment.

The Master then appoints the Tyler, and delivers over to him the instrument of his office, with a short charge on the occasion, after which he addresses the members of the lodge at large, as follows:


Such is the nature of our constitution, that as some must of necessity rule and teach, so others must of course learn to submit and obey. Humility in both, is an essential duty. The brethren whom I have appointed to assist me in the government of this lodge, are too well acquainted with the principles of masonry, and the rules of good manners, to extend the power with which they are entrusted; and you are too sensible of the propriety of their appointment, and of too generous dispositions to envy their preferment. From the knowledge I have of both officers and members, I trust we shall have but one aim, to please each other, and unite in the grand design of communicating happiness.

The Grand Master then gives the Brethren joy of their Officers, recommend harmony, and expresses a wish that the only contention in lodge may be, a generous emulation to vie in cultivating the royal Art, and the moral virtues. The New Lodge joins in the general salute, and the new-installed Master returns thanks for the honour of the constitution.

The Grand Secretary then proclaims the New Lodge three ties, with the honours of Masonry; flourish with horns each time; after which the Grand Master orders the lodge to be registered in the Grand Lodge books, and the Grand Secretary to notify the same to the regular lodges.

A song [Many anthems and songs used on this and other occasions, are inserted at the end of the volume.] with a chorus, accompanied by the music, concludes the ceremony of constitution, when the lodge is closed with the usual solemnities in the different degrees, by the Grand Master and his Officers; after which the procession is resumed to the apartment whence it set out.

This is the usual ceremony at the Constitution of a New Lodge, which the Grand Master may abridge or extend at pleasure; but the material points are on no account to be omitted.

The Ceremony observed at the laying of the Foundation Stones of Public Structures.

This ceremony is conducted by the Grand Master and his Officers, assisted by the Members of the Grand Lodge. No private member, or inferior officer of any private lodge, is admitted to join in the ceremony. Provincial Grand Masters are authorised to execute this trust in their several provinces, accompanied by their Officers, and the Masters and Wardens of regular lodges under their jurisdiction. The Chief Magistrate, and other civil officers of the place where the building is tobe erected, generally attend on the occasion. The ceremony is thus conducted.

At the time appointed, the Grand Lodge is convened at some convenient place approved by the Grand Master. A band of martial music is provided, and the brethren appear in the insignia of the Order, elegantly dressed , with white gloves and aprons. The lodge is opened by the Grand Master, and the rules regulating the procession to and from the place where the ceremony is to be performed, are read by the Grand Secretary. The necessary cautions are then given from the chair, and the lodge is adjourned; after which the procession sets out in the following order:

Two Tylers, with drawn swords


Members of the Grand Lodge, two and two;

A Tyler in his uniform;

Past Grand Stewards;

Grand Tyler;

Present Grand Stewards, with white rods;

Secretary of the Stewards' Lodge;

Wardens of the Stewards' Lodge;

Master of the Stewards' Lodge'



Swordbearer, with the sword of state;

Grand Secretary, with his bag;

Grand Treasurer, with his staff;

The Bible, [When the Bible is mentioned, it applies to whatever book is considered the law of God.] Square and Compasses, on a crimson velvet cushion, carried by the Master of a lodge, supported by two Stewards with white rods;

Grand Chaplain;

Provincial Grand Masters;

Past Grand Wardens;

Past Deputy Grand Masters;

Past Grand Masters;

Chief Magistrate of the place;

Grand Wardens;

Deputy Grand Master;

The Constitution carried by the Master of the oldest Lodge;[In allusion to the Constitutions of the Order being originally vested in that Officer; who in case of the resignation, or death of the Grand Master, is considered for the time being as the acting Governor and Director of the fraternity.]


Two Stewards close the procession.

A triumphal arch is usually erected at the place where the ceremony is to be performed, with proper, scaffolding for the reception of private brethren. The procession passes through the arch, and the brethren repairing to the their stands, the Grand Master and his Officers take their places on a temporary platform, covered with carpet. An ode on masonry is sung. The Grand Master commands silence and the necessary preparations are made for laying the Stone, on which are engraved the year of our Lord and of Masonry, the name of the reigning Sovereign and the name, titles, Etc of the Grand Master. The Stone is raised up, by an engine erected for that purpose, and the Grand Chaplain or Orator repeats a short prayer. The Grand Treasurer then, by the Grand Master's command, places under the Stone various sorts of coins and medals of the present reign. Solemn music is introduced, an anthem sung, and the Stone let down into its place and properly fixed; upon which the Grand Master descends to the Stone, and gives three knocks with his mallet, amidst the acclamations of the spectators. The Grand Master then delivers over to the Architect the various implements of architecture, entrusting him with the superintendence and direction of the work; after which he re-ascends the platform, and an oration suitable to the occasion is delivered. A voluntary subscription is made for the workmen, and the sum collected is placed upon the Stone by the Grand Treasurer. A song in honour of masonry concludes the ceremony, after which the procession returns to the place whence it set, and the lodge is closed by the Grand Wardens.

The Ceremony observed at the Dedication of Mason's Halls

 On the day appointed for the celebration of the ceremony of Dedication, the Grand Master and his Officers, accompanied by all the Brethren who are Members of the Grand Lodge, meet  in a convenient room adjoining to the place where the ceremony is to be performed, and the Grand Lodge is opened in ample form in all the degrees of masonry. The order of procession is read by the Grand Secretary, and a general charge respecting propriety of behaviour given by the Deputy Grand Master. The lodge is then adjourned and the procession formed as follows;

Two Tylers with drawn swords;


Members of the Grand Lodge, two by two;

A Tyler in his uniform;

Past Grand Stewards;

Grand Tyler;

Present Grand Stewards, with white rods;

Secretary of the Stewards' Lodge;

Wardens of the Stewards' Lodge;

Master of the Stewards' Lodge'


One Brother carrying a gold Pitcher; containing corn;

Two Brothers, with a silver Pitcher, containing wind and oil;

Four Tylers, carrying the Lodge, covered with white satin;


Grand Swordbearer, with the sword of state;

Grand Secretary, with his bag;

Grand Treasurer, with his staff;

The Bible,[When the Bible is mentioned, it applies to whatever book is considered the law of God.] Square and Compasses, on a crimson velvet cushion, carried by the Master of a Lodge, supported by two Stewards;

Grand Chaplain;

Provincial Grand Masters;

Past Grand Wardens;

Past Deputy Grand Masters;

Past Grand Masters;

Chief Magistrate of the place;

Two large lights;

Grand Wardens;

One large light;

Deputy Grand Master;

The Constitution carried by the Master of the oldest Lodge;

[In allusion to the Constitutions of the Order being originally vested in that Officer; who in case of the resignation, or death of the Grand Master,, is considered for the time being as the acting Governor and Director of fraternity.]


Two Stewards close the procession.

The Ladies who attend are introduced, and the musicians repair to their station. On the procession reaching the Grand Master's chair, the Grand Officers are separately proclaimed according to rank; as they arrive at that station; and on the Grand Master's being proclaimed, the music strikes up, and continues during the procession three times round the Hall.

The Lodge is then placed in the center, on a crimson velvet couch; and the Grand Master having taken the chair, under a canopy of state, the Grand Officers, and the Masters and Wardens of the Lodges, repair to the places which have been previously prepared for their reception: The three lights, and the gold and silver pitchers, with the corn, wine and oil, are placed on the Lodge, at the head of which stands the pedestal, on which is placed a crimson, velvet cushion, with the Bible open, the Square and Compasses being laid thereon, and the Constitution roll. An anthem is then sung, and an exordium on masonry given; after which the Architect addresses the Grand Master in an elegant speech, returns thanks for the honour conferred on him, and surrenders up the implements which had been entrusted to his care at the laying of the Foundation Stone. The Grand Master expresses his approbation of the Architect's conduct, an ode in honour of masonry is sung, accompanied by the band, and the ladies retire, with such of the musicians as are not masons.

The lodge is then tiled, and the business of masonry resumed. The Grand Secretary informs the Grand Master, that it is the design of the fraternity to have the Hall dedicated to Masonry; upon which he orders the Grand Officers to assist in the ceremony, during which the organ continues playing solemn music, excepting only at the intervals of Dedication. the Lodge being uncovered, the first procession is made round it, and the Grand Master having reached the East, the organ is silent, and he proclaims the Hall duly dedicated to MASONRY, IN THE NAME OF THE GREAT JEHOVAH, TO WHOM BE ALL GLORY AND HONOUR; upon which the Chaplain strews corn over the Lodge. The organ plays, and the second procession is made round the Lodge, when, on the Grand Master's arrival at the East, the organ is silent, and he declares the Hall dedicated as before, to VIRTUE; on which the Chaplain sprinkles wine on the Lodge. The organ plays, and the third procession is made round the Lodge, when, the Grand Master having reached the East, the music is silent, and he declares the Hall dedicated to UNIVERSAL BENEVOLENCE; upon which the Chaplain dips his fingers in the oil, and sprinkles it over the Lodge; and at each dedication the Grand honours are given. A solemn invocation is made to Heaven, and an anthem sung; after which the Lodge being covered, the Grand Master retires to his chair, and the business of masonry is again adjourned.

The ladies are then introduced; an ode for the occasion is performed; and an oration delivered by the Grand Chaplain, which is succeeded by an anthem. Donations for the charity are collected, and the grand procession is reformed. After marching three times round the Hall, preceded by the Tylers carrying the Lodge as at entrance, during which the music continues to play a grand piece, the brethren return to the place whence they set out, where the laws of the Order being rehearsed, the Grand Lodge is closed in ample form in all the degrees.

The Ceremony observed at Funerals, according to ancient Custom: with the Service used on that occasion.

No mason can be interred with formalities of the Order, unless it be by is own special request, communicated to the Master of the lodge of which he died a member, foreigners and sojourners excepted; nor unless he has been advanced to the third degree of masonry, and form this restriction there can be no exception. Fellow-crafts, or apprentices, are not entitled to the funeral obsequies.

The Master of a lodge having received notice of a Master-mason's death, and of his request to be interred with the ceremonies of the Order, fixes the day and hour for the funeral, and issues his command to summon the lodge; if more lodges are expected to attend, he must make application by the Grand Secretary to the Grand Master or his Deputy, to reside over such brethren from other lodges as may assist in forming the procession, who are to be under his direction for the time; and all the brethren present must be properly clothed.

[By an express law of the Grand Lodge, it is enacted, 'That no regular mason do attend any funeral or other public (By public procession is meant a general convention of masons for the purpose of making a public appearance) procession, clothed with the badges and ensigns of the Order, unless a dispensation for that purpose has been obtained from the Grand Master, or his Deputy; under the penalty of forfeiting all the rights and privileges of the Society; and of being deprived of the benefits of the general fund of charity, should he be reduced to want.

Dispensations for public processions are seldom granted but upon very particular occasions, it cannot, therefore, be thought that there will be very frequent, or that regular masons will be inclined to infringe an established law, by attending those, which are not properly authorised.  Many public parades under this character have been made in late years; but these have not received the sanction of the Grand Master, or the countenance of any regular mason conversant with the laws of the society. Of this the Public may be convinced, if it be considered that the reputation of the whole fraternity would be a risk by irregularity on such an occasion. It cannot be imagined, that the Grand Master, who is generally of noble birth, would either so far  degrade the dignity of his office, or the character of the society at large, as to grant a dispensation for a public procession upon  so trifling an occasion as a private benefit at a playhouse, public garden, or other place of general resort; where neither the interest of the society nor the public good, can be concerned; and which, though it may be of some private advantage. can never rebound to the good of masonry, of the honour of the its patrons. 

The above law was planned to put a stop to mixed and irregular conventions of masons, and to prevent them from exposing to derision the insignia of the Order, by parading through the streets on unimportant occasions; it was not intended, however, to restrict the privileges of any regular lodge, or to encroach on the legal prerogative of any installed Master, By the universal practice of masons, every lodge is authorised by the constitution, without any other authority, to convene and govern his own lodge on an emergency, as at the funeral of its members, or on any occasion in which the honour society is concerned, being amenable to the Grand Lodge for misconduct; but when brethren from other lodges are convened, who are not subject to his control, in that case a particular dispensation is required from the Grand Master or his Deputy, who are the only general Directors of Masons. The Master of a lodge will never never issue a summons for the public appearance of his lodge on a trifling occasion, or without approbation when he knows that he is amenable to the General Assembly for his conduct, and, by the charges of his office must submit to their award; should he, however, be so imprudent as to act on this occasion improperly, the brethren of the lodge are warranted by the laws to refuse obedience to his summons, but they are also amenable to the Grand Lodge for contumacy.

A Dispensation is only necessary in cases where masons from different  lodges are indiscriminately convened, as it vest a power in certain individuals for the time being to superintend the behaviour of such brethren, that no irregularity may ensue; but when a regular lodge is assembled under the auspices of its Master, that Master is sufficiently empowered to preside over his own lodge by the constitution, an authority which no dispensation can supercede; the former being an act of the society at large, the latter only an act of the Grand Master as an individual.]

The dispensation being obtained, the Master may invite as many lodges as he thinks proper, and the members of those lodges may accompany their officers in from; but the whole ceremony must be under the direction of the Master of the lodge to which the deceased belonged, for which purpose on the dispensation is granted; and he and his officers must be duly honoured, and cheerfully obeyed, on the occasion.

All the brethren who walk in procession, should observe, as much as possible, an uniformity in their dress. Decent mourning, with white stockings, gloves and aprons, is most suitable.[This is the usual clothing of master-masons.] No person should be distinguished with a jewel, unless he is an officer of one of the lodges invited to attend in form, and the officers of such lodges should be ornamented with sashes and hatbands; as also the officers of the lodge to whom the dispensation is granted, who are, moreover, to be distinguished with white rods.

The Funeral Service

The brethren being assembled at the house where the body of the deceased lies, the Master of the lodge to which he belonged, opens the lodge in the third degree, with the usual forms, and an anthem is sung. The body being placed in the centre on a couch, and the coffin which it is laid being open, the Master proceeds to the head of the corpse, and the service begins.

MASTER: What man is he that liveth, and shall not see death? Shall he deliver his soul from the hand of the grave?

Man walketh in a vain shadow, he heapeth up riches, and cannot tell who shall gather them.

When he dieth, he shall carry nothing away; his glory shall not descend after him.

Naked he came in to the world, and naked he must leave return: the Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord!

The grand honours are then given, and certain forms used, which cannot be here explained. Solemn music is introduced, during which the Master strews herbs or flowers over the body, and taking the SACRED ROLL in his had he says:

Let us die the death of the righteous, and let our last end be like his!

The Brethren answer:

God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even unto death!

The Master then puts the ROLL unto the coffin and says.

Almighty Father! Into thy hands we commend the soul of our loving brother!

The Brethren answer three times, giving the grand honours each time:

The will of God is accomplished1 So be it!

The Master then repeats the following prayer:

Most glorious God! Author of all good, and giver of all mercy! Pour down thy blessings upon us, and strengthen our solemn engagements with the ties of sincere affection! May the present instance of mortality remind us of our approaching fate; and draw our attention towards toward thee, the only refuge in time of need that when the awful moment shall arrive, that we are about to quit this transitory scene, the enlivening prospect of they may mercy may dispel the gloom of death; and after our departure hence in peace and in thy favour, we may be received into thine everlasting kingdom, to enjoy, in union with the souls of our departed friends, the just reward of pious and virtuous life. Amen!

An anthem  being sung, the Master retires to the pedestal, and the coffin is shut up. An oration, suitable to the occasion is delivered; and the Master recommending love and unity, the brethren join hands, and renew their pledged vows. The lodge is then adjourned, and the procession, to the place of interment is formed:

The different lodges rank according to seniority, the junior proceeding; each lodge forms on division, and the the following order is observed:

The Tyler, with his sword;

The Stewards, with white rods;

The Brethren, out of office, two by two;

The Secretary, with a roll;

The Treasurer; with his badge of office;

The Senior and Junior Wardens, hand in hand;

The Pastmaster;

The Master;

The Lodge to which the deceased Brother

belonged, in the following order;

all members having flowers

or herbs in their hands;

The Tyler;

The Stewards;

Martial Music [Drums muffled and trumpets covered]

The Members of the Lodge;

The Secretary and Treasurer;

The Senior and Junior Wardens;

The Pastmaster;

The Holy Writings, on a cushion, covered with

a black cloth, carried by the oldest

Member of the Lodge;

The Master

The Choristers, singing an anthem;

The Clergymen;

The BODY with the regalia placed thereon and two swords crossed;

Carried by the Pall Bearers;

Chief Mourner;

Assistant Mourners;

Two Stewards;

A Tyler.

One or two lodges advance, before the procession begins, to the church-yard, to prevent confusion, and make the necessary preparations. The brethren are not to desert their ranks, or change places, but to keep to their different departments. When the Procession arrives at the gate of the church-yard, the lodge to which the deceased brother belonged, the mourners, and attendants of the corpse, halt, till the members of the other lodges have formed a circle round the grave, when an opening is made to receive them. They then advance to the grave; and the clergyman and officers of the acting lodge taking their station at the head of the grave, with the choristers on each side, and the mourners at the foot, the service is resumed, an anthem sung, and the following exhortation given;

Here we view the striking of the uncertainty of life, and the vanity of all human pursuits. the last offices paid to the dead, are only useful as lectures to the living; from them we are to derive instruction, and consider every solemnity of this kind, as a summons to prepare for our approaching dissolution.

Notwithstanding the various mementos of mortality with which we daily meet, notwithstanding Death has established his empire over all the works of Nature, yet, though some unaccountable infatuation, we forget that we are born to die. We go on from one design to another, add hope to hope, and lay out plans for the employment of may years, till we are suddenly alarmed with the approach of Death, when we least expect him, and at an hour which we probably conclude to be the meridian of our existence.

What are all the externals of majesty, the pride of wealth, or charms of beauty, when Nature has paid her just debt? Fix your eyes on the last scene, and view life stripped of her ornaments, and exposed in her natural meanness; you will then be convinced of the futility of those empty delusions, In the grave, all fallacies are detected, all ranks are leveled, and all distinction are done away.

while we drop the sympathetic tear over the grave of a deceased friend, let charity incline us to throw a veil over his foibles, whatever they may have been, and not with-hold from his memory the praise that his virtues may have claimed. Suffer the apologies of human nature to plead in his behalf. Perfection on earth has never been attained; the wisest, as well as the best of men have erred. His meritorious actions it is our duty to imitate, and from his weakness we ought to derive instruction.

Let the present example excite our most serious thoughts, and strengthen our resolutions of amendment. As life is uncertain, and all earthly pursuits are vain, let us no longer postpone the important concern of preparing for eternity; but embrace the happy moment while time and opportunity offer, to provide against the great change, when all the pleasures of this world shall cease to delight, and the reflections of a virtuous life yield the only comfort and consolation. Thus our expectations will not be frustrated, nor we hurried, unprepared into the presence of an all-wise and powerful Judge, to whom the secrets of all hearts are known, and from whose dread tribunal no culprit can escape.

Let us, while in this stage of existence, support with propriety the character of our profession, advert to the nature of our solemn ties, and pursue with assiduity the sacred tenets of our Order: Then, with becoming grace, to ensure the favour of that eternal Being, whose goodness and power know no bound; that, when the awful moment arrives, be it soon or late, we may be enabled to prosecute our journey, without dread or apprehension, to that far distant country whence no traveler returns. By the light of the divine countenance, we shall pass, without trembling, through those gloomy mansions where all things are forgotten; and at the great and tremendous day of trial and retribution, when, arraigned at the bar of divine justice, let us hope that judgement will be pronounced in our favour, and that we shall receive our reward, in the possession of an immortal inheritance where joy flows in one continued stream, and no mound can check its course.

The following innovations are them made by the Master, the usual honours accompany each.

MASTER.  May we be true and faithful; and may we live and die in love!

ANSWER. So mote it be.

MASTER. May we profess what is good, and always act agreeably to our profession!

ANSWER. So mote it be.

MASTER. May the Lord bless us, and prosper us; and may all our good intentions be crowned with success!

ANSWER. So mote it be.

The Secretaries then advance, and throw their rolls into the grave with the usual forms, while the Master repeats with an audible voice:

Glory be to God on high, on earth peace, goodwill towards men!

ANSWER. So mote it be, now, from henceforth, and for evermore.

The Master then concludes the ceremony at the grave, in the following words:

From time immemorial it has been the custom among the fraternity of free and accepted masons, at the request of a brother on his death-bed, to accompany his corpse to the place of internment; and there to deposit his remains with the usual formalities.

In conformity to this usage, and at the request of our deceased brother, whose memory we revere, and whose loss we now deplore, we have assembled in the character of masons, to resign his body to the earth whence it came, and to offer up to his memory, before the world, the last tribute of our affection; thereby demonstrating the sincerity of our past esteem, and our inviolate attachment to the principles of the Order.

With proper respect to the established customs of the country in which we live; with due deference to our superiors in church and state, and with unlimited goodwill to all mankind, we here appear clothed as masons, and publicly crave leave to express our submission to peace and good government, and our wish to serve the interests of mankind. Invested with the badges of innocence; we humbly bow to the universal Parent; and implore his blessing on every zealous endeavour to promote peace and good-will, and pray for our perseverance in the principles of piety and virtue.

The great Creator having been pleased, out of his mercy, to remove our worth brother from the cares and troubles of a transitory life, to a state of eternal duration; and thereby to weaken the chain by which we are united, man to man; may we, who survive him, anticipate our approaching fate and be more strongly cemented in the ties of union and friendship; that, during the short space allotted to our present existence, we may wisely and usefully employ our time; and in the reciprocal intercourse of kind and friendly acts, mutually promote the welfare and happiness of each other.

Unto the grave we resign the body of our deceased friend, there to remain until the general resurrection; in favourable expectation that his immortal soul may then partake of joys which have been prepared for the righteous from the beginning of the world: And may Almighty God, of infinite goodness, at the grand tribunal of unbiased justice, extend his mercy toward him, and all of us, and crown our hope with everlasting bliss in the expanded realms of a boundless eternity! This we beg, for the honour of his name, whom be glory, now and for ever. Amen!

Thus the service ends, and the usual honours are given; after which the procession returns in form to the place whence it set out, where the necessary duties are complied with, and the business of masonry renewed. The regalia, and ornaments of the deceased, if an officer of the lodge, are returned to the Master, with the usual ceremonies; after which the charges for regulating the conduct of the brethren are rehearsed, and the lodge is closed in the third degree with a blessing.

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