In treating with propriety on any subject, it is necessary to observe a regular course. In the former Degrees of
Masonry, we have recapitulated the contents of the several Sections, and should willingly have pursued the same plan
in this Degree, did not the variety of particulars of which it is composed, render it impossible to give an
abstract, without violating the laws of the Order. It may be sufficient to remark, that, in twelve Sections, of
which the lecture consists, every circumstance that respects government and system, antient lore and deep research,
curious invention and ingenious discovery, is accurately traced, while the mode of proceeding on public as well as
on private occasions is satisfactorily explained. Among the brethren of this degree, the land-marks of the Order are
preserved; and from them is derived that fund of informations, which expert and ingenious craftsmen only can afford,
whole judgement has been matured by years and experience. To a complete knowledge of this lecture, few attain; but
it is an infallible truth, that he who acquires by merit the mark of pre-eminence which this degree affords,
receives a reward which amply compensates all his past diligence and assiduity.
From this class, the rulers of the Craft are selected; as it is only from those who are capable of giving
instruction, that we can properly expect to receive it.
[The full text of the lectures can be found under Lectures of The Craft menu tab]
The First Section
The ceremony of initiation into the third degree, is particularly specified in this branch of the lecture, and many
useful instructions are given.
Such is the importance of this Section, that we may safely declare, that the person who is unacquainted with it, is
ill qualified to act as a ruler or governor of the work of Masonry.
Prayer at Initiation into the Third Degree
O Lord, direct us to know and serve thee aright! prosper our laudable undertakings! and grant, that, as we increase
in knowledge, we may improve in virtue, and still farther promote thy honour and glory! Amen
Charge at Initiation into the Third Degree
Brother - Your zeal for our institution, the progress you have made in our art, and your conformity to our regulations, have
pointed you out as a proper object of favour and esteem.
In the character of a Master mason, you are henceforth to correct the errors and irregularities of uninformed
brethren, and guard them against a breach of fidelity. To improve the morals and manners of men in society, must be
your constant care; and with this view, you are to recommend to your inferiors, obedience and submission; to your
equals, courtesy and affability; to your superiors, kindness and condescension. Universal benevolence you are to
inculcate; and, by the regularity of your behaviour, afford the best examples for the conduct of others. The ancient
landmarks of our Order, now instructed to your care, you are to preserve sacred and inviolable; and never suffer an
infringement of our rites, or countenance a deviation from our established usages and customs.
Duty, honour, and gratitude, now bind you to be faithful to every truth; to support with becoming dignity your new
character; and to enforce, by example and precept, the tenets of our system. Let no motive, therefore, make you
swerve from your duty, violate your vows, or betray your trust; but be true and faithful, and imitate the example of
that celebrated artist whom you have once represented. Thus your exemplary conduct must convince the world, that
merit is the title to our privileges, and that on you our favours have not been undeservedly bestowed.
The Second Section
The Second Section is an introduction to the proceedings of a Chapter of Master-masons, and illustrates several
points well known to experienced craftsmen. It investigates, in the ceremony of opening a chapter, the most
important circumstances in the two preceding degrees.
The Third Section
The Third Section commences the historical traditions of the Order, which are chiefly collected from sacred record,
and other authentic documents.
The Fourth Section
The Fourth Section farther illustrates the historical traditions of the Order, and presents to view a finished
picture, of the utmost consequence to the fraternity.
The Fifth Section
The Fifth Section continues the explanation of the historical traditions of the Order.
The Sixth Section
The Sixth Section concludes the historical traditions of the Order.
The Seventh Section
The Seventh Section illustrates the hieroglyphical emblems restricted to the Third Degree, and inculcates many useful
lessons, in order to extend knowledge, and promote virtue.
This Section is indispensably necessary to be understood by every Master of a lodge.
The Eighth Section
The Eighth Section treats of the government of the society, and the disposition of the rulers in different degrees.
It is therefore generally rehearsed at installations.
The Ninth Section
The Ninth Section recites the qualifications of the rulers, and illustrates the ceremony of installation, in the
grand lodge, as well as in private lodges.
The Tenth Section
The Tenth Section comprehends the ceremonies of constitution and consecration, with a variety of particulars
explanatory of those ceremonies.
The Eleventh Section
The Eleventh Section illustrates the ceremonies used at laying the foundation stones of churches, chapels, palaces,
hospitals, &c. also the ceremonies observed at the Dedication of Lodges, and at the Interment of Master Masons.
The Twelfth Section
The Twelfth Section contains a recapitulation of the most essential points of the lectures in all the degrees, and
corroborates the whole by infallible testimony.
Having thus given a general summary of the lectures restricted to the different degrees of masonry, and made such
remarks on each degree, as may tend to illustrate the subjects treated, little farther will be wanted to encourage
the zealous mason to persevere in his researches. He who has traced the Art in a regular progress, from the
commencement of the First to the conclusion of the Third Degree, according to the plan here laid down, will have
amassed an ample store of useful learning; he will reflect with pleasure on the good effects of his past diligence
and attention, and by applying the whole to the general advantage of society, will secure to himself the veneration
of masons, and the approbation of all good men.