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
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 .......day 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
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
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
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
every Officer.] by the GrandMaster's order takes the candidate from among his fellows, and presents him at
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
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
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
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
Now I will rehearse other charges single for masons allowed or
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
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
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
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
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
>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
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
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
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
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
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;
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,
two Stewards with white rods;
Provincial Grand Masters;
Past Grand Wardens;
Past Deputy Grand Masters;
Past Grand Masters;
Chief Magistrate of the place;
Deputy Grand Master;
The Constitution carried by the Master of the oldest Lodge;[In allusion to the Constitutions
of the Order being
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;
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,
Provincial Grand Masters;
Past Grand Wardens;
Past Deputy Grand Masters;
Past Grand Masters;
Chief Magistrate of the place;
Two large lights;
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
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
[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
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
When he dieth, he shall carry nothing away; his glory shall not descend after
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
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
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 Lodge to which the deceased Brother
belonged, in the following order;
all members having flowers
or herbs in their hands;
Martial Music [Drums muffled and trumpets covered]
The Members of the Lodge;
The Secretary and Treasurer;
The Senior and Junior Wardens;
The Holy Writings, on a cushion, covered with
a black cloth, carried by the oldest
Member of the Lodge;
The Choristers, singing an anthem;
The BODY with the regalia placed thereon and two swords crossed;
Carried by the Pall Bearers;
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
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.