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