Remarks On The First Lecture
BOOK II -
including an Illustration of the Lectures
illustrations of masonry
Having illustrated the ceremony of opening and closing a Lodge, and inserted
the Charges and Prayers usually rehearsed in our regular assemblies on those
occasions, we shall now enter on a disquisition of the different Sections of the
Lectures appropriated to the three Degrees of Masonry, giving a brief summary of
the whole, and annexing to every Remark the particulars to which the Section
alludes. By these means the industrious mason will be better instructed in the
regular arrangement of the Sections in each Lecture , and be enabled with more
cease to acquire a knowledge of the Art.
The First Lecture is divided into Sections and each Section into Clauses. In
this Lecture virtue is painted in the most beautiful colours, and the duties of
morality are strictly enforced. In it we are taught such useful lessons as
prepare the mind for a regular advancement in the principles of knowledge and
philosophy, and these are imprinted on the memory by lively and sensible images,
to influence our conduct in the proper discharge of the duties of social life.
The First Section
The First Section of the Lecture is suited to all capacities, and ought to be
known by every person who wishes to rank as a mason. It consists of general
heads, which, though short and simple carry weight with them. they not only
serve as marks of distinction, but communicate useful and interesting knowledge
when they are duly investigated. They qualify us to try and examine the rights
of others to our privileges, while they prove ourselves; and as they induce us
to inquire more minutely into other particulars of greater importance, they
serve as an introduction to subjects which are more amply explained in the
As we can annex to these remark no other explanation consistent with the
rules of masonry. we must refer the more inquisitive to our regular assembles
for further instruction.
The Second Section
The Second Section makes us acquainted with the peculiar forms and ceremonies
at the initiation of candidates into masonry; and convinces us, beyond the power
of contradiction, of the propriety of our rites; while it demonstrates to the
most skeptical and hesitating mind, their excellence and utility.
The following particulars relative to that ceremony may be introduced here
A Declaration to be assented to by every Candidate in an adjoining
apartment, previous to Initiation.
"Do you seriously declare, upon your honour, before these gentlemen, that, unbiased by friends against your own
inclination, and uninfluenced by mercenary motives, you freely and voluntarily
offer yourself a candidate for the mysteries of Masonry?" - I do.
"Do you seriously declare, upon your honour, before these gentlemen, that you
are solely prompted to solicit the privileges of Masonry, by a favourable
opinion conceived of the institution, a desire of knowledge, and a sincere wish
of being serviceable to your fellow-creatures?" - I do.
"Do you seriously declare, upon your honour, before these gentlemen, that you
will cheerfully conform to all the ancient established usages and customs of the
fraternity?" - I do.
The Candidate is then proposed in open lodge, as follows:
"R. W. Master, and Brethren,
"At the request of Mr. A. B. [mentioning his profession and residence]
I propose him in form as a proper Candidate for the mysteries of Masonry;
I recommend him, as worthy to partake the privileges of the fraternity; and, in
consequence of a Declaration of his intentions, voluntarily made and properly
attested, I believe he will cheerfully conform to the rules of the Order."
The Candidate is ordered to be prepared for Initiation.
A Prayer used at Initiation
"Vouchsafe thine aid, Almighty Father of the Universe, to this our present
convention; and grant that this Candidate for Masonry may dedicate and devote
his life to thy service, and become a true and faithful Brother among us! Endue
him with a competence of thy divine wisdom, that, by the secrets of this Art, he
may be better enabled to display the beauties of godliness, to the honour of thy
holy Name! Amen."
Note. It is a duty incumbent on every Master of a lodge, before the
ceremony of initiation takes place, to inform the Candidate of the purpose and
design of the institution; to explain the nature of his solemn engagements; and,
in a manner peculiar to masons alone, to require his cheerful acquiescence to
the duties of morality and virtue, and all the sacred tenets of the Order.
The Third Section
The Third Section, by the reciprocal communication of our marks of
distinction, proves us to be regular members of the Order; and inculcates those
necessary and instructive duties which at once dignify our characters in the
double capacity of men and masons.
We cannot better illustrate this Section, than by inserting the following
Charge at Initiation into the first Degree
[As you are now introduced into the first principles of our Order, it is my
duty to congratulate you on being accepted a member of an ancient and honourable
Society: ancient, as having subsisted from time immemorial; and honourable, as
tending, in every particular, so to render all men, who will be conformable to
its precepts. No institution was ever raised on a better principle, or more
solid foundation; nor were ever more excellent rules and useful maxims laid
down, than are inculcated on all persons at their initiation into our mysteries.
Monarchs, in every age, have been encouragers and promoters of our Art, and have
never deemed it derogatory from their dignities, to level themselves with the
fraternities, to extend their privileges, and to patronise their assemblies.]
As a mason you are to study the moral law, as contained in the sacred code; to consider it as the unerring standard of
truth and justice, and to regulate your life and actions by its divine precepts.
The three great moral duties, to God, your neighbour, and yourself, you are
strictly to observe: - To God, by never mentioning his name, but with that awe
and reverence which is due from a creature to his creator; to implore his aid in
your laudable undertakings; and to esteem him as the chief good: - To your
neighbour, by acting upon the square, and, considering him equally entitled with
yourself to share the blessings of Providence, rendering unto him those favours,
which in a similar situation you would expect to receive from him: - And to
yourself, by avoiding irregularity and intemperance, which might impair your
faculties, and debase the dignity of your profession.
In the state, you are to be quiet and peaceable subject, true to your
sovereign, and just to your country; you are not to countenance disloyalty or
rebellion, but patiently submit to legal authority, and conform with
cheerfulness to the government under which you live, yielding obedience to the
laws which afford you protection, and never forgetting the attachment you owe to
the spot where you first drew breath.
[In your outward demeanour, you are to avoid censure or
reproach; and beware of all who may artfully endeavour to insinuate themselves
into your esteem, with a view to betray your virtuous resolutions, or make you
swerve from the principles of the institution. Let not interest, favour, or
prejudice, bias your integrity, or influence you to be guilty of a dishonourable
action; but let your conduct and behaviour be regular and uniform, and your
deportment suitable to the dignity of the profession.]
Above all, practice benevolence and charity; for by these virtues, masons
have been distinguished in every age and country.
inconceivable pleasure of contributing toward the relief of our
fellow-creatures, is truly experienced by persons of a humane disposition; who
are naturally excited, by sympathy, to extend their aid in alleviation of the
miseries of others. This encourages the generous mason to distribute his bounty
with cheerfulness. Supposing himself in the situation of an unhappy sufferer, he
listens to the tale of woe with attention, bewails misfortune, and speedily
The Constitutions of the Order ought next to engage your attentions. These
contain the history of masonry from the earliest periods, with an account of
illustrious characters who have enriched the Art in various countries; and the
laws and charges, by which the brethren have been long governed.
A punctual attendance on our assemblies I am earnestly to enjoin, especially
on the duties of the lodge in which you are enrolled a member. Here, and in all
other regular meetings of the fraternity, you are to behave with order and
decorum, that harmony may be preserved, and the business of masonry properly
[The rules of good manners you are not to
violate; you are to use no unbecoming language, in derogation of the name of
God, or toward the corruption of good manners: you are not to introduce or
maintain any dispute about religion or politics; or behave irreverently while
the lodge is engaged in what is serious and important; but you are to pay a
proper deference and respect to the Master and presiding officers, and
diligently apply to the practice of the Art, that you may sooner become a
proficient therein, as well for your own credit, as the honour of the lodge in
which you have been received.]
But although your frequent appearance at our regular meetings is earnestly
solicited, masonry is not intended to interfere with your necessary vocations in
life, as these on no account are to be neglected: neither are you to suffer your
zeal for the institution, however laudable, to lead you into argument with those
who may ridicule it; but rather extend your pity toward all, who through
ignorance contemn, what they never had an opportunity to comprehend. At leisure
hours, study the liberal arts and sciences; and improve in Masonic
disquisitions, by the conversation of well-informed brethren, who will be as
ready to give, as you can be to receive instruction.
Finally; keep sacred and inviolable those mysteries of the Order which are to
distinguish you from the rest of the community, and mark your consequence among
the fraternity. If, in the circle of your acquaintance, you find a person
desirous of being initiated into masonry, be particularly attentive not to
recommend him unless you are convinced he will conform to our rules; that the
honour, the glory, and the reputation of the institution may be firmly
established, and the world at large convinced of its benign influence.
[From the attention you have paid to the recital of this
charge, we are led to hope that you will form a proper estimate of the value of
freemasonry, and imprint on your mind the dictates of truth, honour, and
[This section usually closes with the EULOGIUM, ]
The Fourth Section
The Fourth Section rationally accounts for the origin of hieroglyphical
instruction, and points out the advantages which accompany a faithful observance
of our duty; it illustrates, at the same time, certain particulars, of which our
ignorance might lead us into error, and which as masons, we are indispensably
bound to know.
To make daily progress in the Art, is a constant duty, and expressly required
by our general laws. What end can be more noble, than the pursuit of virtue?
what motive more alluring, than the practice of justice? or what instruction
more beneficial, than an accurate elucidation of those symbols which tend to
embellish and adorn the mind? Every thing that strikes the eye, more immediately
engages the attention, and imprints on the memory serious and solemn truths.
Hence masons have universally adopted the plan of inculcating the tenets of
their Order by typical figures and allegorical emblems, to prevent their
mysteries from descending to the familiar reach of inattentive and unprepared
novices, from whom they might not receive due veneration.
It is well known, that the usages and customs of masons have ever
corresponded with those of the ancient Egyptians, to which they bear a near
affinity. These philosophers, unwilling to expose their mysteries to vulgar
eyes, concealed their particular tenets and principles of polity under
hieroglyphical figures; and expressed their notions of government by signs and
symbols, which they communicated to their Magi alone, who were bound by oath not
to reveal them. Pythagoras seems to have established his system on a similar
plan, and many orders of a more recent date have copied the example. Masonry,
however, is not only the most ancient, but the most moral institution that ever
subsisted; every character, figure, and emblem, depicted in a Lodge, has a moral
tendency, and tends to inculcate the practice of virtue.
[This section closes with a definition of
The Fifth Section
The Fifth Section explains the nature and principles of our constitution, and
teaches us to discharge the duties of the different departments which we are top
sustain in the government of a lodge. Here, too, our ornaments are displayed,
our jewels and furniture specified, and proper attention is paid to our ancient
and venerable patrons.
To explain the subject of this Section, and to assist the industrious mason
to acquire it, we recommend a punctual attendance on the duties of a Lodge, and
a diligent application to the truths there demonstrated.
The Sixth Section
The Sixth Section, though the last in rank, is not the least considerable in
importance. It strengthens those which precede, and enforces in the most
engaging manner, a due regard to character and behavior, in public as well as
in private life, in the lodge as well as in the general commerce of society.
This Section forcibly inculcates the most instructive lessons. Brotherly
Love, Relief and Truth are themes on which we expatiate; while the Cardinal
Virtues claim our attention. - By the exercise of Brotherly Love, we are taught
to regard the whole human species as one family, the high and low, the rich and
poor; who, as children of one Almighty Parent and inhabitants of the same
planet, are to aid , support and protect each other. On this principle masonry
unites men of every country, sect and opinion, and conciliates true friendship
among those who might other wise have remained at a perpetual distance. - Relief
is the next tenet of the profession. To relieve the distressed, is a duty
incumbent on all men; particularly on masons, who are linked together by an
indissoluble chain of sincere affection. To soothe calamity, to alleviate
misfortune, to compassionate misery, and to restore peace to the troubled mind,
is the grand aim of the true mason. On this basis, he establishes his
friendship, and forms his connections. - Truth is a divine attribute, and the
foundation of every virtue. To be good and true is the first lesson we are
taught. On this theme we contemplate, and by its dictates endeavour to regulate
our conduct: influenced by this principle, hypocrisy and deceit are unknown,
sincerity and plain-dealing distinguish us, while the heart and tongue join in
promoting each other's welfare, and rejoicing in each other's prosperity.
To this illustration succeeds an explanation of Temperance, Fortitude,
Prudence , and Justice. - By Temperance, we are instructed to govern the
passions and check unruly desires. The health of the body, and the dignity of
the species, are equally concerned in a faithful observance of it. - By
Fortitude, we are taught to resist temptation, and encounter danger with spirit
and resolution. This virtue is equally distant from rashness and cowardice; and
he who possesses it, is seldom shaken, and never overthrown, by the storms that
surround him. - By Prudence, we are instructed to regulate our conduct by the
dictates of reason, and to judge and determine with propriety in the execution
of very than that can tend to promote either present or future well-being. In
this virtue all other depend; it is there fore the chief jewel that can adorn
the human frame.- Justice, the boundary of right, constitutes the cement of
civil society. Without the exercise of this virtue, universal confusion must
ensue; lawless force would overcome the principles of equity, and social
intercourse no longer exist. Justice in a great measure constitutes real
goodness, and therefore it is represented to be the perpetual study of the
The explanation of these virtues is accompanied with some general
observations on the Equality observed among masons. - In a Lodge no estrangement
of behaviour is discovered. Influenced by one principles, an uniformity of
opinion, useful in exigencies, and pleasing in familiar life, universally
prevails, strengthens all the ties of friendship, and equally promotes love and
esteem. Masons are brethren by a double tie, and among brothers no invidious
distinctions should still exist. Merit is always respected and honour rendered
to whom it is due. - A king is reminded, that although a crown may adorn the
head, or a sceptre the hand, the blood in the veins is derived from the common
parent of mankind. and is no better than that of the meanest subject.- The
senator and the artist are alike taught that, equally with other, they are by
nature exposed to infirmity and disease; and an unforeseen misfortune , or a
disordered frame, may impair their faculties, and level them with the most
ignorance of the species. This checks pride, and incites courtesy or behaviour.
- Men of inferior talents, or not placed by fortune on such exalted stations,
are instructed to regard their superiors with peculiar esteem, when, divested of
pride, vanity, and external grandeur, they condescend, in the badge of
friendship, to trace wisdom, and follow virtue, asserted by those who are of a
rank beneath them. Virtue is true nobility, and wisdom is the channel by which
Virtue is directed and conveyed; Wisdom and Virtues only mark distinction among
Such is the arrangement of the Sections in the Fifth Lecture of Masonry,
which including the forms adopted at opening and closing a lodge, comprehends
the whole of the First Degree. This plan has not only the advantage of
regularity to recommend it, but the support of precedent and authority, and the
sanction and respect which flow from antiquity, The whole is a regular system of
morality, conceived in s strain of interesting allegory, which readily unfolds
its beauties to the candid and industrious inquirer.
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