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the masonic manual
MASONRY is a progressive science, and is divided into different grades, or degrees, for the more regular advancement in the know ledge of its mysteries. According to the progress we make, we limit or extend our inquiries; and, in proportion to our capacity, we attain to a less or greater degree of perfection.
Masonry includes within its circle almost every branch of polite learning. Under the veil of its
mysteries is comprehended a regular system of science. Many of its illustrations, to the narrow mind, may appear unimportant; but the man of more enlarged faculties will perceive them to be, in the highest degree, useful and interesting. To please the accomplished scholar, and ingenious artist, Masonry is wisely planned; and, in the investigation of its latent doctrines, the philosopher and mathematician may experience equal delight and satisfaction.
To exhaust the various subjects of which it treats, would transcend the powers of the brightest genius; still, however, nearer approaches to perfection may be made; and the man of wisdom will not check the progress of his abilities, though the task he attempts may at first seem insurmountable. Perseverance and application remove each difficulty as it occurs; every step he advances new pleasures open to his view, and instruction of the noblest kind attends his researches. In the diligent pursuit of knowledge, the intellectual faculties are employed in promoting the glory of GOD, and the good of man.
The first degree is well calculated to enforce the duties of morality, and imprint on the memory the noblest principles which can adorn the human mind. It is therefore the best introduction to the second degree, which not only extends the same plan, but comprehends a more diffusive system of knowledge. Here, practice and theory join, in qualifying the industrious Mason to share the pleasures which an advancement of the art must necessarily afford. Listening with attention to the wise opinions of experienced craftsmen, on important subjects, he gradually familiarizes his mind to useful instruction, and is soon enabled to investigate truths of the utmost concern in the general transactions of life.
The first section of the second degree accurately elucidates the mode of introduction into that particular grade; and instructs the diligent craftsman how to proceed in the proper arrangement of the ceremonies used on the occasion. It qualifies him to judge of their importance, and convinces him of the necessity of strictly adhering to every established usage of the order. Many duties, which cement in the firmest union well-informed brethren, are illustrated in this section; and an opportunity is given to make such advances in masonry, as will always distinguish the abilities of those who have arrived at preferment.
The knowledge of this section is absolutely necessary for all craftsmen; and as it recapitulates the ceremony of initiation, and contains many other
important particulars, no officer or member of a lodge should be unacquainted with it.
The following passage of Scripture is appropriate to this degree:
"Thus he shewed me: and bebold, the LORD stood upon a wall made by a plumb-line, with a plumb-line in his hand. And the LORD said unto me, AMOS, what seest thou? and I said, a plumbline. Then said the Lord, Behold, I will set a plumb-linie in the midst of my people Israel: I will not again pass by them any more." - AMOS, vii. 7, 8.
Come, Craftsmen, assembled our pleasure to share,
We'll seek, in our labors, the Spirit Divine
See Order and Beauty rise gently to view,
The Plumb is an instrument made use of by oerative masons, to try perpendiculars; the Square, to square their work, and the Level, to prove horizontals; but we, as free and accepted Masons, are taught to make use of them for more noble and glorious purposes; the Plumb admonishes us to walk uprightly in our several stations before GOD and man, squaring our actions by the Square of Virtue, and ever remembering that we are traveling upon the Level of Time, to "that undiscovered country, from whose bourne no traveler returns."
The second section of this degree has reference to the origin of the institution, and views Masonry under two denominations-operative and speculative. These are separately considered, and the principles on which both are founded, particularly explained. Their affinity is pointed out, by allegorical figures and typical representations. The period stipulated for rewarding merit is fixed, and the inimitable moral to which that circumstance alludes is explained; the creation of the world is described, and many other particulars recited, all of which have been carefully preserved among Masons, and transmitted from one age to another by oral tradition.
Circumstances of great importance to the fraternity are here particularized, and many traditional tenets and customs confirmed by sacred and profane record. The celestial and terrestrial globes are considered with a minute accuracy; and here the accomplished craftsman may display his talents to advantage, in the elucidation of the Orders of Architecture, the Senses of human nature, and the liberal Arts and Sciences, which are severally classed in a regular arrangement. In short, this section contains a store of valuable knowledge, founded on reason and sacred record, both entertaining and instructive.
By Operative Masonry we allude to a proper application of the useful rules of architecture, whence a structure will derive figure, strength and beauty, and whence will result a due proportion and a just correspondence in all its parts. It furnishes us with dwellings, and convenient shelters from the vicissitudes and inclemencies of seasons; and while it displays the effects of human wisdom, as well in the choice as in the arrangement of the sundry materials of which an edifice is composed, it demonstrates that a fund of science and industry is implanted in man, for the best, most salutary and benificent purposes.
By Speculative Masonry, we learn to subdue the passions, act upon the square, keep a tongue of good report, maintain secrecy, and practise charity. It is so far interwoven with religion, as to lay us under obligations to pay that rational homage to the DEITY, which at once constitutes our duty and our happiness. It leads the contemplative to view, with reverence and admiration, the glorious worlds of creation, and inspires him with the most exalted ideas of the perfection of his divine Creator.
In fix days GOD created the heavens and the earth, and rested upon the seventh day; the seventh, therefore, our ancient brethren consecrated as a day of rest from their labors, thereby enjoying frequent opportunities to contemplate the glorious works of the creation, and to adore their great CREATOR.
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PEACE, UNITY, AND PLENTY are introduced, and their moral application explained.
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The doctrine of the SPHERES is included in the science of astronomy, and particularly considered in this section.
The globes are two artificial spherical bodies, on the convex surface of which are represented the countries, seas, and various parts of the earth, the face of the heavens, the planetary revolutions, and other important particulars.
Their principal use, besides serving as maps to distinguish the outward parts of the earth, and the situation of the fixed stars, is to illustrate and explain the phenomena arising from the annual revolution, and the diurnal rotation of the earth round its own axis. They are invaluable instruments for improving the mind, and giving it the most distinct idea of any problem or proposition, as well as enabling it to solve the same. Contemplating these bodies, we are inspired with a due reverence for the DEITY and his works, and are induced to encourage the studies of astronomy, geography, navigation, and the arts dependent on them, by which society has been so much benefited.
Come under consideration in this section; a brief description of them may not be improper.
OF ORDER IN ARCHITECTURE
By order in architecture, is meant a system of all the members, proportions and ornaments of columns and pilasters; or, it is a regular arrangement of the projecting parts of a building, which, united with those of a column, form a beautiful, perfect and complete whole.
OF ITS ANTIQUITY
From the first formation of society, order in architecture may be traced. When the rigor of seasons obliged men to contrive shelter from the inclemency of the weather, we learn that they first planted trees on end, and then laid others across, to support a covering. The bands which connected those trees at top and bottom, are said to have given rise to the idea of the base and capital of pillars: and, from this simple hint, originally proceeded the more improved art of architecture.
The five orders are thus classed: the TUSCAN, DORIC, IONIC, CORINTHIAN AND COMPOSITE.
Is the most simple and solid of the five orders. It was invented in Tuscany, whence it derives its name. Its column is seven diameters high; and its capital, base and entablature have but few mouldings. The simplicity of the construction of this column renders it eligible where ornament would be superfluous.
Which is plain and natural, is the most ancient, and was invented by the Greeks. Its column is eight diameters high, and has seldom any ornaments on base or capital, except mouldings; though the frieze is distinguished by triglyphs and metopes, and triglyphs compose the ornaments of the frieze. The solid composition of this order gives it a preference, in structures where strength and a noble simplicity are chiefly required. The Doric is the best proportioned of all the orders. The several parts of which it is composed are founded on the natural position of solid bodies. In its first invention it was more simple than in its present state. In after times, when it began to be adorned, it gained the name of Doric; for when it was con
structed in its primitive and simple form, the name of Tuscan was conferred on it. Hence the Tuscan precedes the Doric in rank, on account of its resemblance to that pillar in its original state.
Bears a kind of mean proportion between the more solid and delicate orders. Its column is nine diameters high; its capital is adorned with volutes, and its cornice has dentils. There is both delicacy and ingenuity displayed in this pillar; the invention of which is attributed to the Ionians, as the famous temple of DIANA, at Ephesus, was of this order. It is said to have been formed after the model of an agreeable young woman, of an elegant shape, dressed in her hair; as a contrast to the Doric order, which was formed after that of a strong, robust man.
The richest of the five orders, is deemed a master-piece of art. Its column is tenl diameters high, and its capital is adorned with two rows of leaves, and eight volutes, which sustain the abacus. The frieze is ornamented with curious devices, the cornice with dentils and modillions. This order is used in stately and superb structures.
Is compounded of the other orders, and was contrived by the Romans. Its capital has the two rows of leaves of the Corinthian and the volutes of the Ionic. Its column has quarter-rounds, as the Tuscan and Doric order; is ten diameters high, and its cornice has dentils, or simple modillions. This pillar is generally found in buildings where strength, elegance and beauty are displayed.
OF TIRE INVENTION OF ORDER IN ARCHITECTURE
The ancient and original orders of architecture, revered by Masons, are no more than three, the Doric, Ionic and Corinthian, which were invented by the Greeks. To these, the Romans have added two, the Tuscan, which they made plainer than the Doric, and the Composite, which was more ornamental, if not more beautiful, than the Corinthian. The first three orders alone, however, show invention and particular character, and essentially differ from each other; the two others have nothing but what is borrowed, and differ only accidentally; the Tuscan is the Doric in its earliest state; and the Composite is the Corinthian enriched with the Ionic. To the Greeks, therefore, and not to the Romans, we are indebted for what is great, judicious and distinct in architecture.
An analysis of the human faculties is next given in this section, in which the five external senses particularly claim attention.
The senses we are to consider as the gifts of nature, and though not the acquisition of our reasoning faculty, yet in the use of them, are still subject to reason. Reason, properly employed, confirms the documents of nature, which are always true and wholesome; she distinguishes the good from the bad; rejects the last with modesty, adheres to the first with reverence. The objects of human knowledge are innumerable; the channels by which this knowledge is conveyed are few. Among these, the perception of external things by the senses, and the information we receive from human testimony, are not the least considerable;
the analogy between them is obvious. In the testimony of nature, given by the senses, as well as in human testimony, given by information, things are signified by signs. In one as well as the other, the mind, either by original principles or by custom, passes from the sign to the conception and belief of the thing signified. The signs in the natural language, as well as the signs in our original perceptions, have the same signification in all climates and nations, and the skill of interpreting them is not acquired, but innate.
Having made these observations, we shall proceed to give a brief description of the five senses.
Is that sense by which we distinguish sounds, and are capable of enjoying all the agreeable charms of music. By it we are enabled to enjoy the pleasures of society, and reciprocally to communicate to each other our thoughts and intentions, our purposes and desires; and thus our reason is rendered capable of exerting its utmost power and energy. The wise and beneficent Author of Nature, intended by the formation of this sense, that we should be social creatures, and receive the greatest and most important part of our knowledge from social intercourse with each other. For these purposes we are endowed with hearing, that by a proper exertion of our rational powers, our happiness may be complete.
Is that sense by which we distinguish objects, and in an instant of time, without change of place or situation, view armies in battle array, figures of the most stately structures, and all the agreeable variety displayed in the landscape of nature. By this sense we find our way on the pathless ocean, traverse the globe of earth, determine its figure and dimensions, and delineate any region or quarter of it. By it we measure the planetary orbs, and make new discoveries in the sphere of the fixed stars. Nay, more, by it we perceive the tempers and dispositions, the passions and affections of our fellow creatures, when they wish most to conceal them; so that, though the tongue may be taught to lie and dissemble, the countenance will display the hypocrisy to the discerning eye. In fine, the rays of light which administer to this sense, are the most astonishing parts of the animated creation, and render the eye a peculiar object of admiration.
Of all the faculties, SIGHT is the noblest. The structure of the eye, and its appurtenances, evince the admirable contrivance of nature for performing all its various external and internal motions; while the variety displayed in the eyes of different animals, suited to their several ways of life, clearly demonstrates this organ to be the master-piece of nature's works.
Is that sense by which we distinguish the different qualities of bodies; such as heat and cold, hardness and softness, roughness and smoothness, figure, solidity, motion and extension.
These three senses, hearing, seeing, and feeling, are deemed peculiarly essential among masons.
Is that sense by which we distinguish odors, the various kinds of which convey different impressions to the mind. Animal and vegetable bodies, and indeed most other bodies, while exposed to the air, continually send forth effluvia of vast subtilty, as well in a state of life and growth, as in the state of fermentation and putrefaction. These effiuvia, being drawn into the nostrils along with the air, are the means by which all bodies are distinguished. Hence it is evident, that there is a manifest appearance of design in the great Creator's having planted the organ of smell in the inside of that canal, through which the air continually passes in respiration.
Enables us to make a proper distinction in the choice of our food. The organ of this sense guards the entrance of the alimentary canal, as that of smelling guards the entrance of the canal for respiration. From the situation of both these organs, it is plain that they were intended by nature to distinguish wholesome food from that which is nauseous. Every thing that enters into the stomach must undergo the scrutiny of tasting; and by it we are capable of discerning the changes which the same body undergoes in the different compositions of art, cookery, chemistry, pharmacy, &c.
Smelling and tasting are inseparately connected, and it is by the unnatural kind of life men commonly lead in society, that these senses are rendered less fit to perform their natural offices.
The proper use of these five senses enables us to form just and accurate notions of the operations of nature; and when we reflect on the objects with which our senses are gratified, we become conscious of them, and are enabled to attend to them, till they become familiar objects of thought.
On the mind all our knowledge must depend; what, therefore, can be a more proper subject for the investigation of Masons?
To sum up the whole of this transcendent measure of GOD'S bounty to man, we shall add, that memory, imagination, taste, reasoning, moral perception, and all the active powers of the soul, present a vast and boundless field for philosophical disquisition, which far exceeds human enquiry, and are peculiar mysteries, known only to nature, and to nature's God, to whom all are indebted for creation, reservation, and every blessing we enjoy.
Are also illustrated in this section. A brief analysis of the character of each, may not, therefore, be inappropriate in this place.
Is the key by which alone the door can be opened to the understanding of speech. It is Grammar which reveals the admirable art of language, and unfolds its various constituent parts, its names, definitions, and respective offices; it unravels, as it were, the thread of which the web of speech is composed. These reflections seldom occur to any one before their acquaintance with the art; yet it is most certain, that, without a knowledge of Grammar, it is very difficult to speak with propriety, precision, and purity.
It is by Rhetoric that the art of speaking eloquently is acquired. To be an eloquent speaker, in the proper sense of the word, is far from being either a common or an easy attainment: it is the art of being persuasive and commanding; the art, not only of pleasing the fancy, but of speaking both to the understanding and to the heart.
Is that science which directs us how to form clear and distinct ideas of things, and thereby prevents us from being misled by their similitude or resemblance. Of all the human sciences, that concerning man is certainly most worthy of the human mind, and the proper manner of conducting its several powers in the attainment of truth and knowledge. This science ought to be cultivated as the foundation or ground-work of our inquiries; particularly, in the pursuit of those sublime principles which claim our attention as masons.
Is the art of numbering, or that part ot the mathematics which considers the properties of numbers in general. We have but a very imperfect idea of things without quantity, and as imperfect of quantity itself, without the help of Arithmetic. All the works of the Almighty are made in number, weight and measure; therefore, to understand them rightly, we ought to understand arithmetical calculations, and the greater advancement we make in the mathematical sciences, the more capable we shall be of considering such things as are the ordinary objects of our conceptions, and be thereby led to a more comprehensive knowledge of our great Creator, and the works of the creation.
Treats of the powers and properties of magnitudes in general, where length, breadth and thickness are considered - from a point to a line, from a line to a superfices, and from a superfices to a solid.
A point is the beginning of all geometrical matter.
OF THE ADVANTAGES OF GEOMETRY
By this science the architect is enabled to construct his plans, and execute his designs; the general, to arrange his soldiers; the engineer, to mark out grounds for encampments; the geographer, to give us the dimensions of the world, and all things therein contained; to delineate the extent of seas, and specify the divisions of empires, kingdoms and provinces. By it, also, the astronomer is enabled to make his observations, and to fix the duration of times and seasons, years and cycles. In fine, Geometry is the foundation of architecture, and the root of the mathematics.
Is that elevated science which affects the passions by sound. There are few who have not felt its charms, and acknowledged its expressions to be intelligible to the heart. It is a language of delightful sensations, far more eloquent than words; it breathes to the ear the clearest intimations; it touches and gently agitates the agreeable and sublime passions; it wraps us in melancholy, and elevates us in joy; it dissolves and enflames; it melts us in tenderness, and excites us to war. This science is truly congenial to the nature of man; for by its powerful charms, the most discordant passions may be harmonized and brought into perfect unison: but it never sounds with such seraphic harmony, as when employed in singing hymns of gratitude to the Creator of the universe.
Is that sublime science which inspires the contemplative mind to soar aloft, and read the wisdom, strength, and beauty of the great Creator in the heavens. How nobly eloquent of the Deity is the celestial hemisphere! - spangled with the most magnificent heralds of his infinite glory! They speak to the whole universe; for there is no speech so barbarous, but their language is understood; nor nation so distant, but their voices are heard among them.
Assisted by Astronomy, we ascertain the laws which govern the heavenly bodies, and by which their motions are directed; investigate the power by which they circulate in their orbs, discover their size, determine their distance, explain their various phenomena, and correct the fallacy of the senses by the light of truth.
Here an emblem of PLENTY is introduced and explained.
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CORN. WINE. OIL.
Geometry, the first and noblest of sciences, is the Basis on which the superstructure of Free-masonry is erected. By Geometry we may curiously trace nature through her various windings, to her most concealed recesses. By it, we discover the power, wisdom and goodness of the GRAND ARTIFICER of the universe, and view with delight the proportions which connect this vast machine. By it, we discover how the planets move in their respective orbits, and demonstrate their various revolutions. By it we account for the return of the seasons, and the variety of scenes which each season displays to the discerning eye. Numberless worlds are around us, all framed by the same Divine Artist which roll through the vast expanse, and are all conducted by the same unerring law of nature.
A survey of nature, and the observation of her beautiful proportions, first determined man to imitate the divine plan, and study symmetry and order. This gave rise to societies, and birth to every useful art. The architect began to design; and the plans which he laid down, being improved by time and experience, have produced works which are the admiration of every age.
The lapse of time, the ruthless hand of ignorance, and the devastations of war, have laid waste and destroyed many valuable monuments of antiquity, on which the utmost exertions of human genius have been employed. Even the Temple of Solomon, so spacious and magnificent, and constructed by so many celebrated artists, escaped not the unsparing ravages of barbarous force. Freemasonry, notwithstanding, has still survived. The attentive ear receives the sound from the instructive tongue, and the mysteries of masonry are safely lodged in the repository of faithful breasts. Tools and implements of architecture, and symbolie emblems, most expressive, are selected by the fraternity, to imprint on the mind wise and serious truths; and thus, through a succession of ages, are transmitted unimpaired the most excellent tenets of out institution.
Thus end the two sections of the second lecture, which, with the ceremony used at the opening and closing the lodge, comprehend the second degree of masonry. This lecture contains a regular system of science, demonstrated on the clearest principles, and founded on the most stable foundation.
BROTHER: - Being passed to the second degree of Free-masonry, we congratulate you on your preferment. The internal, and not the external qualifications of a man, are what masonry regards. As you increase in knowledge, you will improve in social intercourse.
It is unnecessary to recapitulate the duties which, as a Fellow Craft, you are bound to discharge, or to enlarge on the necessity of a strict adherence to them, as your own experience must have established their value. Our laws and regulations you are strenuously to support; and be always ready to assist in seeing them duly executed. You are not to palliate, or aggravate, the offences of your brethren; but in the decision of every trespass against our rules. you are to judge with candor, admonish with friendship, and reprehend with justice.
The study of the liberal arts, that valuable branch of education, which tends so effectually to polish and adorn the mind, is earnestly recommended to your consideration; especially the science of Geometry, which is established as the basis our art. Geometry, or Masonry, originally synonymous terms, being of a divine and moral nature, is enriched with the most useful knowledge; while it proves the wonderful properties of nature, it demonstrates the more important truths of morality.
Your past behavior and regular deportment have merited the honor which we have now conferred; and in your new character, it is expected that you will conform to the principles of the order, by steadily persevering in the practice of every commendable virtue. Such is the nature of your enagemernts as a Fellow Craft, and to these duties you are bound by the most sacred ties.
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Last modified: March 22, 2014