|p. II||Northern District of New York to wit:
BE IT REMEMBERED, That on the fourteenth day of August, in the fifty-first year of the Independence of the United States of America, A. D. 1826, William Morgan, of the said district, hath deposited in this office the title of a book, the right whereof he claims as author, in the words following, to wit:
"Illustrations of Masonry, by one of the fraternity who has devoted thirty years to the subject. 'God said, Let there be light, and there was light.' "
In conformity to the act of Congress of the United States, entitled "An act for the encouragement of learning, by securing the copies of maps, charts and books, to the authors and proprietors of such copies, during the time therein mentioned," and also to the act entitled "An act supplementary to the act entitled "An act for the encouragement of learning, by securing the copies of maps, charts and books, to the authors and proprietors of such copies, during the time therein mentioned,' and extending the benefits thereof to the arts of designing, engraving, and etching historical and other prints."
(WRITTEN FOR THE ORIGINAL EDITION.
In the absence of the author, or rather compiler of the following work, who was kidnapped and carried away from the village of Batavia, on the 11th day of September, 1826, by a number of Freemasons, it devolves upon the publisher to attempt to set forth some of the leading views that governed those who embarked in the undertaking.
To contend with prejudice, and to struggle against customs and opinions, which superstition, time, and ignorance have hallowed, requires time, patience, and magnanimity. When we begin to pull down the strongholds of error, the batteries we level against them, though strong, and powerful; and victorious at last, are at first received with violence; and when in our conquering career we meet with scoffs and revilings from the beseiged partisans of untenable positions, it the more forcibly impresses us we are but men; and that in every work of reformation and renovation we must encounter various difficulties. For a full confirmation of our statement we might refer to the history of the world. It is not our intention, however, to give a full detail of the whims and caprices of man to bring forth the historic records of other years as proof of the windings and shiftings of the various characters who have "Strutted their brief hour on life's stage" in order to convince that customs, associations, and institutions are like the lives of the authors and abettors, fleeting and fragile. Many of them rise up as bubbles on the ocean, and die away. Circumstances give them existence, and when these causes cease to exist, they go into the same gulf of oblivion as countless exploded opinions and tenets have gone before them. The mind that formed and planned them, goes on in its dazzling flight, bounding over barrier after barrier, till it has arrived at the ultimate goal of consummation.
The daily occurrences before us bring forth the full conviction that the emanation from the God of light is gradually ascending to regions of greater intellectual brilliancy.
|p. IV|| When we view man,
in the infancy of society, as in the childhood of his existence, he is weak, powerless and
defenceless; but in his manhood and riper years, he has grown to his full stature, and
stands forth in commanding attitude, the favored and acknowledged lord of the world. For
his comfort and well-being as a member of society, rules and regulations are necessary. In
the various stages of his progress, these systematic improvements undergo various changes,
according to circumstances and situations. What is proper and necessary in one grade of
society, is wholly useless, and may be alarming in another. Opinions and usages that go
down in tradition, and interfere not with our improvements in social concerns, adhere to
us more closely and become entwined in all our feelings. It is to this we owe our bigoted
attachment to antiquityit is this that demands from us a superstitious reverence for
the opinions and practices of men of former times, and closes the ear against truth, and
blinds the eyes to the glare of new lights and new accessions of knowledge through which
medium only can they break in upon the mind.
We have within ourselves the knowledge; and everywhere around us the proofs that we are beings destined not to stand still. In our present state of advancement, we look with pity on the small progress of our fathers in arts and sciences, and social institutions; and when compared with our elevated rank, we have just cause of pride and of grateful feelings. They did well for the times in which they lived, but to the ultimatum of perfectability we are nearer, and in the monuments we have before us of the skill and genius of our times and age, we have only fulfilled these destinies for which we were created; and we object to every obstacle that opposes or attempts to oppose the will of heaven.
In the present enlightened state to which society has advanced, we contend that the opinions and tenets and pretended secrecies of "olden times," handed down to us, should be fully, fairly and freely canvassed; that from the mist and darkness which have hung over them, they should come out before the open light of day, and be subject to the rigid test of candid investigation. These, preliminary remarks lead as to the main object of our introduction.
We come to lay before the world the claims of an institution
|p. V||which has been sanctioned by ages, venerated for wisdom, exalted for "light;" but, an institution whose benefits have always been overrated, and whose continuance is not in the slightest degree, necessary. We meet it with its high requirements, its "time honored customs," its swelling titles, and shall show it in its nakedness and simplicity. Strip it of its "borrowed trappings" and it is a mere nothing, a toy not now worthy the notice of a child to sport with. We look back to it as, at one period, a "cement of society and bond of union"we view it as, at one time, a venerable fortbut now in ruinswhich contained within its walls many things that dignified and adorned human nature. We give it due credit for the services it has done; but at present when light has gone abroad into the utmost recesses and corners of the world--when information is scattered wide around us, and knowledge is not closeted in cloisters and cells but "stalks abroad with her beams of light, and her honors and rewards," we may now, when our minority has expired, act up to our character and look no longer to Masonry as our guide and conductor; it has nothing in it now valuable that is not known to every inquiring mind. It contains, wrapped up in its supposed mysteries, no useful truth, no necessary knowledge that has not gone forth to the world through other channels and by other means. If we would have a knowledge of sacred historyof the religion and practices of the Jews, and the terms and technicalities of the Mosaic institutions, we can have recourse to the Bible. If we wish further communications from heaven, we have open to our view the pages of the New Testament. If we would "climb the high ascent of human science, and trace the mighty progress of human genius in every gigantic effort of mind in logic, geometry, mathematics, chemistry, and every other branch of knowledge," we ridicule the idea that Masonry, in her retirements, contains the arts and sciences. The sturdiest Mason in the whole fraternity is not bold enough to uphold or maintain the opinion for one moment in sober reality. The origin of the institution is easily traced to the rude ages of the worldto a body of mechanics, or a corporation of operative workmen, who formed signs and regulations, the more easily to carry on their work, and to protect their order. [The very obligations solemnly tendered to every member,|
|p. VI||carry the strongest internal evidence of
the semi-barbarity that prevailed at the time of the institution of the order,] In the
course of time, as society increased, and knowledge became more general, it spread, and
embracing in its grasp other objects than at first, it enrolled in its ranks men of the
first respectability in wealth, talents and worth. But that there is anything
intrinsically valuable in the signs, symbols, or words of Masonry, no man of sense will
contend. That there is not any hidden secret which operates as a talismanic charm on its
possessors, every man of intelligence, Mason or no Mason, must candidly acknowledge. It is
worse than idleness for the defenders of the order, at the present day to entrench
themselves behind their outward showthe semblance before the worldand to say
they are in possession of superior knowledge.
We pretend not to act under a cover. We shall "tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth." Masonry, it is true, has long been eulogized in songit has formed the burthen of the poet's theme, and been the subject of the orator's best performances. Fancy has been almost exhausted in bringing out "new flowers to deck the fairy queen;" but when we come behind the scenes, what is the picture we behold? Are we to rest satisfied with the ipse dixit of others, or to examine the truth for ourselves? The touchstone is before our readers in the present publication.
Masonry is of itself naked and worthless. It consists of gleanings from the Holy Scriptures, and from the arts and sciences, which have shone in the world. Linking itself with philosophy and science and religion, on this it rests all its claims to veneration and respect. Take away this borrowed aid, and it falls into ruins.
Much weight is still attached to the argument, that as a tie uniting menthat, as a significant speech, symbolically speaking every language, and at the same time embodying in its constitution everything that is valuable, it should command respect. We meet this argument with facts that cannot be controverted. We put it on a basis that will fling into the back ground every quibble and artifice on the subject; and, in the language of a polemic writer, we challenge opposition to our positon.
The religion inculcated by the Son of Man does all this;
|p. VII||and in no possible situation can man be
placed, that the benign influence of Christianity does not completely supersede the use of
a mere human institution. Place a brother in a desert, unfriended and unkown,leave
him in a wilderness where human footsteps never printed the ground, the Divine Benefactor
is at his side, and watches over him with parental guidance. Let him be driven on a
barbarous coast, in the midst of savage men, and there it is that the breathings of the
divine influence spreads around him its shield, brings him into civilized societyin
the busy walks of men and are we to be told, as members of community, sojourners on earth,
and candidates for heaven, we must be taught our duty at a Mason's lodge? Wherever Masonry
exercises its influence with success, there Christianity can have, or should have a more
powerful effect. Whenever Masonry claims "kindred with the skies," and exalts
herself above every living sublunary thing, then, with an unhallowed step, it obtrudes on
the sacred borders of religion, and decks itself in borrowed garments.
Entrenched within these strong wallsdecked with all the glitter of high sounding professions, claiming what does not belong to it,it dazzles "but to bewilder and destroy." In its train, in these United States, are enrolled many periodical works devoted to Masonry; and under the guise of patronizing mechanicsthe arts and scienceslend their aid to carry on the imposing delusion. They take up the specious title of throwing a little illumination on this benighted country, from their secret depositories. Arrogating to itself what should deck other's browsassuming to be the parton, the life and soul of all that is great and valuableit deceives many of its votaries, and from its gaudy premises the most untenable and onerous conclusions are drawn.
Are we astonished at the wild and heedless manner in which many of the votaries of Masonry rush into every excess, putting at defiance the laws of our civil institutions, which suffer no one to put in jeopardy, but by due forms, and disregarding the command of the Most High, which says, "Thou shalt not kill?" we can readily trace the cause to the impressions and practices obtained from its false tenets and descriptive arrogance. Masonry is to the modern world what the whore of Babylon was to the ancient; and is the
|p. VIII||beast with seven heads and ten horns,
ready to tear out our bowels, and scatter them to the four winds of heaven.
Masonry gives rogues and evil-minded characters an opportunity of visiting upon their devoted victim, all the ills attending combined power, when exerted to accomplish destruction. It works unseen, at all silent hours, and secret times and places; and, like death when summoning his diseases, pounces upon its devoted subject, and lays him prostrate in the dust. Like the great enemy of man, it has shown its cloven foot, and put the public upon its guard against its secret machinations.
This part of the subject requires no further discussion either by way of ridicule or downright sincerity, but the remark which cannot be too often reiterated, that the world, in its present advanced state, requires no such order for our social intercourse; and when the Masonic mania prevails as it now does in this country, we are exalting a mere human ordinance, with its useless trumpery and laughable accompaniments, for the sublime and unadorned lessons of Heaven.
To some men it is galling and mortifying in the extreme to give up their darling systems. With the increase of years their fondness becomes so great that they cling to them with wild and bewildered attachment. But we would ask them, where now are the Knights of Malta and Jerusalem, and the objects that called forth their perils and journeyings? Where are the crusades and excursions on which our Grand Commanders, Generalissimos and Sir Knights are to be engaged. . . . . . . . . In no other excursions than Cervantes describes of his redoubtable hero Don Quixote. The days and occasions that called forth these deeds of chivalry and valor have passed like those before the flood; and the mock dignitaries and puppet show actions of Masons in their imitation call forth pity and indignation. When we now see the gaudy show in a lodge-room, and a train of nominal officers with their distinction and badges, it may give us some faint idea of scenes that are past, and may gratify an idle curiosity, but produces no substantial good under heaven. When monasteries and cloisters, and inquisitor's cells and prisons have been broken up before the sweeping march of the moral mind, why this unnecessary mummery should be so much countenanced in this country, above all other
|p. IX||countries in the world, is a matter of
The day we trust will never arrive here, when ranks in Masonry will be stepping-stones to places of dignity and powerwhen this institution will be a machine to press down the free born spirit of men. We have now no tyrant to rule over usno kingly potentate to move over our heads the rod of authority; but high in our elevation, and invincible in our strongholds, we put at defiance secret cabals and associations. The public opinion is like a mighty river, and gigantic in its course it will sweep every interposing obstacle before it.
In the work which we submit to the public we have given false coloring to nothing; nor in these remarks have we set down aught in malice. In the firm discharge of our undertaking we have been stern and unbending as the rugged mountain oak; and persecutions, pains and perils have not deterred us from our purpose. We have triumphed over tumult, and clamor, and evil speaking.
When our book goes out to the world, it will meet with attacks of a violent nature from one source, and men of mock titles and order will endeavor to heap upon it every calumny. Men more tenacious of absolute forms and practice than they are attentive to truth and honor, will deny our expositions, and call us liars and impostors.
Such is the treatment, however ungenerous and unjust, which we expect to meet, and for which we are prepared. Truth, we know, is majestic and will finally prevail. The little petty effusions of malice that will be thrown out, will die with their authors, whom this work will survive.
We now aver, in defiance of whatever may be said to the contraryno matter by whom, how exalted his rankthat this book is what it pretends to be; that it is a master key to the secrets of Masonry; that in the pages before him, the man of candor and inquiry can judge for himself, and then a proper judgment will be formed of our intention.
A Description of the Ceremonies used in opening a
One rap calls the lodge to orderone calls up the junior and Senior Deaconstwo raps call up all the subordinate officers, and three, all the members of the lodge.
The Master having called the lodge to order, and the officers all seated, the Master says to the Junior Warden, 'Brother junior, are they all Entered Apprentice Masons in the south?'
Ans. 'They are, Worshipful.'
Master to the Senior Warden, 'Brother Senior, are they all Entered Apprentice Masons in the west?'
Ans. 'They are, Worshipful.'
The Master then says, 'They are, in the east,' at the same time he gives a rap with the common gavel or mallet, which calls up both Deacons.
Master to Junior Deacon, 'Brother Junior, the first care of a Mason?'
Ans. 'To see the lodge tyled, Worshipful.'
Master to Junior Deacon, 'Attend to that part of your duty, and inform the Tyler that we are about to open a lodge of Entered Apprentice Masons, and direct him to tyle accordingly.' The Junior Deacon then steps to the door and gives three raps, which are answered by three raps from without; the Junior Deacon then gives one, which is also answered by the Tyler with one; the door is then partly opened and the Junior Deacon delivers his message, and resumes his situation
|p. 12||and says, 'The door is tyled,
Worshipful.' (at the same time giving the due-guard, which is never omitted when the
Master is addressed.)
The Master to Junior Deacon, 'Brother, by whom?'
Ans. 'By a Master Mason without the door, armed with the proper implement of his office.'
Master to Junior Deacon, 'His duty there?'
Ans. 'To keep off all cowans and eaves-droppers, see that none pass or repass without permission from the Master.' (Some say without permission from the chair.)
Master to Junior Deacon, 'Brother Junior, your place in the lodge?'
Ans. 'At the right hand of the Senior Warden in the west.'
Master to Junior Deacon, 'Your business there, Brother Junior?'
Ans. 'To wait on the Worshipful Master and Wardens, act as their proxy in the active duties of the lodge, and take charge of the door.'
Master to Junior Deacon, 'The Senior Deacon's place in the lodge?'
Ans. 'At the right hand of the Worshipful Master in the east.' [The Master, while asking the last questions gives two raps, which call up all the subordinate officers.]
Master to Senior Deacon, 'Your duty there, Brother Senior?'
Ans. 'To wait on the Worshipful Master and Wardens, act as their proxy in the active duties of the lodge, attend to the preparation and introduction of candidates, and welcome and clothe all visiting Brethren. [i.e., furnish them with an apron.]
Master to Senior Deacon, 'The Secretary's place in the lodge, Brother Senior?'
Ans. 'At the left hand of the Worshipful Master in the cast.'
Master to the Secretary, 'Your duty there, Brother Secretary?'
Ans. 'The better to observe the Worshipful Master's will and pleasure, record the proceedings of the lodge; transmit a copy of the same to the Grand Lodge, if required; receive all moneys and money bills from the hands of the Brethren, pay them over to the Treasurer, and take his receipt for the same.'
|p. 13|| The Master to the
Secretary, 'The Treasurer's place in the lodge?'
Ans. 'At the right hand of the Worshipful Master.'
Master to Treasurer, 'Your duty there, Brother Treasurer?'
Ans. 'Duly to observe the Worshipful Master's will and pleasure; receive all moneys and money bills from the hands of the Secretary; keep a just and true account of the same; pay them out by order of the Worshipful Master and consent of the Brethren.'
The Master to the Treasurer, "The Junior Warden's place in the lodge, Brother Treasurer?'
Ans. 'In the south, Worshipful.'
Master to Junior Warden, 'Your business there, Brother Junior?'
Ans. 'As the sun in the south at high meridian is the beauty and glory of the day, so stands the Junior Warden in the south, the better to observe the time, call the crafts from labor to refreshment, superintend them during the hours thereof, see that none convert the hours of refreshment into that of intemperance or excess; and call them out again in due season, that the Worshipful Master may have honor, and they profit and pleasure thereby.'
Master to the Junior Warden, 'The Senior Warden's place in the lodge?'
Ans. 'In the west, Worshipful.'
Master to Senior Warden, 'Your duty there, Brother Senior?'
Ans. 'As the sun sets in the west to close the day, so stands the Senior Warden in the west to assist the Worshipful Master in opening his lodge, take care of the jewels and implements, see that none be lost, pay the craft their wages, if any be due, and see that none go away dissatisfied.'
Master to the Senior Warden, 'The Master's place in the lodge?'
Ans. 'In the east, Worshipful.'
Master to the Senior Warden, 'His duty there?'
Ans. 'As the sun rises in the cast to open and adorn the
|p. 15||day, so presides the Worshipful Master in
the east to open and adorn his lodge, set his crafts to work with good and wholesome laws,
or cause the same to be done.' The Master now gives three raps, when all the brethren
rise, and the Master taking off his hat, proceeds as follows: In like manner so do I,
strictly forbidding all profane language, private committees, or any other disorderly
conduct whereby the peace and harmony of this lodge may be interrupted while engaged in
its lawful pursuits, under no less penalty than the by-laws, or such penalty as the
majority of the Brethren present may see fit to inflict. Brethren, attend to giving the
signs.' [Here lodges differ very much. In some they declare the lodge opened as follows,
before they give the signs:]
The Master (all the Brethren imitating him) extends his left arm from his body so as to form an angle of about forty-five degrees, and holds his right hand transversely across his left, the palms thereof about one inch apart. This is called the Due Guard, and alludes to the position a Candidate's hands are placed in when he takes the obligation of an Entered Apprentice Mason. The Master then draws his right hand across his throat, the band open, with the thumb next to his throat, and drops it down by his side. This is called the penal sign of an Entered Apprentice Mason, (many call it sign) and alludes to the penalty of the obligation. (See obligation.) The Master then declares the lodge opened in the following manner: 'I now declare this lodge of Entered Apprentice Masons duly opened for dispatch of business.' The Senior Warden declares it to the Junior Warden, and he to the Brethren. 'Come, Brethren, let us pray.'One of the following prayers is used:
Most holy and glorious God! the great architect of the Universe; the giver of all good gifts and graces: Thou hast promised that 'Where two or three are gathered together in thy name, thou wilt be in the midst of them and bless them.' In thy name we assemble, most humbly beseeching thee to bless us in all our undertakings; that we may know and
|p. 16||serve thee aright, and that all our
actions may tend to thy glory and our advancement in knowledge and virtue. And we beseech
thee, O Lord God, to bless our present assembling; and to illuminate our minds through the
influence of the Son of Righteousness, that we may walk in the light of thy countenance;
and when the trials of our probationary state are over, be admitted into the temple, not
made with hands, eternal in the heavens. Amen. So mote it be.
Another prayer, as often used at opening as closing:
Behold, how good and pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity; it is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard, that went down to the skirts of his garment; as the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion, for there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life forever more. Amen. So mote it be.
The lodge being now open and ready to proceed to business, the Master directs the Secretary to read the minutes of the last meeting, which naturally brings to view the business of the present.
If there are any candidates to be brought forward, that will be the first business to be attended to. I will therefore proceed with a description of the ceremonies used in the admission and initiation of a candidate into the first degree of Masonry.
A person wishing to become a Mason must get some one who is a Mason to present his petition to a lodge, when, if there are no serious objections, it will be entered on the minutes, and a committee of two or three appointed to enquire into his character, and report to the next regular communication. The following is a form of petition used by a candidate; but a worthy candidate will not be rejected for the want of formality in his petition:
To the Worshipful Master, Wardens and Brethren of Lodge No. , of Free and Accepted Masons.
The subscriber, residing in , of lawful age, and by occupation a , begs leave to state that, unbiased by friends, and uninfluenced by mercenary motives, he freely and voluntarily offers himself a candidate for the mysteries of Masonry, and that he is prompted to solicit this privilege by a favorable opinion conceived of the institution a desire
|p. 17||of knowledge, and a sincere wish of being
serviceable to his fellow creatures. Should his petition be granted, he will cheerfully
conform to all the ancient established usages and customs of the fraternity.
At the next regular communication, (if no very serious objection appears against the candidate) the ballot boxes will be passed; one black ball will reject a candidate. The boxes may be passed three times. The Deacons are the proper persons to pass them. One of the boxes has black and white beans or balls in it, the other empty, the one with the balls in it goes before, and furnishes each member with a black and white ball; the empty box follows and receives them. There are two holes in the top of this box with a small tube, (generally) in each, one of which is black and the other white, with a partition in the box. The members put both their balls into this box as their feelings dictate; when the balls are received, the box is presented to the Master, Senior and Junior Wardens, who pronounce clear or not clear, as the case may be. The ballot proving clear, the candidate (if present) is conducted into a small preparation room, adjoining the lodge when he is asked the following questions and gives the following answers. Senior Deacon to Candidate, "Do you sincerely declare, upon your honor before these gentlemen, that, unbiased by friends, uninfluenced by unworthy motives, you freely and voluntarily offer yourself a candidate for the mysteries of Masonry.?"
Ans. "I do."
Senior Deacon to candidate. "Do you sincerely declare, upon your honor before these gentlemen, that you are prompted to solicit the privileges of Masonry by a favorable opinion conceived of the institution, a desire of knowledge, and a sincere wish of being serviceable to your fellow creatures?"
Ans. "I do."
Senior Deacon to candidate, "Do you sincerely declare upon your honor before these gentlemen, that you will cheerfully conform to all the ancient established usages and customs of the fraternity?"
Ans. "I do."
After the above questions are proposed and answered and the result reported to the Master, he says, "Brethren
|p. 18||at the request of Mr. A. B. he has
been proposed and accepted in regular form. I therefore recommend him as a proper
candidate for the mysteries of Masonry and worthy to partake of the privileges of the
fraternity and in consequence of a declaration of his intentions, voluntarily made, I
believe he will cheerfully conform to the rules of the order."
The candidate during the time is divested of all his apparel (shirt excepted) and furnished with a pair of drawers kept in the lodge for the use of candidates. The candidate is then blindfolded, his left foot bare, his right in a slipper, his left breast and arm naked, and a rope called a Cable-tow round his neck and left arm, [the rope is not put round the arm in all lodges] in which posture the candidate is conducted to the door where he is caused to give, or the conductor gives three distinct knocks, which are answered by three from within; the conductor gives one more, which is also answered by one from within. The door is then partly opened and the Senior Deacon generally asks, 'Who comes there? Who comes there? Who comes there?"
The conductor, alias the Junior Deacon answers, "A poor blind candidate who has long been desirous of having and receiving a part of the rights and benefits of this worshipful lodge, dedicated (some say erected) to God, and held forth to the holy order of St. John, as all true fellows and brothers have done who have gone this way before him."
The Senior Deacon then asks, "Is it of his own free will and accord he makes this request? Is he duly and truly prepared? worthy and well qualified? and properly avouched for?" All of which being answered in the affirmative, the Senior Deacon to the junior Deacon: "By what further rights does he expect to obtain this benefit?"
Ans. "By being a man, free born, of lawful age, and under the tongue of good report."
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