Imatges de pàgina
PDF
EPUB

only to earn a sufficiency for themselves and families, but, likewise, have something to spare for works of cha rity and mercy. Every person desirous of admission, must also be upright jo body, not deformed nor dismembered, but of hale and entire limbs as a man ought to be.

It is contrary to the rules of masonry, that a brother should propose for admission any person through friendship or partiality, who is not a man of unblemished reputation, and who is not supposed to be exempt from those vices and ill qualities, which would bring dishonour on the craft.

Every person desirous of being made a free-mason should be proposed by a member, who should give the candidate's name, age, occupation, residence, and other necessary information concerning him. It is also requisite, that such proposal should be seconded by one or more members. Such proposal should be made at least at one meeting of the lodge, prior to initiation, in order that the brethren may have sufficient time to make a strict inquiry into the character of the candidate. For this purpose, a special committee is usually appointed in country lodges ; but in New-York, Philadelphia, Bal. timore, Boston, and other cities of the United States, this duty generally devolves on a standing committee.

The brother, who proposes a candidate should also, at the same time, deposit such a sum for him as the by-laws of the lodge may require, and this is forfeited, if the candidate should not come forward agreeably to his proposal; but it is to be returned if he should not be approved of. In case of his being elected, he is to pay, in addition to his deposit, such further sum as the laws of the lodge may require.

Men in low circumstances, although possessed of some education and of good morals, are not fit to be members of this institution. They ought previous to their applica

tion for admission, to consider their income, and the situation of their families, and know, thatfree-masonry requires not only knowledge, but attendance, and a decent external appearance, to maintain and support its ancient respectability and grandeur. .

All applications for initiation should be made in writing, and the petitions ought to be filed by the secretary. The following may answer as a form for any one, who may wish to become a member.

“ To the worshipful master, senior and junior wars dens, and brethren of lodge, No. :

- The petition of A. B. most respectfully sheweih,

“ That he has been long desirous of becom. ing a member of your ancient and honourable society, the principles of which, he has every reason to believe, are founded in morality, virtue, and religion. He, thereore, prays, that he may be admitted as a member, if, after due examination, he shall be found worthy.

“ His place of residence is at his age years, his occupation

(Signed) “A. B.99 The candidate has a right before his admission, to desire his friend, who proposed him, to show him the war. rant or dispensation, by which the lodge is held ; which, if genuine, he will find to be an instrument either written or printed on parchment, and subscribed by some grand master or his deputy, the grand wardens and grandsecretary, sealed with the grand lodge seal, constituting particular persons, therein named, as master and wardens, with full power to congregate and hold a lodge, at such a place as they may think proper, and therein "make and admit free-masons according to the ancient and bonourable custom of the royal craft, in all nations

and ages throughout the world, with full power and authority to nominate and choose their successors, &c.”

The candidate may also request the perusal of the bylaws, and a list of the members of the lodge, by which he will be better enabled to judge, whether they are such persons as he could wish to associate with, and whether he could cheerfully submit to its rules. In this order, it ought to be observed, that there is no compulsion. Every one previous to his receiving even the first degree, must declare, that it is of his own free will and accord

Previously to his introduction, every candidate ought to subscribe a declaration to the following purport :

“I, A. B. do seriously declare, upon my honour, that unbjassed by friends, and uninfluenced by unworthy motives, I freely and voluntarily offer myselt as a candidate for the mysteries of free-masonry ; that I am solely prompted to this measure by a favourable opinion which I have conceived of the institution, a desire for knowledge, and a sincere wish to be serviceable to my fellow creatures. And I do further solemnly promise, that I will cheerfully conform to the ancient established usages and customs of the society. As witness my hand this day of

in the year

(Signed) 6 A. B." “ Witness, C. D.”

In many lodges, however, questions are proposed to the candidate, in an adjoining apartment, previous to his initiation, which will naturally lead him to express sentiments similar to those mentioned in the preceding declaration.'

No farther observations on this part of the subject are necessary. The candidate for admission, who will peruse them with attention will obtain all that information,

which will be necessary for his guidance previous to his being admitted into the arcana of free masonry.

CHAPTER VII.

On Secrecy. Tus, amongst free-masons, as has been already observed, is a prerequisite indispensably necessary. Some of those, however, who are opposed to the institution, assert that there ought to be no secrets, and that if the institution were good, its principles ought not to be concealed from the world. But its principles are not concealed. Benevolence, charity, humanity, and all the other virtues are its professed objects, and though there be many who do not adhere to the rules, prescribed for the conduct of the craft, and thereby disgrace the order, it does not follow, that the rest of the fraternity should be vilified on that account; we might as well stigmatize the twelve apostles, because one of them proved a traitor, or the divine religion of the blessed Jesus, because many of its professors deviate from its holy precepts.

God, in the manifestation which he hath made of him self to mankind, hath distinguished himself as the most amiable of beings, and that his essence is love. He bath declared, that our best service consists in the ex. ' ercise of this affection towards him, and prefers a voluntary service to the most costly oblation. “ Perfect love (saith the apostle), casteth out fear ;" and the whole tenour of scripture represents complacency and acquiescence in the Divine attributes and conditions, as the highest perfection of rational beings ; so as the poet well observes,

“ He, who but wishes to subvert the laws
Of order, sins against the cternal cause."

And with us, let it be the subject of our unremitting endeavours, to take off the guise from imposters, who would pass themselves upon us under the title of men of honour and humanity, and let the business of our future lives be to cultivate humanity and

6 Grasp the whole world of reason, life and sense,
In one close system of benevolence.;.

Secrecy, however, we maintain to be a virtue of primary importance, and believe, that we establish the position from sacred as well as profane history. In both, it will be found that a great number of virtuous attempts never reached their designed ends, through defect of concealment, and that infinite evils have thereby ensued.

But before all other examples, let us consider that, which surpasseth all the rest, being derived from the great God bimself, who especially preserves his own secrets, so that he never lets any man know what is to happen on to-morrow; por could the wise men in ages past foretell what would befall us in the present day. The following passages from the sacred scriptures abundantly show, that there is no evil in keeping secrets ; but that on the contrary, secrecy is, in certain cases, a duty incumbent on us. A tale bearer revealeth secrets ; but he that is of a faithful spirit, concealeth the matter. Proverbs xi. 13. Debate thy cause with thy neighbour himself, and discover not a secret to another, least he that heareth it put thee to shame, and thine infamy turn not away. Proverbs xxv. 9. Surely the Lord God will do nothing ; but he revealeth his secrets unto his servants the prophets. Amos iji. 7 But when thou doest alms, let not thy right hand know what thy left hand doeth, that thine alms may be in secret, and thy father which seeth in secret, may reward thee openly. Mat. iv. 3 and 4. To the same purport, many more passages might be adduced ; but it

« AnteriorContinua »