« הקודםהמשך »
mary of the whole, and annexing to every remark the particulars to which the section alludes. By these means the industrious mason will be instructed in the regular arrangement of the seetions in each lecture, and be enabled with more ease to acquire a knowledge of the art.
The first lecture of masonry is divided into three sections, and each section into different clauses. Virtue is painted in the most beautiful colours, and the duties of morality are enforced. In it we are taught such useful lessons as prepare the mind for a regular advancement in the principles of knowledge and philosophy. 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 in this lecture is suited to all capacities, and may and ought to be known by every person who ranks 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 more amply explained in the following sections.
A Prayer used at the Initiation of a Candidate.
« 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 competency of thy divine wisdom, that, by the secrets of our art, he may be better enabled to display the beauties of virtuousness, to the honour of thy holy name! Amen.”
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 pecu• liar to masons alone, to require his cheerful acquiescence to the duties of morality and virtue, and all the sacred tenets of the order.
Towards the close of this section is explained that peculiar ensign of masonry, the lamb-skin, or white leather apron, which is an emblem of innocence, and the badge of a mason ; more ancient than the golden fleece or Roman eagle ; more honourable than the star and garter, or any other order that could be conferred upon the candidate at the time of his initiation, or at any time thereafter, by king, prince, potentate, or any other person except he be a mason; and which every one ought to wear with equal pleasure to himself, and honour to the fraternity.
This section closes with an explanation of the working tools and implements of an entered apprentice, which are the twenty-four inch gauge, and the common gavel.
The twenty-four inch gauge is an instrument made use of by operative masons, to measure and lay out their work; but we, as free and accepted masons, are taught to make use of it for the more noble and glorious purpose of dividing our time. It being divided into twenty-four equal parts, is emblematical of the twenty-four hours of the day, which we are taught to divide into three equal parts, whereby we find eight hours for the service of God and a distressed worthy brother ; eight hours for our usual avocations; and eight for refreshment and sleep."*
*« The most effectual expedient employed by Alfred the Great, for the encouragement of learning, was his own example, and the coustant assiduity with which he employed himself in the pursait of knowledge. He usually divided his
The common gavel is an instrument made use of by operative masons, to break off the corners of rough stones, the better to fit them for the builder's use; but we, as free and accepted masons, are aught to make use of it for the more noble and glorious purpose of divesting our minds and consciences of all the vices and superfluities of life, thereby fitting our bodies, as living stones, for that spiritual building, that house not made with hande, eternal in the heavens.
The Second Section.
The second section rationally accounts for the origin of our hieroglyphical instruction, and convinces us of the advantages which will ever accompany a faithful observance of our duty: it maintains, beyond the power of contradiction, the propriety of our rites, while it demonstrates to the most sceptical and hesitating mind, their excellency and utility; 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.
tinie iuto three equal portions; one was employed in sleep and the refection of his body; another in the dispatch of business; and a third in study and devotion."
Hume's History of England. D
To make a daily progress in the art, is our 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 symbolical mysteries 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, universally adopting this method of inculcating the tenets of their order by typical figures and allegorical emblems, prevent their mysteries from descending into the familiar reach of inattentive and unprepared novices, from whom they might not receive due veneration.
Our records inform us, that the usages and customs of masons have ever corresponded with those of the Egyptian philosophers, to which they bear a near affinity. Unwilling to expose their mysteries, to vulgar eyes, they 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. The Pythagorean system seems to have been established on