« הקודםהמשך »
hood-winked ; to have a halter round the neck, and to be led by that halter, with a sword pointed to the breast; and to be slipshod. In this state, must a man submit to be led blindfolded, into a room full of company, who, of course, are tittering at the 'new, blind, and naked dupe, and what is to follow, whether de
cent or indecent, he knows not. He is warned, that, if he at. tempts to retreat, the halter will strangle him, and if he presses forward, he will stab himself with the sword that is made to touch his breast. I repeat, that a honourable high-minded man could never submit to such a degradation : he is ever after dishonoured : a base thing, whose oath or whose word I would not value at a rush, until he felt a positive shame at what he had passed through, in being initiated into the foolery called Masonry. The form of initiation is thus:• The Declaration presented to the Lodge, and the Candidate proposed and approved, which is done by a ballot, if there be a division, a Brother called a Steward, is sent out to prepare him in ao antichamber. This preparation consists of giving up all money, of putting off your dress to a nakedness above the small clothes, one knee bare, and to exchange your shoes for a loose pair of slippers, or, at least, to have your right heel loose and not confined in the shoe. You are blindfolded, and a rope, which is technically called, a Cable Tow, is put round your neck. In this state, the Steward leads you to the Tiler, or Outer Guard of the Lodge Door. The Tiler has to examine and see the candidate properly prepared, and to announce his approach by three knocks.
The Inner Guard announces an alarm, and is ordered to ask who is there. The Steward or Tiler answers:
A poor candidate is in a state of darkness, who comes of his own free will and accord, and also properly prepared, humbly soliciting to be admitted to the mysteries and privileges of Freemasonry.
I. G. How does he hope to obtain those privileges ?
T. By the help of God and the square of good report. • I. G. Halt, till I make due report. (turning to the Master) Worshipful Master-a poor candidate, in a state of darkness, who has been well and worthily recommended, regularly proposed and approved in open Lodge, now comes of his own free will, and also properly prepared, humbly soliciting to be admitted to the mysteries and privileges of Freemasonry.
W. M. How docs he hope to obtain those privileges ? .
W. M. The tongue of good report has already been heard his favour, do you, Brother Inner Guard, vouch that he is præer. ly prepared.
1. G. I do.
; I. G. (to the candidate at the door) Enter free born and of good repute.
W. M. (to the candidate) As no person can be made a Mason unless he is free born and of mature age, I demand of you, are you free by birth and of the age of twenty-one years?
Candidate. I am. .. W. M. Thus assured, I will thank you to kneel, whilst the blessing of heaven is invoked on our proceedings.
(W. M. prays) Vouchsafe thine aid, Almighty Father and supreme governor of the universe, to this our present convention, and grant, that this candidate for Freemasonry may so dedicate and devote his life to thy service, as to become a true and faithful brother amongst us. Endow him with a competency of thy divine wisdom, that, assisted by the secrets of this our masonic art, he may the better be enabled to display the beauties of true godliness (masonry) to the honour and glory of thy holy name*. So mote it be. · W. M. Candidate, or Mr. Noodle, in all cases of difficulty and danger, in whom do you put your trust?
Mr. N. In God. · W. M. Right glad am I to find your faith so well founded; re. lying on such sure support, and since your trust is so firmly placed, you may safely rise and follow your leader with a firm but humble confidence; for where the name of God is invoked, we trust no danger can ensue. The Brethren from the North, East, South, and West, will take notice, that Mr. Noodle is about to pass in view before them, to show, that he is a candidate properly prepared, and a fit and proper person to be made a mason. (He is then conducted round with certain ceremonies, hereafter to be explained.)
S. W. Worshipfal Master, I present to you, Mr. Noodle, a candidate properly prepared to be made a mason.
W. M. Brother Senior Warden, your presentation shall be attended to; for which purpose, I shall address a few questions to the candidate, which I trust he will answer with candour:· Mr. Noodle, do you seriously declaré, on your honour, that, unbiassed by the improper solicitation of friends against your own inclinations, and uninfluenced by mercenary or other unworthy motives, you freely and voluntarily offer yourself a candidate for the mysteries and privileges of Freemasonry?
Mi, N. I do.
W. M. Do you likewise pledge yourself, that you are prompted o nlicit those privileges from a favourable opinion preconiceive of tlie institution, a general desire of knowledge and a sin
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polher proor, that Religion may be shaped to suit any thing; mit Religion. All muimeries coalesce.
cere wish to render yourself more extensively serviceable to your fellow-creatures ? Mr. N. I do.
W.M. Do you further seriously declare on your honour, that, avoiding fear on the one hand and rashness on the other, you will steadily persevere through the ceremony of your initiation, and, if once admitted, will afterwards act and abide by the ancient usages and established customs of the order. . Mr. N. I will.
W. M. Brother Senior Warden, you will direct the Junior Deacon to instruct the candidate to advance to the pedestal in due form. . S. W. Brother Junior Deacon, it is the Worshipful Master's command, that you instruct the candidate to advance to the chair in due form. (This form is by three irregular steps.)
W.M. Mr. Noodle, it is my duty to inform you, that Masonry is free, and requires a perfect freedom of inclination in every can. didate for its mysteries. It is founded on the purest principles of piety and virtue. It possesses great and invaluable privileges to worthy men, and, I trust, to the worthy alone. Vows of fidelity are required; but let me assure you, that, in those vows, there is nothing incompatible with your civil, moral, or religious duties. Are you, therefore, willing to take a solemn obligation, founded on the principles I have stated, to keep inviolate the secrets and mysteries of the order?
Mr. N. I am.
W. M. Then you will kneel with your left knee, keeping your right foot in the form of a square, place your right hand on this book, which is the volume of the sacred law, while, with your left, you will support one point of these compasses to your naked left breast, so as not to hurt yourself: and then repeat the following obligation :- I, Doodle Noodle, in the presence of the great architect of the universe, and of this warranted, worthy and worshipful Lodge of free and accepted Masons, regularly assembled and properly dedicated, of my own free will and accord, do, hereby and hereon, most solemnly and sincerely swear, that I will always hale, conceal, and never reveal, any part or parts, point or points, of the secrets and mysteries of or belonging to free and accepted masons in masonry, which have been, shall now, or hereafter may be, communicated to me, unless it be to a true and lawful brother or brothers, and not even to him or them, till after due trial, strict examination, or sure information from a well known brother, th: he or they are worthy of that confidence, or in the bred of a just, perfect and regular lodge of accepted Freem, uns. T further solemnly promise, that I will not write those sriels print, carve, engrave, or otherwise them delineate. ore or surler them to be so done by others, if in my power t
ver in event it, on any
thing moveable or immoveable under the canopy of heaven, whereby or whereon any lefter, character, or figure, or the least trace of a letter, character, or figure, may become legible or intelligible to myself, or to any one in the world, so that our secrets, arts, and hidden mysteries, may improperly become known through my unworthiness. These several points, I solemnly swear to observe, without evasion, equivocation, or mental reservation of any kind, under no less a penalty, on the violation of any of them, than to have my throat cut across, my tongue torn out by the root and buried in the sand of the sea at low water mark, or a cable's length from the shore, where the tides regularly ebb and flow twice in twenty-four hours, or the more efficient punishment of being branded as a-wilfully perjured individual, void of all moral worth and unfit to be received in this warranted lodge, or in any other warranted lodge, or society of masons, who prize honour and virtue above all the external advantages of rank and fortune, so help me God, and keep me stedfast in this my great and solemn obligation of an Entered Apprentice Free Mason.
W.M. What you have repeated may be considered a sacred promise as a pledge of your fidelity, and to render il a solemn obligation, I will thank you to seal it with your lips on the volume of the sacred law. (Noodle kisses the book.)
Here I must stop and comment. If I know any thing of the law of this country, I proclaim the administration of this oath unlawful. It is the most offensive oath of the kind that ever came under my observation. I have many forms of it, relating to the Entered Apprentice, all agreeing in substance and effect, though varying in words, with the exception, that one of them omits the throat culting. This makes me to infer, that the various lodges are not regulated by the precise words of each other, though the substance and effect is the same. But I infer also, that this throat culting is a genuine part of this most foul oath ; because one of the signs of the Entered Apprentice, called the penal sign, is, to draw his thumb across his throat, as an expression of his will to have it cut, rather than expose the secrets of masonry, pretended secrets, indeed, for there is nothing worthy of being called a secret or mystery, nothing that any man might desire to conceal, but the taking of this most foul and unlawful oath, in a state of comparative nudity and blindness-blindness of the understanding as well as of the eyes ; for the candidate knows not yet for what it is that he has promised to have his throat cut, rather than reveal, and this is a matter which must add to the illegality of this coarse and foul oath.
Oaths, in general, are supposed to bind a man to his fancied god, in the way of promise ; but this oath is a sworn violation of the law of the country; an oath made conditionally to violate that law; for it is even unlawful for a man to cut his own throat'; and his revealing of this nonsense called freemasonry, would not exo- -'. nerate, from the penalty of the law, any man, who should even as sault him. Nor is it any excuse to say, that, in reality, there is no secret to be revealed, and that, consequently, the oath is in its nature, null and void. It is to all intents and purposes an illegal oath : it is a binding of men, who ought to be alike subject to one general law, to a particular law, which is not binding upon all, and a law that is opposed to the general law. Let us seek an instance.
The present Duke of York, who is the heir apparent to the crown of this kingdom, is well known to be both a mason and an orangeman: if not a sworn orangeman, an avowed patron of the society. As a proof that he is a mason, I copy a paragraph that appeared in different newspapers a few weeks back to the follow ing effect :
An interesting event to the Masonic fraternity took place on Saturday last, which on every account cannot fail to be most gratifying to the craft. His Royal Highness the Duke of York having graciously intimated his desire of being advanced to the degree of Royal Arch, a special grand chapter was convened for the purpose by command of his Royal Highness the Duke of Sussex, G. M. of Freemasons in England. Most of the grand officers attended, every one being anxious to express to his Royal Highness the Duke of York the sense that was entertained both of his "Royal Highness's condescension, and of the advantages which would ensue to Masonry from this signal proof of his Royal Highness's regard for the Institution, and of his increased approbation of the conduct and principles of British masons. His Royal Highness was received at five o'clock in Freemason's Hall (which had been expressly fitted up for the occasion) by the Grand Master and officers, with every suitable acknowledgment; and after undergoing the accustomed solemnities, his Royal Highness was invested by his Royal Brother with a highly valuable jewel, a present from the Grand Chapter of England, in commemoration of this interesting event. The Right Hon. Viscount Duncan, Past Grand Master of Scotland, was afterwards introduced, and admitted to the same degree, and the business of the Chapter was closed. Their Royal Highnesses, accompanied by the grand Offcers, then proceeded to the glee room, where a splendid banquet was prepared ; and after an evening of true conviviality and harmony, their Royal Highnesses retired at ten o'clock, amidst the plaudits of the company, leaving the Deputy Grand Master, Lord Dundas, in the Chair. Among the brethren assembled were the following Noblemen and distinguished characters :- The Duke of Leinster; Earls of Rosslyn, Donoughmore, and Kingston ; Vis