General Ahiman Rezon, by Daniel Sickels, , at sacred-texts.com
ANY number of Master Masons, not less than seven, desirous of forming a new Lodge, must apply, by petition, * to the Grand Master, Deputy Grand Master, or Grand Lodge of the State in which they reside, as follows;
To the M. W. Grand Master of Masons of the State of .......:
THE undersigned petitioners, being Ancient Free and Accepted Master Masons, having the prosperity of the Fraternity at heart, and willing to exert their best endeavors to promote and diffuse the genuine principles of Masonry, respectfully represent—That they are desirous of forming a new Lodge in the .... of ........, to be named , No .... They therefore pray for Letters of Dispensation, to empower them to assemble as a regular Lodge, to discharge the duties of Masonry, in a regular and constitutional manner, according to the original forms of the Order and the regulations of the Grand Lodge. They have nominated and do recommend Brother A. B. to be the first Master; Brother C. D. to be the first Senior Warden; and Brother F. F. to be the first Junior Warden of said Lodge. If the prayer of this petition shall be granted, they promise a strict conformity to the edicts of the Grand Master, and the Constitution, laws, and regulations of the Grand Lodge. *
ON the day and hour appointed, the Grand Master and his officers, or their representatives, meet in a convenient room, near to that in which the Lodge is to be consecrated, and open the Grand Lodge.
After the officers of the new Lodge are examined, they send a messenger to the Grand Master with the following message:
MOST WORSHIPFUL: The Officers and Brethren of ...... Lodge, who are now assembled at ....., have instructed me to inform you that the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge (or Grand Master) was pleased to grant them a Letter of Dispensation, bearing date the .... day of ....., in the year ...., authorizing them to form and open a Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons, in the ...... of
[paragraph continues] ......; that since that period they have regularly assembled, and conducted the business of MASONRY according to the best of their abilities; that their proceedings having received the approbation of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge, they have obtained a Charter of Constitution, and are desirous that their Lodge should be consecrated, and their Officers installed, agree ably to the ancient usages and customs of the Craft; for which purpose they are now met, and await the pleasure of the Most Worshipful Grand Master.
The Grand Lodge then walk in procession to the room of the new Lodge. When the Grand Master enters, the grand honors * are given, under direction of the Master of the new
[paragraph continues] Lodge. The officers of the new Lodge resign their seats to the Grand Officers, and take their stations on their left.
If the ceremonies are performed in public, the Grand Marshal then forms the procession in the following order:
Tiler, with drawn sword;
Two Stewards, with white rods;
Master Masons, two and two;
Members of the higher degrees;
THE NEW LODGE.
Tiler, with drawn sword;
Stewards, with white rods;
Junior and Senior Deacons;
Secretary and Treasurer;
Two brethren, carrying the Lodge;
Junior and Senior Wardens;
The Holy Writings, carried by the oldest member not in office.
THE GRAND LODGE;
Grand Tiler, with drawn sword;
Grand Stewards, with white rods;
Grand Pursuivant, with sword;
Grand Secretary and Grand Treasurer;
A. Past Master, bearing the Holy Writings, Square, and Compasses, supported by two Stewards, with rods;
Two Burning Tapers, borne by two Past Masters;
Grand Chaplain and Orator;
The Tuscan and Composite Orders;
The Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian Orders;
Past Grand Wardens;
Past Deputy Grand Masters;
Past Grand Masters;
The Celestial and Terrestrial Globes, borne by two brethren;
Junior Grand Warden, carrying a silver vessel with oil;
Senior Grand Warden, carrying a silver vessel with wine;
Deputy Grand Master, carrying a golden vessel with corn;
Master of the oldest Lodge, carrying the Book of
Supported by the Grand Deacons, with white rods;
Grand Sword-Bearer, with drawn sword.
The procession moves on to the church or house where the services are to be performed. When the front of the procession arrives at the door, they halt, open to the right and left, and face inward, while the Grand Master and others, in succession, pass through, and enter the house.
A platform is erected in front of the pulpit, and provided with seats for the accommodation of the Grand Officers.
The Bible, Square, and Compasses, and Book of Constitutions,
are placed upon a table in front of the Grand Master; the Lodge * is placed in the center, upon a platform covered with white linen, and encompassed by the three tapers and the vessels of corn, wine, and oil.
The following services then take place:
AIR—Shirland. S. M.
Click to enlarge
May this fraternal band,
In union all distinguished stand,
In purity be drest!
The following, or an extemporaneous Prayer, will be offered by the Grand Chaplain:
Great, Adorable, and Supreme Being! We praise thee for all thy mercies, and especially for giving us desires to enjoy, and powers of enjoying, the delights of society. The affections which thou hast implanted in us, and which we cannot destroy without violence to our nature, are among the chief blessings which thy benign wisdom hath bestowed upon us. Help us duly to improve all our powers to the promotion of thy glory in the world, and the good of our fellow-creatures. May we be active under thy divine light, and dwell in thy truth.
Extend thy favor to us who are now entering into a Fraternal compact under peculiar obligations. Enable us to be faithful to thee, faithful in our callings in life, faithful Masons in all the
duties of the Craft, and faithful to each other as members of this society. Take us under the shadow of thy protection; and to thy service and glory may we consecrate our hearts. May we always put faith in thee, have hope in salvation, and be in charity with all mankind!—AMEN.
Response by the brethren.—So mote it be.
An ORATION, by some competent brother, when practicable.
AIR—Duke Street. L. M.
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Nor shall the glowing flame expire,
When dimly burns frail Nature's fire;
Then shall they meet in realms above,
A heaven of joy, a heaven of love.
The Grand Marshal then forms the officers and members of the new Lodge in front of the Grand Master. The Deputy Grand Master addresses the Grand Master as follows:
MOST WORSHIPFUL: A number of brethren, duly instructed in the mysteries of Masonry, having assembled together at stated periods, for some time past, by virtue of a Dispensation granted them for that purpose, do now desire to be constituted into a regular Lodge, agreeably to the ancient usages and customs of the Fraternity.
The records are then presented to the Grand Master, who examines them, and, if found correct, proclaims
The records appear to be correct, and are approved. Upon due deliberation, the Grand Lodge have granted the brethren of this new Lodge a Warrant, establishing and confirming them in the rights and privileges of a regularly-constituted Lodge; which the Grand Secretary will now read.
After the Warrant is read, the Grand Master then says:
We shall now proceed, according to ancient usage, to constitute these brethren into a regular Lodge.
Whereupon the several officers of the new Lodge deliver up their jewels and badges to their Master, who presents them, with his own, to the Deputy Grand Master, and he to the Grand Master.
The Deputy Grand Master presents the Master elect to the Grand Master; saying,
MOST WORSHIPFUL: I present you Brother ...., whom the members of the Lodge now to be constituted have chosen for their Master.
The Grand Master asks the brethren if they remain satisfied with their choice. [They bow in token of assent.]
The Master elect then presents, severally, his Wardens and other officers, naming them and their respective offices. The Grand Master asks the brethren if they remain satisfied with ' ach and all of them. [They bow, as before.]
The officers and members of the new Lodge form in front of the Grand Master; and the ceremonies of Consecration commence.
The Grand Master and Grand Officers now form themselves in order around the Lodge—all kneeling.
A piece of solemn music is performed while the Lodge is being uncovered.
After which, the first clause of the Consecration Prayer is rehearsed by the Grand Chaplain, as follows:
Great Architect of the Universe! Maker and Ruler of all Worlds! Deign, from thy celestial temple, from realms of light and glory, to bless us in all the purposes of our present assembly! We humbly invoke thee to give us at this, and at all times, wisdom in all our doings, strength of mind in all our difficulties, and the beauty of harmony in all our communications! Permit us, O thou Author of Light and Life, great Source of Love and Happiness, to erect this Lodge, and now solemnly to consecrate it to the honor of thy glory!
Response.—As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be; world without end.—AMEN.
The Deputy Grand Master presents the golden vessel of corn, and the Senior and Junior Grand Wardens the silver vessels of wine and oil, to the Grand Master, who sprinkles the elements of Consecration upon the Lodge.
The Grand Chaplain then continues:
Grant, O Lord our God, that those who are now about to be invested with the government of this Lodge may be endowed with wisdom to instruct their brethren in all their duties. May brotherly love, relief, and truth always prevail among the members of this Lodge! May this bond of union continue to strengthen the Lodges throughout the world!
Bless all our brethren, wherever dispersed; and grant speedy relief to all who are either oppressed or distressed.
We affectionately commend to thee all the members of thy whole family. May they increase in grace, in the knowledge of thee, and in the love of each other.
Finally: May we finish all our work here below with thy approbation; and then have our transition from this earthly abode. to thy heavenly
temple above, there to enjoy light, glory, and bliss, ineffable and eternal!
Response.—As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be. So mote it be.—AMEN.
223:* The mode of applying by petition to the Grand Master for a warrant to meet as a regular Lodge, commenced only in the year 1718; previous to that time, Lodges were empowered, by inherent privileges vested in the Fraternity at large, to meet and act occasionally under the direction of some able architect; and the proceedings of those meetings being approved by the majority of the brethren convened at another Lodge assembled in the same district, were deemed constitutional. By such an inherent authority the Lodge of Antiquity in London now acts, having no warrant from any Grand Lodge, but an authority traced from time Immemorial, which has been long and universally admitted and acknowledged by the whole Fraternity throughout the world, and which no warrant or other instrument of any particular Masonic jurisdiction can possibly supersede.
224:* This petition, being signed by at least seven regular Masons, and recommended by a Lodge or Lodges nearest to the place where the new Lodge is to be holden, is delivered to the Grand Secretary, who lays it before the G. Lodge.
In many jurisdictions, the Grand and Deputy Grand Masters, respectively, are invested with authority to grant dispensations at pleasure during the recess of the Grand Lodge; in some, they are never issued without the special direction of the Grand Lodge.
Lodges working under dispensation are merely the agents of the G. Lodge or Grand officer granting the authority; their presiding officers are not entitled to the rank of Past Masters; their officers are not privileged with a vote or voice in the Grand Lodge; they cannot change their officers without the special approbation and appointment of the Grand Lodge or Grand officer granting p. 225 the authority; and in case of the cessation of such Lodges, their funds, jewels, and other property accumulated by initiations into the several degrees, become the property of the Grand Lodge, and must be delivered over to the G. Treasurer.
When Lodges that are at first instituted by dispensation have passed a proper term of probation, they make application to the Grand Lodge for a Charter of Constitution. If this be obtained, they are then confirmed in the possession of their property, and possess all the rights and privileges of regularly-constituted Lodges, as long as they conform to the Constitutions of Masonry. After a Charter is granted by the Grand Lodge, the Grand Master appoints a day and hour for consecrating and constituting the new Lodge, and for installing its Master, Wardens, and other officers. If the Grand Master, in person, attends the ceremony, the Lodge Is said to be constituted In AMPLE FORM; if the Deputy Grand Master only, it is said to be constituted in DUE FORM; but if the power of performing the ceremony is vested in any other person, it is said to be constituted in FORM.
When the Charters of Constitution are granted for places where the distance is so great as to render it inconvenient for the Grand Officers to attend, the Grand Master or his Deputy issues a written instrument, under his hand and private seal, to some worthy Present or Past Master, with full power to congregate, dedicate, and constitute the Lodge, and install its officers.
226:* The Grand Honors of Masonry are those peculiar acts and gestures by which the Craft have always been accustomed to express their homage, their joy, or their grief, on memorable occasions. They are of two kinds, the private and public, and carp of them are used on different occasions and for different purposes,
The private Grand Honors of Masonry are performed in a manner known only to Master Masons, since they can only be used in a Master's Lodge. They are practiced by the Craft only on four occasions:—when a Masonic Hall is to be consecrated, a new Lodge to be constituted, a Master slept to be installed, or a Grand Master or his Deputy to be received on an official visitation to a Lodge. They are used at all these ceremonies as tokens of congratulation and homage. And as they can only be given by Master Masons, it is evident that every consecration of a hall, or constitution of a new Lodge, every installation of a Worshipful Master, and every reception of a Grand Master, must be done in the third degree. It is also evident, from what has been said, that the mode and manner of giving the private Grand Honors can only be personally communicated to Master Masons. They are among the aporreta—the things forbidden to be divulged.
The public Grand Honors, as their name imports, do not partake pr this secret character. They are given on all public occasions, in the presence of the profane p. 227 as well as the initiated. They are used at the laying of corner-stones of public buildings, or in other services in which the ministrations of the Fraternity are required, and especially in funerals. They are given in the following manner: Both arms are crossed on the breast, the left uppermost, and the open palms of the bands sharply striking the shoulders; they are then raised above the head, the palms striking each other, and then made to fall smartly upon the thighs. This is repeated three times, and as there are three blows given each time—namely, on the breast, on the palms of the hands, and on the thighs—making nine concussions in all, the Grand Honors are technically said to be given "by three times three." On the occasion of funerals, each one of these honors is accompanied by the words, "The will of God is accomplished; so mote it be!" audibly pronounced by the brethren.
These Grand Honors of Masonry have undoubtedly a classical origin, and are but an imitation of the plaudits and acclamations practiced by the ancient Greeks and Romans, in their theaters, their senates, and their public games. There is abundant evidence in the writings of the ancients that, in the days of the empire, the Romans had circumscribed the mode of doing homage to their emperors and great men when they made their appearance in public, and of expressing their approbation of actors at the theatre within as explicit rules and regulations as those that govern the system of giving the Grand Honors in Freemasonry. This was not the case in the earlier ages of Rome; for OVID, speaking of the Rabbles, says that, when they applauded, they did so without any rules of art:
[paragraph continues] And PROPERTIUS speaks, at a later day, of the ignorance of the country people, who, at the theatres, destroyed the general harmony, by their awkward attempts to join in the modulated applauses of the more skillful citizens.
The ancient Romans had carried their science on this subject to such an extent, as to have divided these honors into three kinds, differing from each other in the mode in which the hands were struck against each other, and in the sound that thence resulted. SUETONIUS, in his Life of NERO, (cap. xx.) gives the names of these various kinds of applause, which he says were called bombi, imbrices, and testæ; and SENECA, in his "Naturales Quæstiones," gives a description of the manner in which they were executed. The "bombi," or hums, wore produced by striking the palms of the hands together, while they were in a hollow or concave position, and doing this at frequent intervals, but with little force, so as to imitate the humming sound of a swarm of bees. The "imbrices," or tiles, were made by briskly striking the flattened and extended palms of the hands against each other, so as to resemble the sound of hail pattering upon the tiles of a roof. The "testæ," or earthen vases, were executed by striking the palm of the left hand with the fingers of the right collected into one point. By this blow a sound was elicited, which imitated that given out by an earthen vase when struck by a stick.
The Romans and other ancient nations having invested this system of applauding with all the accuracy of a science, used it in its various forms, not only for p. 228 the purpose of testifying their approbation of actors in the theatre, but also bestowed it, as a mark of respect or a token of adulation, on their emperors and other great men, on the occasion of their making their appearance in public. Huzzas and cheers have, in this latter case, been generally adopted by the moderns, while the manual applause is only appropriated to successful public speakers and declaimers. The Freemasons, however, have altogether preserved the ancient custom of applause, guarding and regulating its use by as strict, though different rules, as did the Romans; and thus showing, as another evidence of the antiquity of their institution, that the "Grand Honors" of Freemasonry are legitimately derived from the "pietism" or applaudings practiced by the ancients on public occasions.—MACKEY'S Lexicon of Freemasonry. SEE NOTE, p. 336.
230:* The Lodge, technically speaking, is a piece of furniture, made in imitation of the Ark of the Covenant, which was constructed according to the form of the Temple. The instrument usually used on occasions of Constituting, Consecrating, and. Dedicating Lodges, is a box, of an oblong-square shape, covered with white linen.