General Ahiman Rezon, by Daniel Sickels, , at sacred-texts.com
p. 310 p. 311
THE services herein arranged for the Burial of the Dead are adapted for all the purposes for which ceremonies of that character may be required. The arrangement is such that any portion of the service—each part being complete—may be used as occasion requires. It is not expected that the whole ceremony or can be used at any one time. If the weather should be stormy, or the body of the deceased taken, for interment, to a distance, where it would be impossible for the brethren to attend, that portion of the service set apart for the Lodge-room, or at the house of the deceased, may be performed.
THE CEREMONIES which are observed on the occasion of funerals are highly appropriate; they are performed as a melancholy Masonic duty, and as a token of respect and affection to the memory of a departed brother.
I. No FREEMASON can be buried with the formalities of the Fraternity, unless it be at his own request, or that of some of his family, communicated to the Master of the Lodge of which he died a member; foreigners or sojourners excepted; nor unless he has received the Master Mason's degree, and from this restriction there can be no exception.
II. Fellow-Crafts or Entered Apprentices are not entitled to these obsequies; nor can they be allowed to unite, as Masons, in the funeral of a brother.
M. No Lodge, or body of Masons, can unite in the obsequies of a person not a Mason, without permission of the Grand Master, or consent of the Grand Lodge.
IV. The Master of the Lodge, having received notice of the death of a brother, (the deceased having attained
to the degree of Master Mason,) and of his request to be buried with the ceremonies of the Craft, fixes the day and hour for the funeral, (unless previously arranged by the friends or relatives of the deceased,) and issues his command to the Secretary to summon the Lodge. He may invite as many Lodges as he may think proper, and the members of those may accompany their officers in form; but the whole ceremony must be under the direction of the Master of the Lodge of which the deceased was a member.
V. Upon the death of a sojourner, who had expressed a wish to be buried with the Masonic ceremonies, the duties prescribed in Article IV. will devolve upon the Master of the Lodge within whose jurisdiction the death may occur; and if in a place where there be more than one Lodge, then upon the Master of the oldest Lodge, unless otherwise mutually arranged.
VI. Whenever civic societies, or the military, may unite with Masons in the burial of a Mason, the body of the deceased must be in charge of the Lodge having jurisdiction. The Masonic services should in all respects be conducted as if none but Masons were in attendance.
VII. If the deceased was a Grand or Past Grand officer, the officers of the Grand Lodge should be invited; when the Master of the Lodge having jurisdiction, will invite the Grand officer present who has attained the highest rank to conduct the burial service.
VIII. The pall-bearers should be Masons, selected by the Master. If the deceased was a member of a Chapter, Commandery, or Consistory, a portion of the pall-bearers should be taken from these bodies severally.
IX. The proper clothing for a Masonic funeral is a black hat, black or dark clothes, black neck-tie, white gloves, and a plain square white linen or lambskin apron, with a band of black crape around the left arm, above the elbow, and a sprig of evergreen on the left breast. The Master's gavel, the Wardens’ columns, the Deacons’ and Stewards’ rods, the Tiler's sword, the Bible, the Book of Constitutions, and the Marshal's baton, should be trimmed with black crape, neatly tied with white ribbon. The officers of the Lodge should, and Past Masters and Grand Officers may, wear their official jewels.
X. While the body is lying in the coffin, there should be placed upon the latter a plain white lambskin apron.
XI. If a Past or Present Grand Master, Deputy Grand Master, or Grand Warden, should join the procession of a private Lodge, proper attention must be paid to them. They take place after the Master of the Lodge. Two Deacons, with white rods, should be appointed by the Master to attend a Grand Warden; and when the Grand Master or Deputy Grand Master is present, the Book of Constitutions should be borne before him, a Sword-Bearer should follow, and the Deacons, with white rods, on his right and left.
XII. When the head of the procession shall have arrived at the place of interment, or where the services are to be performed, the lines should be opened, and the highest officer in rank, preceded by the Marshal and Tiler pass through, and the others follow in order.
XIII. Upon arriving at the entrance of the cemetery, the brethren should march in open order to the tomb or grave. If the body is to be placed in the former, the Tiler
should take his place in front of the open door, and the lines be spread so as to form a circle. The coffin should be deposited in the circle, and the Stewards and Deacons should cross their rods over it. The bearers should take their places on either side—the mourners at the foot of the coffin, and the Master and other officers at the head. After the coffin has been placed in the tomb, the Stewards should cross their rods over the door, and the Deacons over the Master.—If the body is to be deposited in the earth, the circle should be formed around the grave, the body being placed on rests over it; the Stewards should cross their rods over the foot, and the Deacons the head, and retain their places throughout the services.
XIV. After the clergymen shall have performed the religious services of the Church, the Masonic services should begin.
XV. When a number of Lodges join in a funeral procession, the position of the youngest Lodge is at the head or right of the procession, and the oldest at the end or left, excepting that the Lodge of which deceased was a member walks nearest the corpse.
XVI. The procession must return to the Lodge-room in the same order in which it marched to the grave.
XVII. A Lodge in procession is to be strictly under the discipline of the Lodge-room; therefore, no brother can enter the procession or leave it without express permission from the Master, conveyed through the Marshal.