General Ahiman Rezon, by Daniel Sickels, , at sacred-texts.com
The brethren having assembled at the Lodge-room, the Lodge will be opened briefly in the third degree; the purpose of the communication must be stated; and remarks upon the character of the deceased may be made by the Master and brethren, when the service will commence—all the brethren to stand:
Master. What man is he that liveth, and shall not see death? Shall he deliver his soul from the hand of the grave?
Sen. War. His days are as grass; as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth.
Jun. War. For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more.
Master. Where is now our departed Brother?
Sen. War. He dwelleth in night; he sojourneth in darkness.
Jun. War. Man walketh in a vain shadow; he heapeth up riches, and cannot tell who shall gather them.
Master. When he dieth, he shall carry nothing away; his glory shall not descend after him.
Sen. War. For he brought nothing into the world, and it is certain he can carry nothing out.
Jun. War. The Lout gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.
Mater. The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.
Sen. War. GOD is our salvation; our glory, and the rock of our strength; and our refuge is in GOD.
Jun. War. He hath not dealt with us after our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.
Mater. Can we offer any precious gift acceptable in the sight of the LORD to redeem our brother?
Sen. War. We are poor and needy. We are without gift or ransom.
Jun. War. Be merciful unto us, O LORD, be merciful unto us; for we trust in thee. Our hope and salvation are in thy patience. Where else can we look for mercy?
Mater. Let us endeavor to live the life of the righteous, that our last end may be like his.
Sen. War. The LORD is gracious and righteous; yea, our GOD is merciful.
Jun. War. GOD is our GOD for ever and ever; He will be our guide, even unto death.
Master. Shall our brother's name and virtues be lost upon the earth forever?
Response by the Brethren. We will remember and cherish them in our hearts.
Master. I heard a voice from heaven, saying unto me, "Write, from henceforth blessed are the dead who die in the LORD! Even so, saith the Spirit; for they rest from their labors."
Here the Master will take the SACRED ROLL, * on which have been inscribed the name, age, date of initiation or affiliation, date of death, and any matters that may be interesting to the brethren; and shall read the same aloud, and shall then say,
ALMIGHTY FATHER! in thy hands we leave, with humble submission, the soul of our departed brother.
Response. Amen! So mote it be!
The grand honors † should then be given three times; the brethren to respond each time—
The will of GOD is accomplished.—AMEN. So mote it be!
The Master should then deposit the ROLL in the archives of the Lodge.
The following or some other appropriate HYMN may be sung:
Click to enlarge
AIR—Balerma. C. M.
Determined are the days that fly
Successive o’er thy head;
The number’d hour is on the wing,
That lays thee with the dead.
Great GOD, afflict not, in thy wrath,
The short allotted span
That bounds the few and weary days
Of pilgrimage to man.
The Master or Chaplain will repeat the following or some other appropriate PRAYER:
ALMIGHTY AND HEAVENLY FATHER—infinite in wisdom, mercy, and goodness—extend to us the riches of thy everlasting grace. Thou alone art a refuge and help in trouble and affliction. In this bereavement we look to thee for support and consolation. May we believe that death hath no power over a faithful and righteous soul! May we believe that, though the dust returneth to the dust as it was, the spirit goeth unto thyself. As we mourn the departure of a brother beloved from the circle of our Fraternity, may we trust that he hath entered into a higher brotherhood, to engage in nobler duties
and in heavenly work, to find rest from earthly labor, and refreshment from earthly care. May thy peace abide within us, to keep us from all evil! Make us grateful for present benefits, and crown us with immortal life and honor.—And to thy name shall be all the glory forever.—AMEN.
Response. So mote it be.
A procession should then be formed, which will proceed to the church or the house of the deceased, in the following order:
When the head of the procession arrives at the entrance of the building, it should halt and open to the right and left, forming two parallel lines, when the Marshal, with the Tiler, will pass through the lines to end, and escort the Master or Grand Officer into the house, the brethren closing in and following, thus reversing the order of procession—the brethren with heads uncovered.
319:* A sheet of parchment or paper, prepared for the purpose.
319:† See note, p. 886.