Illustrations of Masonry, by William Morgan, , at sacred-texts.com
The work of the evening being over, I will proceed to give a description of the manner of closing the lodge. It is a very common practice in lodges to close a lodge of Entered Apprentices, and open a lodge of Fellow Crafts, and close that, and open a Master Mason's lodge, all in the same evening.
Some brother generally makes a motion that the lodge be closed; it being seconded and carried:—
The Master to the Junior Deacon—"Brother Junior," [giving one rap which calls up both Deacons,] "the first as well as the last care of a Mason?
Ans. "To see the lodge tyled, Worshipful."
Master to Junior Deacon, "Attend to that part of your duty, and inform the Tyler that we are about to close this lodge of Entered Apprentice Masons, and direct him to tyle accordingly." The Junior Deacon steps to the door and gives three raps, which are answered by the Tyler with three more; the Junior Deacon then gives one, which is also answered by the Tyler by one. The Junior Deacon then opens the door, delivers his message, and resumes his place in the lodge and says, "The door is tyled. Worshipful."
Master to Junior Deacon, "By whom?"
Ans. "By a Master Mason without the door, armed with, the proper implements of his office."
Master to Junior Deacon, "His business there?"
Ans. "To keep off all cowans and eavesdroppers and see that none pass or repass without permission from the chair."
Master to Junior Deacon, "Your place in the lodge, brother Junior?"
Ans. "At the right hand of the Senior Warden in the west."
Master to Junior Deacon, "Your duty there?"
Ans. "To wait on the Worshipful. Master and Wardens, act as their proxy in the active duties of the lodge, and take charge of the door."
Master to the Junior Deacon, "The Senior Deacon's place in the lodge?"
Ans. "At the right hand of the Worshipful Master in the east."
Master to Senior Deacon, "Your duty there, brother Senior?"
Ans. "To wait on the Worshipful Master and Wardens, act as their proxy in the active duties of the lodge, attend to the preparation and introduction of candidates, receive and clothe all visiting brethren."
Master to the Senior Deacon, "The Secretary's place in the lodge?"
Ans. "At your left hand, Worshipful."
Master to Secretary, "Your duty there, brother Secretary?"
Ans. "Duly to observe the Master's will and pleasure; record the proceedings of the lodge; transmit a copy of the same to the Grand Lodge, if required; receive all moneys and money bills from the hands of the brethren; pay them over to the Treasurer, and take his receipt for the same."
Master to the Secretary, "The Treasurer's place in the lodge?"
Ans. "At the right hand of the Worshipful Master."
Master to Treasurer, "Your business there, brother Treasurer?"
Ans. "Duly to observe the Worshipful Master's will and pleasure; receive all moneys and money bills from the hands of the Secretary; keep a just and accurate account of the same; pay them out by order of the Worshipful Master and
consent of the brethren."
Master to the Treasurer, "The Junior Warden's place in the lodge?"
Ans. "In the south, Worshipful."
Master to the Junior Warden, "Your business there, brother Junior?"
Ans. "As the sun in the south, at high meridian, is the beauty and glory of the day, so stands the Junior Warden in the south, at high twelve, the better to observe the time; call the crafts from labor to refreshment; superintend them during the hours thereof; see that none convert the purposes of refreshment into that of excess or intemperance; call them on again in due season, that the Worshipful Master may have honor, and they pleasure and profit thereby."
The Master to the junior Warden, [I wish the reader to take particular notice that in closing the lodge the Master asks the Junior Warden as follows: "The Master's place in the lodge?" and in opening he asks the Senior Warden the same question.] "The Master's place in the lodge?"
Ans. "In the east, Worshipful."
Master to Junior Warden, "His duty there?"
Ans. "As the sun rises in the east to open and adorn the day, so presides the Worshipful Master in the east to open and adorn his lodge; set his crafts to work with good and wholesome laws, or cause the same to be done."
Master to Junior Warden, "The Senior Warden's place in the lodge?"
Ans. "In the west, Worshipful."
Master to Senior Warden, "Your business there, brother Senior?"
Ans. "As the sun sets in the west to close the day, so stands the Senior Warden in the west to assist the Worshipful Master in opening and closing the lodge; take care of the jewels and implements; see that none be lost; pay the crafts their wages, if any be due, and see that none go away dissatisfied."
The Master now gives three raps, when all the brethren rise, and the Master asks, "Are you all satisfied?" They answer in the affirmative, by giving the due-guard. Should the Master discover that any declined giving it, inquiry is immediately made why it is so; and if any member is dissatisfied
with any part of the proceedings, of with any brother, the subject is immediately investigated. Master to the brethren, "Attend to giving the signs; as I do so do you; give them downwards" (which is by giving the last in opening, first in closing. In closing, on this degree, you first draw your right hand across your throat, as herein before described, and then hold your two hands over each other as before described. This is the method pursued through all the degrees; and when opening on any of the upper degrees, all their signs, of all the preceding degrees, are given before you give the signs of the degree on which you are opening.) This being done, the Master proceeds, "I now declare this lodge of Entered Apprentice Masons regularly closed in due and ancient form. Brother Junior Warden, please inform brother Senior Warden, and request him to inform the brethren that it is my will and pleasure that this lodge of Entered Apprentice Masons be now closed, and stand closed until our next regular communication, unless a case or cases of emergency shall require earlier convention, of which every member shall be notified; during which time it is seriously hoped and expected that every brother will demean himself as becomes a Free and Accepted Mason." Junior Warden to Senior Warden, "Brother Senior, it is the Worshipful Master's will and pleasure that this lodge of Entered Apprentice Masons be closed, and stand closed until our next regular communication, unless a case or cases of emergency shall require earlier convention, of which every brother shall be notified; during which time it is seriously hoped and expected that every brother will demean himself as becomes a Free and Accepted Mason." Senior Warden to the brethren, "Brethren, you have heard the Worshipful Master's will and pleasure, as communicated to me by brother Junior; so let it be done." Master to the Junior Warden, "Brother Junior, how do Masons meet?"
Ans. "On the level."
Master to Senior Warden, "How do Masons part?"
Ans. "On the square."
Master to the Junior and Senior Wardens, "Since we meet on the level, brother Junior, and part on the square, brother Senior, so let us ever meet and part, in the name of the Lord." Here follows a prayer sometimes used. Master
to the brethren, "Brethren, let us pray."
"Supreme Architect of the Universe! accept our humble praises for the many mercies and blessings which thy bounty has conferred upon us, and especially for this friendly and social intercourse. Pardon, we beseech thee, whatever thou hast seen amiss in us since we have been together; and continue to us thy presence, protection and blessing. Make us sensible of the renewed obligations we are under to love thee supremely, and to be friendly to each other. May all our irregular passions be subdued; and may we daily increase in faith, hope and charity, but more especially in that charity which is the bond of peace, and perfection of every virtue. May we so practice thy precepts that through the merits of the Redeemer we may finally obtain thy promises, and find an acceptance through the Gates, and into the Temple and City of our God. So mote it be—Amen."
A Benediction, oftener used at closing than the preceding prayer.
May the blessing of heaven rest upon us and all regular Masons; may brotherly love prevail, and every moral and social virtue cement us. So mote it be—Amen.
After the prayer the following charge ought to be delivered, but it is seldom attended to; in a majority of lodges it is never attended to.
Master to brethren, "Brethren, we are now about to quit this sacred retreat of friendship and virtue to mix again with the world. Amidst its concerns and employment forget not the duties which you have heard so frequently inculcated, and so forcibly recommended in this lodge. Remember, that around this altar, you have promised to befriend and relieve every brother who shall need your assistance. You have promised in the most friendly manner to remind him of his errors and aid a reformation. These generous principles are to extend further: Every human being has a claim upon your kind offices. Do good unto all. Recommend it more "especially to the household of the faithful." Finally, brethren, be ye all of one mind, live in peace, and may the God of love and peace delight to dwell with and bless you."
In some lodges, after the charge is delivered, the Master says, "Brethren, form on the square." When all the brethren
form a circle, and the Master, followed by every brother (except in using the words) says, "And God said let there be light, and there was light." At the same moment that the last of these words drops from the Master's lips, every member stamps with his right foot on the floor, and at the same instant bring their hands together with equal force, and in such perfect unison with each other that persons situated so as to hear it would suppose it the precursor of some dreadful catastrophe. This is called "the shock."