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Illustrations of Masonry, by William Morgan, [1827], at

First Degree Initiation

If there are any candidates to be brought forward, that will be the first business to be attended to. I will therefore proceed with a description of the ceremonies used in the admission and initiation of a candidate into the first degree of Masonry.

A person wishing to become a Mason must get some one who is a Mason to present his petition to a lodge, when, if there are no serious objections, it will be entered on the minutes, and a committee of two or three appointed to enquire into his character, and report to the next regular communication. The following is a form of petition used by a candidate; but a worthy candidate will not be rejected for the want of formality in his petition:

To the Worshipful Master, Wardens and Brethren of Lodge No. —, of Free and Accepted Masons.

The subscriber, residing in ——, of lawful age, and by occupation a ——, begs leave to state that, unbiased by friends, and uninfluenced by mercenary motives, he freely and voluntarily offers himself a candidate for the mysteries of Masonry, and that he is prompted to solicit this privilege by a favorable opinion conceived of the institution, a desire

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of knowledge, and a sincere wish of being serviceable to his fellow creatures. Should his petition be granted, he will cheerfully conform to all the ancient established usages and customs of the fraternity.


A. B.

At the next regular communication, (if no very serious objection appears against the candidate) the ballot boxes wilt be passed; one black ball will reject a candidate. The boxes may be passed three times. The Deacons are the proper persons to pass them. One of the boxes has black and white beans or balls in it, the other empty, the one with the balls in it goes before, and furnishes each member with a black and white ball; the empty box follows and receives them. There are two holes in the top of this box with a small tube, (generally) in each, one of which is black and the other white, with a partition in the box. The members put both their balls into this box as their feelings dictate; when the balls are received, the box is presented to the Master, Senior and Junior Wardens, who pronounce clear or not clear, as the case may be. The ballot proving clear, the candidate (if present) is conducted into a small preparation room, adjoining the lodge when he is asked the following questions and gives the following answers. Senior Deacon to Candidate, "Do you sincerely declare, upon your honor before these gentlemen, that, unbiased by friends, uninfluenced by unworthy motives, you freely and voluntarily offer yourself a candidate for the mysteries of Masonry?"

Ans. "I do."

Senior Deacon to candidate. "Do you sincerely declare, upon your honor before these gentlemen, that you are prompted to solicit the privileges of Masonry by a favorable opinion conceived of the institution, a desire of knowledge, and a sincere wish of being serviceable to your fellow creatures?"

Ans. "I do."

Senior Deacon to candidate, "Do you sincerely declare upon your honor before these gentlemen, that you will cheerfully conform to all the ancient established usages and customs of the fraternity?"

Ans. "I do."

After the above questions are proposed and answered and the result reported to the Master, he says, 'Brethren

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at the request of Mr. A. B. he has been proposed and accepted in regular form. I therefore recommend him as a proper candidate for the mysteries of Masonry and worthy to partake of the privileges of the fraternity and in consequence of a declaration of his intentions, voluntarily made, I believe he will cheerfully conform to the rules of the order."

The candidate during the time is divested of all his apparel (shirt excepted) and furnished with a pair of drawers kept in the lodge for the use of candidates. The candidate is then blindfolded, his left foot bare, his right in a slipper, his left breast and arm naked, and a rope called a Cable-tow round his neck and left arm, [the rope is not put round the arm in all lodges] in which posture the candidate is conducted to the door where he is caused to give, or the conductor gives three distinct knocks, which are answered by three from within; the conductor gives one more, which is also answered by one from within. The door is then partly opened and the Senior Deacon generally asks, "Who comes there? Who comes there? Who comes there?"

The conductor, alias the Junior Deacon answers, "A poor blind candidate who has long been desirous of having and receiving a part of the rights and benefits of this worshipful lodge, dedicated (some say erected) to God, and held forth to the holy order of St. John, as all true fellows and brothers have done who have gone this way before him."

The Senior Deacon then asks, "Is it of his own free will and accord he makes this request? Is he duly and truly prepared? worthy and well qualified? and properly avouched for?" All of which being answered in the affirmative, the Senior Deacon to the Junior Deacon: "By what further rights does he expect to obtain this benefit?"

Ans. "By being a man, free born, of lawful age, and under the tongue of good report."

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The Senior Deacon then says, "Since this is the case, you will wait till the Worshipful Master in the east is made acquainted with his request, and his answer returned." The Senior Deacon repairs to the Master, when the same questions are asked and answers returned as at the door; after which the Master says, "Since he comes endowed with all these necessary qualifications, let him enter this worshipful lodge in the name of the Lord, and take heed on what he enters." The candidate then enters, the Senior Deacon at the same time pressing his naked left breast with the point of the compass, and asks the candidate, "Did you feel anything?"

Ans. "I did."

Senior Deacon to candidate, "What was it?"

Ans. "A torture."

The Senior Deacon then says, "As this is a torture to your flesh, so may it ever be to your mind and conscience if ever you should attempt to reveal the secrets of Masonry unlawfully." The candidate is then conducted to the centre of the lodge, where he and the Senior Deacon kneel, and the Deacon says the following prayer:

"Vouchsafe thine aid, Almighty Father of the universe, to this our present convention; and grant that this candidate for Masonry may dedicate and devote his life to thy service, and become a true and faithful brother among us. Endue him with a competency of thy divine wisdom, that by the secrets of our art he may be the better enabled to display the beauties of holiness, to the honor of thy holy name." So mote it be—Amen!"

The Master then asks the candidate, "In whom do you put your trust?"

Ans. "In God."

The Master then takes him by the right hand and says, "Since in God you put your trust, arise, follow your leader and fear no danger." The Senior Deacon then conducts the candidate three times regularly round the lodge, and halts at the Junior Warden in the south, where the same questions are asked and answers returned as at the door.

As the candidate and conductor are passing round the room, the Master reads the following passage of Scripture,

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and takes the same time to read it that they do to go round the lodge three times.

"Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard, that went down to the skirts of his garment as the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion, for there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for evermore."

The candidate is then conducted to the Senior Warden in the west, where the same questions are asked and answers returned as before, from whence he is conducted to the Worshipful Master in the east, where the same questions are asked and answers returned as before. The Master likewise demands of him from whence he came and whither he is traveling.

The candidate answers, "from the west and traveling to the east."

Master inquires, "Why do you leave the west and travel to the east?"

Ans. "In search of light."

Master then says, "Since the candidate is traveling in search of light, you will please conduct him back to the west, from whence he came, and put him in the care of the Senior Warden, who will teach him how to approach the east, the place of light, by advancing upon one upright regular step, to the first step, his feet forming the right angle
of an oblong square, his body erect at the altar, before the Master, and place him in a proper position to take upon him the solemn oath or obligation of an Entered Apprentice Mason." The Senior Warden receives the candidate, and instructs him as directed. He first steps off with the left foot and brings up the heel of the right into the hollow thereof; the heel of the right foot against the ankle of the left, will of course form the right angle of an oblong square; the candidate then kneels on his left knee, and places his right foot so as to form a square with the left; he turns his foot round until the ankle bone is as much in front of him as the toes on the left foot, the

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candidate's left hand is then put under the Holy Bible, square and compass, and the right on them. This is the position in which a candidate is placed when he takes Upon him the, oath or obligation of an Entered Apprentice Mason. As soon as the candidate is placed in this position, the Worshipful Master approaches him, and says, "Mr. A. B., you are now placed in a proper position to take upon you the solemn oath or obligation of an Entered Apprentice Mason, which I assure you is neither to affect your religion or politics. If you are willing to take it, repeat your name and say after me:" [And although many have refused to take any kind of an obligation, and begged for the privilege of retiring, yet none have ever made their escape; they have been either coerced or persuaded to submit. There are thousands who never return to the lodge after they are initiated.] The following obligation is then administered:

I, A. B., of my own free will and accord, in presence of Almighty God and this worshipful lodge of Free and Accepted Masons, dedicated to God, and held forth to the holy order of St. John, do hereby and hereon most solemnly and sincerely promise and swear that I will always hail, ever conceal and never reveal any part or parts, art or arts, point or points of the secret arts and mysteries of ancient Freemasonry which I have received, am about to receive, or may hereafter be instructed in, to any person or persons in the, known world, except it be to a true and lawful brother Mason, or within the body of a just and lawfully constituted lodge of such; and not unto him, nor unto them whom I shall hear so to be, but unto him and them only whom I shall find so to be after strict trial and due examination, or lawful information. Furthermore, do I promise and swear that I will not write, print, stamp, stain, hew, cut, carve, indent, paint, or engrave it on any thing movable or immovable, under the whole canopy of heaven, whereby or whereon the least letter, figure, character, mark, stain, shadow, or resemblance of the same may become legible or intelligible to myself or any other person in the known world, whereby the secrets of Masonry may be unlawfully obtained through my unworthiness. To all of which I do most solemnly and sincerely promise and swear, without the least equivocation, mental reservation, or self evasion of mind in me

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whatever; binding myself under no less penalty than to have my throat cut across, my tongue torn out by the roots, and my body buried in the rough sands of the sea at low water-mark, where the tide ebbs and flows twice in twenty-four hours; so help me God, and keep me steadfast in the due performance of the same."

After the obligation the Master addresses the candidate in the following manner: "Brother, to you the secrets of Masonry are about to be unveiled, and a brighter sun never shone lustre on your eyes; while prostrate before this sacred altar, do you not shudder at every crime? Have you not confidence in every virtue? May these thoughts ever inspire you with the most noble sentiments; may you ever feel that elevation of soul that shall scorn a dishonest act. Brother, what do you most desire?"

Ans. "Light."

Master to brethren, "Brethren, stretch forth your hands and assist in bringing this new made brother from darkness to light." The members having formed a circle round the candidate, the Master says, "And God said let there be light, and there was light." At the same time all the brethren clap their hands, and stamp on the floor with their right foot as heavy as possible, the bandage dropping from the candidate's eyes at the same instant, which, after having been so long blind, and full of fearful apprehensions all the time, this great and sudden transition from perfect darkness to a brighter [if possible] than the meridian sun in a mid-summer day, sometimes produces an alarming effect. I once knew a man to faint, on being brought to light; and his recovery was quite doubtful for some time; however, he did come to, but he never, returned to the lodge again. I have often conversed with him on the subject; he is yet living, and will give a certificate, in support of the above statement at any time if requested.

After the candidate is brought to light, the Master addresses him as follows: "Brother, on being brought to light, you first discover three great lights in Masonry, by the assistance of three lesser; they are, thus explained: the three great lights in Masonry are the Holy Bible, Square and Compass. The Holy Bible is given to us as a rule and guide for our faith and practice; the Square, to square our

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actions, and the Compass to keep us in due bounds with all mankind, but more especially with the brethren. The three lesser lights are three burning tapers, or candles placed on candlesticks (some say, or candles on pedestals) they represent the sun, moon, and Master of the lodge, and are thus explained. As the sun rules the day and the moon governs the night, so ought the worshipful Master with equal regularity to rule and govern his lodge, or cause the same to be done; you next discover me, as Master of this lodge, approaching you from the east upon the first step of Masonry, under the sign and due-guard of an Entered Apprentice Mason. (The sign and due-guard has been explained.) This is the manner of giving them; imitate me as near as you can, keeping your position. First step off with your left foot, and bring the heel of the right into the hollow thereof, so as to form a square. [This is the first step in Masonry.] The following is the sign of an Entered Apprentice Mason, and is the sign of distress in this degree; you are not to give it unless in distress. [It is given by holding your two hands transversely across each other, the right hand upwards and one inch from the left.] The following is the due-guard of an Entered Apprentice
Mason. [This is given by drawing your right hand across your throat, the thumb next to your throat, your arm as high as the elbow in a horizontal position.] "Brother, I now present you my right hand in token of brotherly love and esteem, and with it the grip and name of the grip of an Entered Apprentice Mason." The rights hands are joined together as in shaking hands and each sticks his thumb nail into the third joint or upper end of the forefinger; the name of the grip is Boaz, and is to be given in the following manner and no other; the Master first gives the grip and word, and divides it for the instruction of the candidate; the questions are as follows: The Master and candidate holding each other by the grip, as before described, the Master says, "What is this?"

Ans. "A grip."

"A grip of what?"

Ans. "The grip of an Entered Apprentice Mason."

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"Has it a name?"

Ans. "It has."

"Will you give it to me?"

Ans. "I did not so receive it, neither can I so impart it."

"What will you do with it?"

Ans. "Letter it or halve it."

"Halve it and begin."

Ans. "You begin."

"Begin you."

Ans. "B-O."


Ans. 'BOAZ."

Master says, "Right, brother Boaz, I greet you. It is the name of the left hand pillar of the porch of King Solomon's temple. Arise, brother Boaz, and salute the junior and Senior Wardens, as such, and convince them that you have been regularly initiated as an Entered Apprentice Mason, and have got the sign, grip and word." The Master returns to his seat while the Wardens are examining the candidate, and gets a lambskin or white apron, presents it to the candidate, and observes, "Brother, I now present you with a lambskin or white apron. It is an emblem of innocence, and the badge of a Mason—it has been worn by kings, princes and potentates of the earth, who have never been ashamed to wear it. It is more honorable than the diadems of kings, or pearls of princesses, when worthily worn; it is more ancient than the Golden Fleece or Roman Eagle, more honorable than the Star and Garter, or any other order that can be conferred upon you at this or any other time, except it be in the body of a just and lawfully constituted lodge; you will carry it to the Senior Warden in the west, who will teach you how to wear it as an Entered Apprentice Mason." The Senior Warden ties the apron on, and turns up the flap instead of letting it fall down in front of the top of the apron. This is the way Entered Apprentice Masons wear, or ought to wear their aprons until they are advanced. The candidate is now conducted to the Master in the east, who says, "Brother, as you are dressed, it is necessary you should have tools to work with; I will now present you with the working tools of an Entered Apprentice

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[paragraph continues] Mason, which are the twenty-four inch gauge and common. gavel; they are thus explained:—The twenty-four inch gauge is an instrument made use of by operative Masons to measure and lay out their work, but we as Free and Accepted Masons make use of it for the more noble and glorious purpose of dividing our time. The twenty-four inches on the gauge are emblematical of the twenty-four hours in the day, which we are taught to divide into three equal parts, whereby we find eight hours for the service of God, and a worthy, distressed brother, eight hours for our usual vocations, and eight for refreshment and sleep; the common gavel is an instrument made use of by operative Masons to break off the corners of rough stones, the better to fit them for the builder's use, but we, as Free and Accepted Masons, use it for the more noble and glorious purpose of divesting our hearts and consciences of all the vices and superfluities of life, thereby fitting our minds as living and lively stones, for that spiritual building, that house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. I also present you with a new name; it is CAUTION; it teaches you that as you are barely instructed in the rudiments of Masonry, that you should be cautious over all your words and actions, particularly when before the enemies of Masonry. I shall next present you with three precious jewels, which are a listening ear, a silent tongue, and a faithful heart. A listening ear teaches you to listen to the instructions of the Worshipful Master; but more especially that you should listen to the calls and cries of a worthy, distressed brother. A silent tongue teaches you to be silent while in the lodge that the peace and harmony thereof may not be disturbed, but more especially that you should be silent before the enemies of Masonry that the craft may not be brought into disrepute by your imprudence. A faithful heart teaches you to be faithful to the instructions of the Worshipful Master at all times, but more especially, that you should be faithful, and keep and conceal the secrets of Masonry, and those of a brother, when given to you in charge, as such; that they may remain as secure and inviolable in your breast as in his own, before communicated to you. I further present you with check-words, two; their names are truth and union, and are thus explained: Truth is a divine attribute and the foundation

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of every virtue; to be good and true, is the first lesson we are taught in Masonry; on this theme we contemplate, and by its dictates endeavor to regulate our conduct; hence, while influenced by this principle, hypocrisy and deceit are unknown among us; sincerity and plain dealing distinguish us, and the heart and tongue join in promoting each other's welfare and rejoicing in each other's prosperity.

Union is that kind of friendship which ought to appear conspicuous in every Mason's conduct. It is so closely allied to the divine attribute, truth, that he who enjoys the one, is seldom destitute of the other. Should interest, honor, prejudice, or human depravity ever induce you to violate any part of the sacred trust we now repose in you, let these two important words, at the earliest insinuation, teach you to pull on the check-line of truth, which will infallibly direct you to pursue that straight and narrow path which ends in the full enjoyment of the Grand Lodge above, where we shall all meet as Masons and members of the same family, in peace, harmony, and love; where all discord on account of politics, religion, or private opinion shall be unknown and banished from within your walls.

Brother, it has been a custom from time immemorial to demand, op ask from a newly made brother, something of a metallic kind, not so much on account of its intrinsic value, but that it may be deposited in the archives of the lodge, as a memorial, that you were herein made a Mason;—a small trifle will be sufficient,—anything of a metallic kind will do; if you have no money, anything of a metallic nature will be sufficient; even a button will do." [The candidate says he has nothing about him; it is known he has nothing.] "Search yourself," the Master replies. He is assisted in searching, nothing is found. "Perhaps you can borrow a trifle," says the Master. [He tries to borrow, none will lend him—he proposes to go into the other room where his clothes are; he is not permitted. If a stranger, he is very embarrassed.] Master to candidate, "Brother, let this ever be a striking lesson to you and teach you, if you should ever see a friend, or more especially a brother in a like penniless situation, to contribute as liberally to his relief as his situation may require, and your abilities will admit, without material Injury to yourself or family." Master to Senior Deacon.

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[paragraph continues] "You will conduct the candidate back from whence he came, and invest him of what he has been divested, and let him return for further instruction." The candidate is then conducted to the preparation room, and invested of what he had been divested, and returns to the north-east corner of the lodge, and is taught how to stand upright like a man; when and where the following charge is, or ought to be delivered to him; though it is omitted nine times out of ten, as are near one-half of the ceremonies.

Master to candidate, "Brother, as you are now initiated into the first principles of Masonry, I congratulate you on having been accepted into this ancient and honorable order; ancient, as having subsisted from time immemorial; and honorable, as tending in every particular so to render all men who will become conformable to its principles. No institution was ever raised on a better principle, or more solid foundation, nor were ever more excellent rules and useful maxims laid down than are inculcated in the several Masonic lectures. The greatest and best of men in all ages have been encouragers and promoters of the art, and have never deemed it derogatory to their dignity to level themselves with the fraternity, extend their privileges, and patronize their assemblies."

There are three great duties, which, as a Mason, you are charged to inculcate. To God, your neighbor, and yourself. To God, in never mentioning his name but with that reverential awe that is due from a creature to his Creator; to implore his aid in all your laudable undertakings, and to esteem him as the chief good—To your neighbor, in acting upon the square and doing unto him as you wish he should do unto you; and to yourself in avoiding all irregularity, or intemperance which may impair your faculties, or debase the dignity of your profession. A zealous attachment to these principles will ensure public and private esteem. In the state you are to be a quiet and peaceable subject, true to your government and just to your country; you are not to countenance disloyalty, but faithfully submit to legal authority, and conform with cheerfulness to the government of the country in which you live. In your outward demeanor be particularly careful to avoid censure or reproach. Although your frequent appearance at our regular meetings is earnestly

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solicited, yet it is not meant that Masonry should interfere with your necessary vocations; for these are on no account to be neglected; neither are you to suffer your zeal for the institution to lead you into argument with those, who, through ignorance; may ridicule it. At your leisure hours, that you may improve in Masonic knowledge, you are to converse with well-informed brethren, who will be always as ready to give, as you will be to receive information. Finally, keep sacred and inviolable the mysteries of the order, as these are to distinguish you from the rest of the community, and mark your consequence among Masons. If, in the circle of your acquaintance, you find a person desirous of being initiated into Masonry, be particularly attentive not to recommend him, unless you are convinced he will conform to our rules, that the honor, glory, and reputation of the institution may be firmly established, and the world at large convinced of its good effects."

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