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


"We have been saying a good deal about a lodge; I want to know what constitutes a lodge?"

Ans. "A certain number of Free and Accepted Masons duly assembled in a room, or place, with the Holy Bible,

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[paragraph continues] Square and Compass, and other Masonic implements with a charter from the Grand Lodge empowering them to work."

"Where did our ancient brethren meet before lodges were erected?"

Ans. "On the highest hills, and in the lowest vales."

"Why on the highest hills and the lowest vales?"

Ans. "The better to guard against cowans and enemies, either ascending or descending, that the brethren might have timely notice of their approach to prevent being surprised."

"What is the form of your lodge?"

Ans. "An oblong square."

"How long?"

Ans. "From east to west."

"How wide?"

Ans. "Between north and south."

"How high?"

Ans. "From the surface of the earth to the highest heavens."

"How deep?"

Ans. "From the surface to the center."

"What supports your lodge?"

Ans. "Three large columns or pillars."

"What are their names?"

Ans. "Wisdom, Strength and Beauty."

"Why so?"

Ans. "It is necessary there should be wisdom to contrive, strength to support, and beauty to adorn all great and important undertakings, but more especially this of ours."

"Has your lodge any covering?"

Ans. "It has; a clouded canopy, or a starry decked heaven, where all good Masons hope to arrive."

"How do they hope to arrive there?"

Ans. "By the assistance of Jacob's ladder."

"How many principal rounds has it got?"

Ans. "Three."

"What are their names?"

Ans. "Faith, Hope and Charity."

"What do they teach?"

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Ans. "Faith in God, Hope in immortality, and Charity to all mankind."

"Has your lodge any furniture?"

Ans. "It has; the Holy Bible, Square, and Compass."

"To whom do they belong?"

Ans. "The Bible to God, the Square to the Master, and the Compass to the Craft."

"How explained?"

Ans. "The Bible to God, it being the inestimable gift of God to man, for his instruction to guide him through the rugged paths of life; the Square to the Master, it being the proper emblem of his office; the Compass to, the Craft, by a due attention to which we are taught to limit our desires, curb our ambition, subdue our irregular appetites, and keep our passions and prejudices in due bonds with all mankind, but more especially with the brethren,"

"Has your lodge any ornaments?"

Ans. "It has; the mosaic, or chequered pavement, the indented tessels, the beautiful tessellated border which surrounds it, with the blazing star in the center."

"What do they represent?"

Ans. "Mosaic or chequered pavement represents this world, which, though chequered over with good and evil, yet brethren may walk together thereon and not stumble; the indented tessel, with the blazing star in the center, the manifold blessings and comforts with which we are surrounded in this life, but more especially those which we hope to enjoy hereafter; the blazing star, that prudence which ought to appear conspicuous in the conduct of every Mason, but more especially commemorative of the star which appeared in the east, to guide the wise men to Bethlehem, to proclaim the birth and the presence of the Son of God."

"Has your lodge any lights?"

Ans. "It has three."

"How are they situated?"

Ans. "East, west, and south."

"Has it none in the north?"

Ans. "It has not."

"Why so?"

Ans. "Because this and every other lodge is, or ought to be a true representation of King Solomon's Temple, which

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was situated north of the ecliptic; the sun and moon therefore darting their rays from the south, no light was to be expected from the north; we, therefore, Masonically, term the north a place of darkness."

"Has your lodge any jewels?"

Ans. "It has six; three movable and three immovable."

"What are the three movable jewels?''

Ans. "The Square, Level, and Plumb."

"What do they teach?"

Ans. "The Square, morality; the Level, equality; and the Plumb, rectitude of life and conduct."

"What are the three immovable jewels?"

Ans. "The rough Ashlar, the perfect Ashlar, and the Trestle-board."

"What are they?"

Ans. "The rough Ashlar is a stone in its rough and natural state; the perfect Ashlar is also a stone made ready by the working tool of the Fellow Craft to be adjusted in the building; and the Trestle-board is for the master workman to draw his plans and designs upon."

"What do they represent?"

Ans. "The rough Ashlar represents man in his rude and imperfect state by nature; the perfect Ashlar also represents man in that state of perfection to which we all hope to arrive by means of a virtuous life and education, our own endeavors, and the blessing of God. In erecting our temporal building we pursue the plans and designs laid down by the master workman on his Trestle-board; but in erecting our spiritual building we pursue the plans and designs laid down by the supreme Geometrician of the universe, in the book of life, which we Masonically term our spiritual Trestle-board."

"Who did you serve?"

Ans. "My Master."

"How long?"

Ans. "Six days."

"What did you serve him with?"

Ans. "Freedom, fervency, and zeal."

"What do they represent?"

Ans. "Chalk, charcoal, and earth."

"Why so?"

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Ans. "There is nothing freer than chalk, the slightest touch of which leaves a trace behind; nothing more fervent than heated charcoal, it will melt the most obdurate metals; nothing more zealous than the earth to bring forth."

"How is your lodge situated?"

Ans. "Due east and west."

"Why so?"

Ans. "Because the sun rises in the east and sets in the west.'

"A second reason?"

Ans. "The gospel was first preached in the east, and is spreading to the west."

"A third reason?"

Ans. "The liberal arts and sciences began in the east and are extending to the west."

"A fourth reason?"

Ans. "Because all Churches and Chapels are, or ought to be, so situated."

"Why are all Churches and Chapels so situated?"

Ans. "Because king Solomon's temple was so situated."

"Why was king Solomon's temple so situated?"

Ans. "Because Moses, after conducting the children of Israel through the Red Sea, by Divine command erected a tabernacle to God, and placed it due east and west; which was to commemorate, to the latest posterity, that miraculous east wind that wrought their deliverance; and this was an exact model of king Solomon's temple. Since which time every well regulated and governed lodge is, or ought to be, so situated."

"To whom did our ancient brethren dedicate their lodges?"

Ans. "To king Solomon."

"Why so?"

Ans. ''Because king Solomon was our most ancient Grand Master."

"To whom do modern Masons dedicate their lodges?"

Ans. "To St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist."

"Why so?"

Ans. "Because they were the two most ancient Christian patrons of Masonry; and since their time, in every well regulated & governed lodge there has been a certain point

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within a circle, which circle is bounded on the east and the west by two perpendicular and parallel lines, representing the anniversary of St. John the Baptist, and St. John the Evangelist, who were two perfect parallels, as well in Masonry as Christianity; on the vertex of which rests the book of the Holy Scriptures, supporting Jacob's ladder, which is said to reach the watery clouds; and in passing round this circle we naturally touch on both these perpendicular parallel lines, as well as the hook of the Holy Scriptures, and while a Mason keeps himself thus circumscribed he cannot materially err."

[Thus ends the first degree of Masonry, and the reader who has read and paid attention to it knows more of Masonry than any Entered Apprentice Mason in christendom, and more of this degree than one hundredth part of the Master Masons, or even Royal Arch Masons; for very few ever attempt to learn the lectures, or even the obligations; they merely receive the degrees, and there stop, with the exception of a few who are fascinated with the idea of holding an office; they sometimes endeavor to qualify themselves to discharge the duties which devolve upon them in their respective offices. The offices of secretary and treasurer are by some considered the most important in the lodge, particularly where there is much business done.]

Next: Second or Fellow Craft Degree Initiation