All the Lodges meet in one room, alike furnished, for the conferring
of the different degrees (E. A., F. C., and M. M.); but they are masonically styled by the Craft as the Ground Floor, Middle Chamber, and Sanctum Sanctorum.
A person being in the room, while open on the First Degree, would not see any difference in the appearance of the room from a Master Masons’ Lodge. It is the duty of the Tyler to inform all the brethren on what degree the Lodge is at work, especially those that arrive too late (i.e., after the Lodge has been opened). so that none will be liable to give the wrong sign to the Worshipful Master when he enters. If the Lodge is opened on the First Degree, there might he present those who had taken only one degree, and, if the brother arriving late should be ignorant of this fact, and make
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a Third Degree sign, they would see it; consequently, caution on this point should always be given to such brethren by the Tyler, before entering the Lodge.
Usual way: Brethren that arrive too late come up to the ante-room, which they find occupied by the Tyler, sword in hand; after inquiring of the Tyler on what degree the Lodge is at work (opened), they put on an apron, and request the Tyler to let them in; the Tyler steps to the door, gives one rap (•), i.e. if opened on the First Degree; two raps (• •), if Second Degree; three raps (• • •), if the Third Degree; which being heard by the Junior Deacon, on the inside, he reports to the Master the alarm, as follows, viz.:
J. D.–Worshipful Master, there is an alarm at the inner door of our Lodge.
W. M.–Attend to the alarm, Brother Junior, and ascertain the cause.
Junior Deacon opens the door and inquires of the Tyler the cause of the alarm; when the Tyler will report the brethren’s
names (which we will suppose to be Jones, Brown, and Smith).
J. D. (to the Master)–Brothers Jones, Brown, and Smith are without, and wish admission.
If they are known to the Master, he will say, “Admit them.”
Deacon opens the door, and says, in an under tone of voice, “Come in.” These brothers advance to the centre of the Lodge, at the altar make the duegard, and sign of the degree on which the Lodge is opened, which is responded to by the Master, and then take their seats among the brethren. No brother is allowed to take his seat until he has saluted the Worshipful Master on entering a Lodge; and if one omits his duty in this respect, he is immediately reminded of it by either the Master or some one of the brethren present. The Tyler generally cautions the brethren, before entering the Lodge, about giving the sign, before passing them through the door; the Junior Deacon the same, as soon as they are in. This officer’s station is at the inner door, and it is his duty to attend to all alarms from the outside, to report the same to the Master, and get his permission before admitting any one.
The author remembers seeing the duegard and sign of a Master Mason given, while yet an Entered Apprentice Mason: he was sitting one evening in the Lodge, when a brother of the Third Degree came in, and very carelessly saluted the Master with the Master’s duegard and sign, undoubtedly supposing the Lodge open on that degree–a very common error among Masons.
In large cities there are often more than one Lodge. Some cities have ten or twenty, and even more; in the cities of New York and Brooklyn there are one hundred and thirty-five Lodges, besides Chapters, Councils, Commanderies, &c., &c. Consequently, there are Lodge-meetings of some sort every night in the week, excepting Sunday, and of course much visiting is going on between the different Lodges. The visitors are not all known to the Masters personally; but the brethren are, generally, acquainted with each other, and of course have often to be vouched for in some of the Lodges, or pass an examination; and for the purpose of giving the reader an idea of the manner in which they are admitted, the author will suppose a case, in order to illustrate it. Jones, Smith, and Brown, belonging to Amity Lodge, No. 323, in Broadway, New York, wish to visit Hiram Lodge, No. 449, of Twenty-fifth Street, and for that purpose go on Lodge night to the hall of Hiram Lodge, No. 449, and ask the Tyler for admission. The Tyler, perhaps, will say–Brothers, are you acquainted with our Master, or any of the brethren in the Lodge? Smith, Jones, and Brown will say, perhaps, Yes; or, We can’t tell, but pass our names in, and if there are any acquainted with
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