There are three great duties, which, as a Mason, you are strictly to observe and inculcate–to God, your neighbor, and yourself. To God, in never mentioning His name but with that reverential awe which is due from a creature to his Creator; to implore His aid in all your laudable undertakings, and to esteem Him as your chief good. To your neighbor, in acting upon the square, and doing unto him as you would he should do unto you: and to yourself, in avoiding all irregularity and intemperance, which may impair your facilities or debase the dignity of your profession. A zealous attachment to these duties will insure public and private esteem.

In the State you are to be a quiet and peaceable citizen, true to your government, and just to your country; you are not to countenance disloyalty or rebellion, but patiently 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. Let not interest, favor, or prejudice bias your integrity, or influence you to be guilty of a dishonorable action. And although your frequent appearance at our regular meetings is earnestly solicited, yet it is not meant that Masonry should interfere with your necessary avocations, for these are on no account to be neglected; neither are you to suffer your zeal

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for the institution to lead you into arguments with those who, through ignorance, may ridicule it. But, 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 ready to receive instruction.

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 careful 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.

[If the candidate be a clergyman, add the following:]

You, brother, are a preacher of that religion, of which the distinguishing characteristics are universal benevolence and unbounded charity. You cannot, therefore, but be fond of the Order, and zealous for the interests of Freemasonry, which, in the strongest manner, inculcates the same charity and benevolence, and which, like that religion, encourages every moral and social virtue; which introduces peace and good-will among man. kind, and is the centre of union to those who otherwise might have remained at a perpetual distance. So that whoever is warmed with the spirit of Christianity, must esteem, must love Freemasonry. Such is the nature of our institution, that, in all our Lodges, union is cemented by sincere attachment, hypocrisy and deceit are unknown, and pleasure is reciprocally communicated by the cheerful observance of every obliging office. Virtue, the grand object in view, luminous as the meridian sun, shines refulgent on the mind, enlivens the heart, and converts cool approbation into warm sympathy and cordial affection.

Though every man, who carefully listens to the dictates of reason, may arrive at a clear persuasion of the beauty and necessity of virtue, both public and private. yet it is a full recommendation of a society to have these pursuits continually in view, as the sole objects of their association; and these are the laudable bonds which unite us in one indissoluble fraternity.

For the ceremony of closing a Lodge, see the end of the Third, or Master Masons’ Degree, page 142.

PERFECT ASHLER

ROUGH ASHLER

 


Footnotes

12:1 In most foreign Lodges the Master wears his hat, while the rest of the brethren remain uncovered. This practice was followed by MacKenzie Beverly Esq., when he held the office of D. P. G. M. for the East Riding of York.–Historical Landmarks, vol. i. p. 138.

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