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lodge is opened by the grand master, and the rules for forming the procession to and from the place at which the ceremony is to be performed, are read by the grand secretary, and committed to the grand marshal. The necessary cautions are then given from the chair, and the lodge is adjourned: after which they move in procession to the place for the foundation of the building.
A triumphal arch is usually erected at the place where the ceremony is to be performed; under which the brethren pass, and repair to their stations, and the grand master and his officers take their place on a temporary platform, cov. ered with a carpet. An ode, suited to the occasion, is then sung:
The grand master commands silence, and the necessary preparations are made for laying the stone, on which is engraved the year of masonry, with the name and titles of the grand master, &c. &c. The workmen's tools are presented to the grand master; who applies the square, plumb, and level to the stone in their proper positions, and pronounces it to be “well formed, true and trusty." The stone is next raised up, by means of an engine erected for that purpose, and the grand chaplain repeats the following prayer:
“May the Grand Architect of the Universe grant a blessing on this foundation stone, which we have now laid; and by his Providence enable us to finish this and all our works with skill and success.—Glory be to God in the highest!"
Response by the brethren. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be-Amen!--so mote it be-Amen!
Solemn music is next introduced; after which the grand treasurer, by the grand master's command, places under the stone various sorts of coin and medals of the present age: and the stone is placed as it is to lie.
The cornucopia and two silver vases are next brought to the table, and delivered; the cornucopia to the deputy grand master, and the two vases to the wardens, who successively present them to the grand master: and he, according to ancient ceremony, pours the corn, the wine, and the oil, which they contain, on the stone, saying,
"May the all-bounteous Author of nature bless the inhabitants of this place with all the necessaries, conveniences, and comforts of life-assist in the erection and completing of this building; protect the workmen against
every accident, and long preserve this structure from decay. And grant to us all, in needed supply, the corn of nourishment, the wine of refreshment, and the oil of joy. Amen!-so mote it be-Amen."
He then strikes the stone thrice with the mallet: and the honours of masonry are given.
The grand master then delivers over to the master workman the various implements of architecture, intrusting him with the superintendance and direction of the work; after which he reascends the platform, and an oration suitable to the occasion is delivered.
A song in honour of masonry concludes the ceremony: and then the procession returns, and the lodge is closed in form.
Ceremony at the opening of a Bridge. The grand lodge, neighbouring lodges, and brethren, move in procession to the new bridge, attended by the magistrates and gentlemen of the vicinity. They form, in order, at the entrance of the bridge. The grand master, with his wardens, then examines the work, and finding it to be swell constructed and fit for public use," he causes proclamation to be made accordingly. The grand honours are then given—a short address is made, and an ode sung, adapted to the occasion.
They then march over the bridge, and return with music. The proclamations are again made. After which, there is a discharge of artillery.
The grand lodge then returns in procession, and is closed in form.
Ceremony observed at the Dedication or Consecration of Ma
sons' Halls. On the day appointed for the celebration of dedication, the grand master and his officers, accompanied by the members of the grand lodge, meet in a convenient room adjoining to the place in which the ceremony is to be performed; and the grand lodge is opened in ample form, in all the degrees of masonry. The order of procession is read by
the grand secretary, and committed to the grand marshal; and the necessary directions are given to the brethren froin the chair. The lodge is then adjourned; and the procession formed, and moves forward till they reach the chair of the master. The officers of the lodge are then proclaimed, in order. Solemn music is introduced, and continues while the procession moves three times round the hall. The lodge is then placed in the centre, on a crimson velvet couch; and the grand master having taken the chair, under a masonic canopy, the grand officers, and the masters and wardens of lodges, repair to the places previously arranged for their reception. The three lights, with the gold and silver vases, with the corn, wine and oil, are placed on the lodge; at the head of which stands the pedestal, with the Bible open, with the square and compasses laid thereon; and the constitution roll, on a crimson velvet cushion. Then an anthem is sung, and an encomium on masonry is delivered. After which the architect addresses the grand master, returns thanks for the honour conferred on him, and surrenders up the implements intrusted to him for the finishing the work. The grand master, having expressed his approbation, an ode in honour of masonry is sung, accompanied by instrumental music: after which, such of the spectators as are not masons retire for refreshment.
The lodge being tiled, the business of masonry is resumed.
The grand secretary informs the grand master, that it is the design of the fraternity to have the hall dedicated to masonry; upon which, he orders the grand officers to assist in the ceremony, with solemn music, excepting only at the intervals of dedication.
The lodge is uncovered, and the first procession being made round it, the grand master having reached the east, strikes thrice with his mallet; and, after profound silence, dedicates the hall to masonry, "in the name of the GREAT JEHOVAH—to whom be all glory and honour."
Upon which, the grand chaplain strews corn over the lodge.
Solemn music then begins, and a second procession is made round the lodge; when, on the grand master's arrival at the east, silence is again proclaimed—and he declares the hall dedicated, as before, to virtue and science: on which the chaplain sprinkles wine on the lodge.
Solemn music is again performed, and a third procession made round the lodge; when, the grand master having reached the east, all is silent—and the hall is dedicated as before, to universal charity and benevolence. Upon which, the chaplain dips his fingers in the oil, and sprinkles it over the lodge.
At each dedication the honours are given.
A solemn invocation is made to heaven by the grand chaplain, followed by responses from all the brethren; and an anthem is sung. After which, the lodge is covered, and the grand master retires to the chair.
The spectators may now return, and the grand master may direct the grand procession to be resumed, and to march three times round the hall, halting each time in the east. Whilst the procession is moving, the music continues, but ceases when the procession halts. After this, the members of the grand lodge take their places. An oration, suited to the occasion, is delivered by the grand chaplain, or some other brother, appointed for that purpose by the grand master.
The grand lodge again forms in procession as at first, and returns to the room where it was opened; the laws of the order are rehearsed, and then the grand lodge is closed in ample form.
Ceremony observed at Funerals; with the service to be used on
those occasions. The practice of funeral rites has been general among mankind. It affords opportunity for the happy recollection of the virtues of the deceased, as well as for the public testimony of the duties which have existed between the dead and the living. It at once assists sympathy and virtue.
The ceremonies are different in different nations, and a conformity to them has been recommended among the brethren: they have also their usual forms, in which they express their common friendship in mourning for the dead.
No mason can be entered with the formalities of the order, unless it be by his own special request whilst living, communicated to the master of the lodge of which he died a member; nor unless he has been advanced to the third degree of masonry; foreigners, sojourners, and particular officers,
excepted, and those at the direction of the grand master. From the above restriction, there can be no other exceptions.
The master of a lodge having received notice of a master mason's death, and of his request to be interred with the ceremonies of the order, and duly notified of the time and place of interment, must summon his lodge, informing them of the funeral solemnities.
If more lodges are expected to attend, he must make application, by the grand secretary, to the grand master, for permission to preside over such brethren from other lodges as may assist in forming the procession, who are to be under his direction for the time, unless the grand master, his deputy, or the grand wardens, are present.
In case of a stranger, the master of the senior lodge present presides, if the proper gand officers are absent.
The dispensation being obtained, the master may invite as many lodges as he thinks proper; and the members of these lodges may accompany their oflicers in form.
All the brethren must appear in decent mourning; dressed in white stockings, gloves and aprons, the usual clothing of master masons.
The officers must appear with the badges of the lodge, and such as have been officers, may wear the badges of their former stations, provided that the brethren actually in office are distinguished by sashes and batbands.
The brethren should first assemble, if it be possible, in their lodge room, and open in due form, and remain standing during the first part of the service, which may, in common cases, be performed in their hall, with the usual ceremonies.
A procession is then formed; the lodges move according to seniority, excepting that the lodge, of which the deceased was a member, moves nearest to the corpse.
In the graveyard, the brethren proceed to the grave, and then, entering at its foot, open, so that the master may stand at the head of the grave, and the mourners may halt at the foot, while the brethren encircle it. Whilst the prayers are reading at the grave, the brethren may slowly approach it, till they are as near as they can with comfort stand,
If no part of the service has been already performed in the lodge, or some public building, with proper ceremonies, then it is here rehearsed; or such as may be substituted by the direction of the master.
The service may be performed by responses, or by one voice; at discretion.