« PreviousContinue »
Remarks on the Sixth, or Most Excellent Master's
None but the meritorious and praiseworthy; none but those, who, through diligence and industry, have progressed far towards perfection; none but those who have been seated in the Oriental Chair, by the unanimous suffrages of their brethren, can be admitted to this degree of masonry.
In its original establishment, when the temple of Jerusalem was finished, and the fraternity celebrated the capestone with great joy, it is demonstrable that none but those, who had proved themselves to be complete masters of their profession, were admitted to this honor; and, indeed, the duties incumbent on every mason, who is accepted and acknowledged as a most excellent master, are such as render it indispensable that he should have a perfect knowledge of all the preceding degrees.
One of the following passages of scripture is rehearsed at opening, accompanied by solemn ceremonies:
Psalm xxiv.-" The earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. For he hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods. Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? and who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not listed up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his salvation; This is the generation of them that seek him, that seek thy face, O Jacob. Selah. Lift up your heads, 0 ye gates, and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors, and the King of Glory shall come in. Who is this King of Glory? The Lord, strong and mighty, the Lord, mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, 0 ye gates, even lift them up, ye everlasting doors, and the King of Glory shall come in. Who is this King of Glory? The Lord of Hosts, he is the King of Glory. Selah."
Psalm cxxii._"I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into-the house of the Lord. Our feet shall stand within thy gates, 0 Jerusalem. Jerusalem is builded as
a city that is compact together: whither the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord, unto the testimony of Israel, to give thanks unto the name of the Lord. For there are set thrones of judgment, the thrones of the house of David.
“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem; they shall prosper that love thee. Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity with: in thy palaces. For my brethren and companions' sakes, I will now say, Peace be within thee. Because of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek thy good.”
The following passages of scripture are also introduced, accompanied with solemn ceremonies:
2 Chron. vi.—[Then said Solomon, The Lord hath said that he would dwell in the thick darkness. But I have built an house of habitation for thee, and a place for thy dwelling forever.
And the king turned his face, and blessed the whole congregation of Israel, (and all the congregation of Israel stood:) And he said, Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, who hath with his hands fulfilled that which he spake with his mouth to my father David, saying, Since the day that I brought forth my people out of the land of Egypt; I chose no city among all the tribes of Israel to build an house in, that my name might be there; neither chose I any man to be a. ruler over my people Israel; but I have chosen Jerusalem, that my name might be there; and have chosen David to be over my people Israel,
Now, it was in the heart of David, my father, to build an house for the name of the Lord God of Israel. But the Lord said to David my father, Forasmuch as it was in thine heart to build an house for my name, thou didst well in that it was thine heart: notwithstanding thou shalt not build the house; but thy son, which shall come forth out of thy loins, lie shall build the house for my name. The Lord, therefore, hath performed his word that he hath spoken; for I am risen up in the room of David my father, and am set on the throne of Israel, as the Lord promised, and have built the house for the name of the Lord God of Israel: and in it have I put the ark, wherein is the covenant of the Lord, that he made with the children of Israel.
And he stood before the altar of the Lord, in the presence of all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands: For Solomon had made a brazen scaffold of five cubits long, and five cubits broad, and three cubits high, and had set it in the midst of the court; and upon it he stood, and kneeled
down upon his knees before all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands toward heaven, and said,
O Lord God of Israel, there is no God like thee in the heaven nor in the earth; which keepest covenant, and shewest mercy unto thy servants that walk before thee with all their hearts: thou which bast kept with thy servant David my father, that which thou hast promised him; and spakest with thy mouth, and hast fulfilled it with thine hand, as it is this day. Now, therefore, O Lord God of Israel, keep with thy servant David my father, that which thou hast promised him, saying, There shall not fail thee a man in my sight to sit upon the throne of Israel; yet so that thy children tako heed to their way to walk in my law, as thou hast walked before me. Now, then, O Lord God of Israel, let thy word be verified, which thou hast spoken unto thy servant David. (But will God in very deed dwell with men on the earth! Behold, heaven, and the heaven of heavens, cannot contain thee; how much less this house which I have built!) Have respect, therefore, to the prayer of thy servant, and to his supplication, O Lord my God, to hearken unto the cry
and the prayer which thy servant prayeth before thee: that thine eyes may be open upon this house day and night, upon the place whereof thou hast said that thou wouldest put thy name there; to hearken unto the prayer which thy servant prayeth towards this place.
Hearken, therefore, unto the supplications of thy servant, and of thy people Israel, which they shall make towards this place: hear thou from thy dwelling place, even from heaven; and, when thou hearest, forgive.]
[If a man sin against his neighbour, and an oath be laid upon him to make him swear, and the oath come before thine altar in this house: Then hear thou from heaven, and do and judge thy servants, by requiting the wicked, by recompensing his way upon his own head; and by justifying the righteous, by giving him according to his righteousness,
And if thy people Israel be put to the worse before the enemy, because they have sinned against thee, and shall return and confess thy name, and pray and make supplication before thee in this house: then hear thou from the heavens, and forgive the sin of thy people Israel, and bring them again unto the land which thou gavest to them and to their fathers,
When the heaven is shut up, and there is no rain, becauso they have sinned against thee; yet if they pray toward this place, and confess thy pame, and turn from their sin when
thou dost afflict them: Then hear thou from heaven, and forgive the sin of thy servants, and of thy people Israel, when thou hast taught them the good way wherein they should walk; and send rain upon thy land, which thou hast given unto thy people for an inheritance.
If there be dearth in the land, if there be pestilence, if there be blasting or mildew, locusts or caterpillars; if their enemies besiege them in the cities of their land; whatsoever sore or whatsover sickness there be: Then what prayer ore what supplication soever shall be made of any man, or of all thy people Israel, when every one shall know his own sore, and his own grief, and shall spread forth his hands in this house: Then hear thou from heaven thy dwelling place, and forgive, and render unto every man according unto all his ways, whose heart thou knowest; (for thou only know. est the hearts of the children of men:) that they may fear thee, to walk in thy ways so long as they live, in the land which thou gavest unto our fathers.
Moreover, concerning the stranger, which is not of thy people Israel, but is come from a far country for thy great name's sake, and thy mighty hand and thy stretched-out arm; if they come and pray in this house: Then hear thou from the heavens, even from thy dwelling place, and do according to all that the stranger calleth to thee for; that all people of the earth may know thy name, and fear thee, as doth thy people Israel; and may know that this house, which I have built, is called by thy name.
If thy people go out to war against their enemies, by the way that thou shalt send them, and they pray unto thee toward this city which thou hast chosen, and the house which I have built for thy name: Then hear thou from the heavens their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause.
If they sin against tliee (for there is no man which sinneth not) and thou be angry with them, and deliver them over before their enemies, and they carry them away captives unto a land far off or near; yet if they bethink themselves in the land whither they are carried captive, and turn and pray unto thee in the land of their captivity, saying, We have sinned, we have done amiss, and have dealt wickedly; if they return to thee with all their heart, and with all their soul, in the land of their captivity, whither they have carried them captives, and pray toward their land, which thou gavest unto their fathers, and toward the city
which thou hast chosen, and toward the house which I have built for thy name: Then bear thou from the heavens, even from thy dwelling place, their prayer and their supplications, and maintain their cause, and forgive thy people which have sinned against thee.
Now, my God, let, I beseech thee, thine eyes be open; and let thine ears be attent unto the prayer that is made in this place.
Now, therefore, arise, O Lord God, into thy restingplace, thou and the ark of thy strength: let thy priests, 0 Lord God, be clothed with salvation, and let thy saints rejoice in goodness.
O Lord God, turn not away the face of thine anointed: remember the mercies of David thy servant.]
2 Chron. vii. 1, 4.- Now, when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the Lord filled the house. And the priests could not enter into the house of the Lord, because the glory of the Lord had filled the Lord's house.
And when all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down, and the glory of the Lord upon the house, they bowed themselves with their faces to the ground upon the pavement, and worshipped, and praised the Lord, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth forever.]
Charge to be delivered to a Brother, who is accepted and ac
knowledged as a Most Excellent Master. BROTHER-"Your admittance to this degree of masonry, is a proof of the good opinion the brethren of this lodge entertain of your masonic abilities. Let this consideration induce you to be careful of forfeiting, by misconduct and inattention to our rules, that esteem which has raised you to the rank you now possess.
“It is one of your great duties, as a most excellent master, to dispense light and truth to the uninformed mason; and I need not remind you of the impossibility of complying with this obligation without possessing an accurate acquaintance with the lectures of each degree.
“If you are not already completely conversant in all the degrees heretofore conferred on you, remember, that an indulgence, prompted by a belief that you will apply yourself with double diligence to make yourself so, has induced the brethren to accept you.