Webb's Masonic Monitor

By Thomas Smith Webb,
1771-1819.

Edition 1865
 

Page 94


 

FUNERALS.

The Ceremony observed at Funerals, according to ancient custom, with the Service used on the Occasion.

NO Mason can be interred with the formalities of the Order unless it be, by his own special request, communicated to the Master of the Lodge of which he died a member, foreigners and sojourners excepted; nor unless he has been advanced to the third degree of Masonry; and from this restriction there can be no exception. Fellow-crafts, or apprentices, are not entitled to funeral obsequies, nor to attend the Masonic procession on such occasions.

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, fixes the day and hour for the funeral, and issues his command to summon the Lodge. He may invite as many Lodges as he thinks proper, and the members of those Lodges may accompany their officers in form; but the whole ceremony must be under the direction of the Master of the Lodge to which the deceased belonged, and he and his officers must be duly honored, and cheerfully obeyed on the occasion.*) But in case the deceased was not a member of either of the attending Lodges, the procession and ceremony must be under the direction of the Master of the oldest Lodge.

All the brethren who walk in procession should observe, as much as possible, an uniformity in their dress. Decent mourning, with white stockings, gloves, and aprons, is most suitable.


 



*) Except when the Grand or Deputy Grand Master is present, and exercises his authority

 



 

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THE FUNERAL SERVICE.

 

The brethren being assembled at the Lodge-room, (or some other convenient place), the presiding Master opens the Lodge, in the third degree, with the usual forms; and having stated the purpose of the meeting, the service begins.

Master. What man is he that liveth and shall not see death? Shall he deliver his soul from the hand of the grave?

Response. Man walketh in a vain shadow; he heapeth up riches, and can not tell who shall gather them.

Master. When he dieth he shall carry nothing away; his glory shall not descend after him.

Response. Naked he came into the world, and naked he must return.

Master. The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken axay; blessed be the name of the Lord!

The grand honors are then given, and certain forms used, which can not be here explained.

The Master then, taking the sacred roll in his hand, says:

Let us die the death of the righteous, and let our last end be like his.

The brethren answer:



 



 

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God is our God forever and ever; he will be our guide even unto death.

The Master then records the name and age of the deceased upon the roll, and says:

Almighty Father! into thy hands we commend the soul of our loving brother.

The brethren answer three times (giving the grand honors each time):

The will of God is accomplished! so be it.

The Master then deposits the roll in the archives, and repeats the following prayer:

Most glorious God! Author of all good, and Giver of all mercy! pour down thy blessings upon us, and strengthen our solemn engagements with the ties of sincere affection! May the present instance of mortality remind us of our approaching fate, and draw our attention toward thee, the only refuge in time of need! that when the awful moment shall arrive that we are about to quit this transitory scene, the enlivening prospect of thy mercy may dispel the gloom of death; and after our departure hence in peace and in thy favor, we may be received into thine everlasting



 



 

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kingdom, to enjoy, in union with the souls of our departed friends, the just reward of a pious and virtuous life. Amen.

A procession is then formed, which moves to the house of the deceased, and from thence to the place of interment. The different Lodges rank according to seniority, except that the Lodge of which the deceased was a member walks nearest the corpse. Each Lodge forms one division, and the following order is observed:

 

ORDER OF PROCESSION AT A FUNERAL.

 

Tyler, with a Drawn Sword;
Stewards, with White Rods;
Musicians (if they are Masons; otherwise they follow the Tyler);
Master Masons;
Senior and Junior Deacons;
Secretary and Treasurer;
Senior and Junior Wardens;
Past Masters;
The Holy Writings, on a cushion covered with black cloth,
carried by the Oldest Member of the Lodge;
The Master;
Clergy;

With the insignia
placed thereon,
And two
Swords Crossed;
Pall Bearers.
Pall Bearers.

The brethren are not to desert their ranks, or change places, but keep in their different departments. When the procession arrives at the churchyard, the members of the Lodge form a circle round the grave, and the clergymen and officers of the acting Lodge, taking their station at the head of the grave, and the mourners at the foot, the service is resumed, and the following exhortation given:



 



 

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Here we view a striking instance of the uncertainty of life, and the vanity of all human pursuits. The last offices paid to the dead are only useful as lectures to the living; from them we are to derive instruction, and consider every solemnity of this kind as a summons to prepare for our approaching dissolution.

Notwithstanding the various mementoes of mortality with which we daily meet; notwithstanding death has established his empire over all the works of nature; yet through some unaccountable infatuation we forget that we are born to die: we go on from one design to another, add hope to hope, and lay out plans for the eimployment of many years, till we are suddenly alarmed with the approach of death, when we least expect him, and at an hour which we probably conclude to be the meridian of our existence.

What are all the externals of majesty, the pride of wealth, or charms of beauty, when nature has paid her just debt? Fix your eyes on the last scene, and view life stripped of her ornaments, and exposed in her natural meanness; you will then be convinced of the futility of those empty delusions. In the grave, all fallacies are



 



 

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detected, all ranks are leveled, and all distinctions are done away.

While we drop the sympathetic tear over the grave of our deceased friend, let charity incline us to throw a vail over his foibles, whatever they may have been, and not withhold from his memory the praise that his virtues may have claimed. Suffer the apologies of human nature to plead in his behalf. Perfection on earth has never been attained; the wisest as well as the best of men have erred.

Let the present example excite our most serious thoughts and strengthen our resolutions of amendment. As life is uncertain, and all earthly pursuits are vain, let us no longer postpone the important concern of preparing for eternity; but embrace the happy moment, while time and opportunity offer, to provide against the great change, when all the pleasures of this world shall cease to delight, and the reflections of a virtuous life yield the only comfort and consolation. Thus our expectations will not be frustrated, nor we hurried unprepared into the presence of an all-wise and powerful Judge, to whom the secrets of all hearts are known.

Let us, while in this state of existence,



 



 

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support with propriety the character of our profession, advert to the nature of our solemn ties, and pursue with assiduity the sacred tenets of our Order: Then, with becoming reverence, let us supplicate the Divine grace to insure the favor of that eternal Being, whose goodness and power know no bound; that when the awful moment arrives, be it soon or late, we may be enabled to prosecute our journey, without dread or apprehension, to that far distant country whence no traveler returns.

The following invocations are then made by the Master:

Master. May we be true and faithful; and may we live and die in love!

Answer. So mote it be.

Master. May we profess what is good, and always act agreeably to our profession!

Answer. So mote it be.

Master. May the Lord bless us, and prosper us; and may all our good intentions be crowned with success!

Answer. So mote it be.

Master. Glory be to God on high! on earth peace! good-will toward men!

Answer. So mote it be, now, from henceforth, and for evermore.



 



 

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The brethren then move in procession round the place of interment, and severally drop a sprig of evergreen into the grave, accompanied with the usual honors.

The Master then concludes the ceremony at the grave in the following words:

From time immemorial it has been the custom among the Fraternity of Free and Accepted Masons, at the request of a brother, to accompany his corpse to the place of interment, and there to deposit his remains with the usual formalities.

In conformity to this usage, and at the special request of our deceased brother, whose memory we revere, and whose loss we now deplore, we have assembled in the character of Masons to resign his body to the earth whence it came, and to offer up to his memory, before the world, the last tribute of our affection; thereby demonstrating the sincerity of our past esteem, and our steady attachment to the principles of the Order.

The great Creator having been pleased, out of his mercy, to remove our brother from the cares and troubles of a transitory existence, to a state of eternal duration, and thereby to weaken the chain by which we are united, man to man, may we, who survive him, anticipate our approaching



 



 

Page 102


 

fate, and be more strongly cemented in the ties of union and friendship; that, during the short space allotted to our present existence, we may wisely and usefully employ our time, and, in the reciprocal intercourse of kind and friendly acts, mutually promote the welfare and happiness of each other.

Unto the grave we resign the body of our deceased friend, there to remain until the general resurrection, in favorable expectation that his immortal soul may then partake of joys which have been prepared for the righteous from the beginning of the world. And may Almighty God, of his infinite goodness, at the grand tribunal of unbiased justice, extend his mercy toward him, and all of us, and crown our hope with everlasting bliss in the expanded realms of a boundless eternity. This we beg, for the honor of his name; to whom be glory, now and forever. Amen.

Thus the service ends, and the procession returns in form to the place whence it set out, where the necessary duties are complied with, and the business of Masonry is renewed. The insignia and ornaments of the deceased, if an officer of a Lodge, are returned to the Master with the usual ceremonies, after which the charges for regulating the conduct of the brethren are rehearsed, and the Lodge is closed in the third degree.



 



 

Page 103


 

 

CEREMONY OF CONSTITUTION AND CONSECRATION.

 

On the day and hour appointed, the Grand Master and his officers meet in a convenient room near the Lodge to be constituted, and open in the third degree. After the officers in the new Lodge are examined by the Deputy Grand Master, they send a Messenger to the Grand Master, with the following message, viz:

MOST WORSHIPFUL:
The officers and brethren of -- Lodge, who are now assembled in their lodge-room at --, have instructed me to inform you, that the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge was pleased to grant them a charter, authorizing them to form and open a Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons in the town of --. They are now desirous that their Lodge should be consecrated, and their officers installed in due and ancient form; for which purpose they are now met, and await the pleasure of the Most Worshipful Grand Master.

When notice is given, the Grand Lodge walk in procession to the hall of the new Lodge. When the Grand Master enters, the grand honors are given by



 



 

Page 104


 

the new Lodge; the officers of which resign their seats to the grand officers, and take their several stations on the left.

The necessary cautions are given, and all, excepting Present or Past Masters of Lodges, are requested to retire, until the Master of the new Lodge is inducted into the Oriental Chair of Solomon. He is then bound to the faithful performance of his trust, and invested with the characteristics of the chair.

Upon due notice, the Grand Marshal re-conducts the brethren into the hall, and all take their places, except the members of the new Lodge, who form a procession on one side of the hall. As they advance, the Grand Master addresses them.

 

"Brethren, behold your Master."

 

They make the proper salutation as they pass. A grand procession is then formed, in the following order, viz:

Tyler with a drawn sword;
Two Stewards with white rods;
Entered Apprentices;
Fellow-Crafts;
Master Masons;
Stewards;
Junior Deacons;
Senior Deacons;
Secretaries;
Treasurers;
Past Wardens;
Junior Wardens;
Senior Wardens;
Past Masters;
Mark Masters;



 



 

Page 105


 

Royal Arch Masons;
Select Masters;
Knights Templars;
Masters of Lodges.

THE NEW LODGE.

Tyler with a drawn sword;
Stewards with white rods;

Entered Apprentices;
Fellow-Crafts;
Master Masons;
Junior and Senior Deacons;
Secretary and Treasurer;
Two brethren carrying the Flooring, *) or Lodge;
Junior and Senior Wardens;
The Holy Writings, carried by the oldest or some suitable
member not in office;
The W. Master;
Music.

 

THE GRAND LODGE.

Grand Tyler with drawn sword;
Grand Stewards with white rods;
A brother carrying a golden vessel of corn; +
Two brethren carrying the silver vessels-one of wine,
the other of oil;
Grand Secretaries;
Grand Treasurer;
A burning taper, borne by a Past Master;
A Past Master, bearing the Holy Writings, Square, and Compasses,
supported by two Stewards with white rods;
Two burning tapers, borne by two Past Masters;
The Tuscan and Composite Orders;
The Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian Orders;
Past Grand Wardens;
Past Deputy Grand Masters;
Past Grand Masters;
The Globes;
Clergy and Orator;
R. W. Junior and Senior Grand Wardens;


 



*) Carpet.
+) Wheat.

 



 

Page 106


 

R. W. Deputy Grand Master;
The Master of the Oldest Lodge, carrying
the Book of Constitutions;
The M. W. Grand Master;
The Grand Deacons, on a line seven feet apart,
on the right and left of the Grand Master, with black rods;
Grand Sword Bearer with a drawn sword;
Two Stewards with white rods.

The Marshals conduct the procession to the church or house where the services are to be performed. When the front of the procession arrives at the door, they halt, open to the right and left, and face inward; while the Grand Master and others, in succession, pass through and enter the house. A platform is erected in front of the pulpit, and provided with seats for the accommodation of the Grand Officers.

The Holy Bible, Square and Compasses, and Book of Constitutions are placed upon a table in front of the Grand Master. The flooring is then spread in the center, upon the platform, covered with white satin or linen, and encompassed by the three tapers, and the vessels of corn, wine, and oil.

 

SERVICES.

 

  1. A piece of Music.
  2. Prayer.
  3. An Oration.
  4. A piece of Music.
  5. The Grand Marshal forms the officers and members of the new Lodge in front of the Grand Master. The Deputy Grand Master addresses the Grand Master as follows:



 



 

Page 107


 

MOST WORSHIPFUL:
A number of brethren, duly instructed in the mysteries of Masonry, having assembled together at stated periods, by virtue of a dispensation granted them for that purpose, do now desire to be constituted into a regular Lodge, agreeably to the ancient usages and customs of the Fraternity.

The dispensation and records are presented to the Grand Master, who examines the records, and, if found correct, proclaims:

The records appear to be correct, and are approved. Upon due deliberation, the Grand Lodge have granted the brethren of this new Lodge a charter, establishing and confirming them in the rights and privileges of a regularly constituted Lodge, which the Grand Secretary will now read.

After the charter is read, the Grand Master then says:

We shall now proceed, according to ancient usage, to constitute these brethren into a regular Lodge.



 



 

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Whereupon the several officers of the new Lodge deliver up their jewels and badges to the Master, who presents them, with his own, to the Deputy Grand Master, and he to the Grand Master.

The Deputy Grand Master presents the Master elect to the Grand Master, saying:

MOST WORSHIPFUL GRAND MASTER:
I present my worthy Brother A. B. to be installed Master of this (new) Lodge. I find him to be of good morals and great skill, true and trusty; and as he is a lover of our whole fraternity, where-so-ever dispersed over the face of the earth, I doubt not that he will discharge his duty with fidelity.

The Grand Master asks them if they remain satisfied with their choice. [They bow in token of assent.]

The Master elect then presents, severally, his Wardens and other officers, naming them and their respective offices. The Grand Master asks the brethren if they remain satisfied with each and all of them. [They bow as before.]

The officers and members of the new Lodge form in front of the Grand Master; and the business of Consecration commences with solemn music.



 



 

Page 109


 

 

CEREMONY OF CONSECRATION.

 

The Grand Master, attended by the Grand Officers and the Grand Chaplain, form themselves in order round the Lodge - all devoutly kneeling.

A piece of solemn music is performed, while the Lodge is uncovered.

After which, the first clause of the Consecration Prayer is rehearsed by the Grand Chaplain, which is as follows:

"Great Architect of the Universe! Maker and Ruler of all worlds! deign, from thy celestial temple, from realms of light and glory, to bless us in all the purposes of our present assembly. We humbly invoke thee to give us at this and at all times wisdom in all our doings, strength of mind in all our difficulties, and the beauty of harmony in all our communications. Permit us, O thou Author of light and life, great Source of love and happiness, to erect this Lodge, and now solemnly to consecrate it to the honor of thy glory.

"Glory be to God on high."

[Response by the Brethren.]



 



 

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"As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be; world without end. Anmen. So mote it be.

The Deputy Grand Master takes the Golden Vessel of Corn, and the Senior and Junior Grand Wardens take the Silver Vessels of Wine and Oil, and sprinkle the elements of consecration upon the Lodge.

The Grand Chaplain then continues:

"Grant, O Lord, our God, that those who are now about to be invested with the government of this Lodge, may be endued with wisdom to instruct their brethren in all their duties. May brotherly love, relief, and truth always prevail among the members of this Lodge; and may this bond of union continue to strengthen the Lodges throughout the world.

"Bless all our brethren, wherever dispersed; and grant speedy relief to all who are either oppressed or distressed.

"We affectionately commend to thee all the members of thy whole family. May they increase in grace, in the knowledge of thee, and in the love of each other.



 



 

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"Finally: may we finish all our work here below with thy approbation; and then have our transition from this earthly abode to thy heavenly temple above, there to enjoy light, glory, and bliss, ineffable and eternal!

"Glory be to God on high."

[Response by the Brethren.]
"As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be; world without end. Amen.

  1. A piece of solemn music is performed while the Carpet is covered.
  2. The Grand Chaplain then dedicates the Lodge in the following terms:

"To the memory of the HOLY STS. JOHN we dedicate this Lodge. May every brother revere their character, and imitate their virtues.

"Glory be to God on high."

[Response.]
"As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be; world without end. Amen. So mote it be."



 



 

Page 112


 

 

  1. A piece of music is performed, while the brethren of the new Lodge advance in procession to salute the Grand Lodge, with their hands crossed upon their breasts as they pass. They then take their places as they were.
  2. The Grand Master then rises and constitutes the new Lodge in the form following:

"In the name of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge, I now constitute and form you, my beloved brethren, into a regular Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons. From henceforth I empower you to meet as a regular Lodge, constituted in conformity to the rights of our Order, and the charges of our ancient and honorable Fraternity; and may the Supreme Architect of the Universe prosper, direct, and counsel you in all your doings. Amen.

Response: " So mote it be."



 

 

         

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