Webb's Masonic Monitor

By Thomas Smith Webb,
1771-1819.

Edition 1865
 

Page 76


 

Remarks on the Third Degree.

FROM this class the rulers of regular bodies of Masons, in the first three degrees, are selected, as it is only from those who are capable of giving instruction that we can properly expect to receive it. The lecture of this degree, considered separately from the duties and ceremonies appertaining to the degree of Presiding or Past Master, is divided into three sections.



 



 

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The First Section.

 

The ceremony of initiation into the third degree is particularly specified in this branch of the lecture, and here many other useful instructions are given.

Such is the importance of this section, that we may safely declare, that the person who is unacquainted with it is ill qualified to act as a ruler or governor of the work.

 

SCRIPTURE.

 

The following passage of Scripture is introduced during the ceremonies:

Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them; while the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened, nor the clouds return. after the rain: in the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble, and the strong men shall bow themselves, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those that look out of the windows be darkened, and the doors shall be shut in the streets, when the sound of the grinding is low; and he shall rise up at the voice of the bird, and all the daughters of music shall be



 



 

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brought low. Also when they shall be afraid of that which is high; and fears shall be in the way, and the almond-tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail: because man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets: or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern. Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was, and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it. - Eccles.-xii: 1-7.

 

THE WORKING TOOLS

 

Of a Master Mason, which are illustrated in this section, are all the implements of Masonry indiscriminately, but more especially

 

THE TROWEL.

 

The TROWEL is an instrument made use of by operative Masons to spread the cement which unites a building into one common mass; but we, as Free and Accepted Masons, are taught to make use of it for



 



 

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the more noble and glorious purpose of spreading the cement of brotherly love and affection; that cement which unites us into one sacred band, or society of friends and brothers, among whom no contention should ever exist, but that noble contention, or rather emulation, of who best can work or best agree.

 

The Second Section

 

Recites the historical traditions of the Order, and presents to view a finished picture of the utmost consequence to the Fraternity. It exemplifies an instance of virtue, fortitude, and integrity, seldom equaled, and never excelled, in the history of man.



 



 

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FUNERAL DIRGE.

 



 



 

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PRAYER,

At Raising a Brother to the Sublime Degree of a Master Mason.

 

THOU, O God! knowest our down-sitting and our uprising, and understandest our thoughts afar off. Shield and defend us fromn the evil intentions of our enemies, and support us under the trials and afflictions we are destined to endure while traveling through this vale of tears. Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble. He cometh forth as a flower, and is cut down; he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not. Seeing his days are determined, the number of his months are with thee, thou hast appointed his bounds that he can not pass; turn from him that he may rest, till he shall accomplish his day. For there is hope of a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that the tender branch thereof will not cease. But man dieth, and wasteth away: yea, man giveth up the ghost, and where is he? As the waters fail from the sea, and the flood decayeth and drieth



 



 

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up, so man lieth down, and riseth not till the heavens shall be no more. Yet, O Lord! have compassion on the children of thy creation, administer them comfort in time of trouble, and save them with an everlasting salvation. Amen. So mote it be.

 

The Third Section

 

Illustrates certain hieroglyphical emblems, and inculcates many useful lessons to extend knowledge and promote virtue.

In this branch of the lecture many particulars relative to King Solomon's Temple are considered.

The construction of this grand edifice was attended with two remarkable circumstances. From tradition we learn that although seven years were occupied in building it, yet during the whole term it rained not in the day-time, that the workmen might not be obstructed in their labor: and from sacred history it appears that there was neither the sound of the hammer, nor ax, nor any tool of iron, heard in the house while it was building.



 



 

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This famous fabric was supported by fourteen hundred and fifty-three columns, and two thousand nine hundred and six pilasters, all hewn from the finest Parian marble. There were employed in this building three grand masters; three thousand and three hundred masters, or overseers of the work; eighty thousand fellow-crafts; and seventy thousand entered apprentices, or bearers of burdens. All these were classed and arranged in such a manner by the wisdom of Solomon, that neither envy, discord, nor confusion were suffered to interrupt that universal peace and tranquillity which pervaded the world at this important period.

 

THE THREE STEPS

 

Usually delineated upon the Master's carpet are emblematical of the three principal stages of human life, viz., youth, manhood, and age. In youth, as entered apprentices, we ought industriously to occupy our minds in the attainment of useful knowledge: in manhood, as fellow



 



 

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crafts, we should apply our knowledge to the discharge of our respective duties to God, our neighbors, and ourselves; that so in age, as Master Masons, we may enjoy the happy reflections consequent on a well-spent life, and die in the hope of a glorious immortality.

 

THE POT OF INCENSE

 

Is an emblem of a pure heart, which is always an acceptable sacrifice to the Deity; and, as this glows with fervent heat, so should our hearts continually glow with gratitude to the great and beneficent Author of our existence, for the manifold blessings and comforts we enjoy.

 

THE BEE-HIVE

 

Is an emblem of industry, and recommends the practice of that virtue to all created beings, from the highest seraph in heaven to the lowest reptile of the dust. It teaches us that, as we came into the world rational and intelligent beings, so we should ever be industrious ones;



 



 

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never sitting down contented while our fellow-creatures around us are in want, when it is in our power to relieve them, without inconvenience to ourselves.

When we take a survey of nature, we view man, in his infancy, more helpless and indigent than the brutal creation; he lies languishing for days, months, and years, totally incapable of providing sustenance for himself, of guarding against the attacks of the wild beasts of the field, or sheltering himself from the inclemencies of the weather.

It might have pleased the great Creator of heaven and earth to have made man independent of all other beings; but, as dependence is one of the strongest bonds of society, mankind were made dependent on each other for protection and security, as they thereby enjoy better opportunities of fulfilling the duties of reciprocal love and friendship. Thus was man formed for social and active life, the noblest part of the work of God; and he that will so demean himself as not to be endeavoring



 



 

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to add to the common stock of knowledge and understanding, may be deemed a drone in the hive of nature, a useless member of society, and unworthy of our protection as Masons.

 

THE BOOK OF CONSTITUTIONS,

Guarded by the Tyler's Sword,

 

Reminds us that we should be ever watchful and guarded in our thoughts, words, and actions, particularly when before the enemies of Masonry, ever bearing in remembrance those truly Masonic virtues, silence and circumspection.

 

THE SWORD,

Pointing to a Naked Heart,

 

Demonstrates that justice will sooner or later overtake us; and, although our thoughts, words, and actions may be hidden from the eyes of man, yet that

 

 

ALL-SEEING EYE,

 

Whom the SUN, MOON, and STARS obey, and under whose watchful care even comets



 



 

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 perform their stupendous revolutions, pervades the inmost recesses of the human heart, and will reward us according to our merits.

 

THE ANCHOR AND ARK

 

Are emblems of a well-grounded hope and a well-spent life. They are emblematical of that Divine ark which safely wafts us over this tempestuous sea of troubles, and that anchor which shall safely moor us in a peaceful harbor, where the wicked cease from troubling, and the weary shall find rest.

 

THE FORTY-SEVENTH PROBLEM OF EUCLID.*)

 

This was an invention of our ancient friend and brother, the great Pythagoras, who, in his travels through Asia, Africa, and Europe, was initiated into several orders of priesthood, and raised to the sublime degree of a Master Mason. This


 



*) THEOREM. - In any right-angled triangle, the square which is described upon the side subtending the right angle is equal to the squares described upon the sides which contain the right angle. - Euclid, lib. i, prop. 47.

 



 

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wise philosopher enriched his mind abundantly in a general knowledge of things, and more especially in geometry or Masonry. On this subject he drew out many problems and theorems; and among the most distinguished he erected this, which, in the joy of his heart, he called Eureka, in the Grecian language, signifying I have found it; and upon the discovery of which he is said to have sacrificed a hecatomb. It teaches Masons to be general lovers of the arts and sciences.

 

THE HOUR-GLASS

 

Is an emblem of human life. Behold! how swiftly the sands run, and how rapidly our lives are drawing to a close! We can not without astonishment behold the little particles which are contained in this machine, how they pass away almost imperceptibly, and yet, to our surprise, in the short space of an hour, they are all exhausted. Thus wastes man! To-day he puts forth the tender leaves of hope; to-morrow blossoms, and bears his blush-



 



 

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ing honors thick upon him; the next day comes a frost, which nips the shoot, and when he thinks his greatness is still aspiring, he falls like autumn leaves, to enrich our mother earth.

 

THE SCYTHE

 

Is an emblem of Time, which cuts the brittle thread of life, and launches us into eternity. Behold! what havoc the scythe of Time makes among the human race! If by chance we should escape the numerous evils incident to childhood and youth, and with health and vigor arrive to the years of manhood, yet withal we must soon be cut down by the all-devouring scythe of Time, and be gathered into the land where our fathers have gone before us.

SETTING MAUL.

SPADE.

COFFIN.

EVERGREEN.



 



 

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Here usually follows an exhortation to the practice of virtue. The following is a form much used.

NOW, Brethren, let us see to it, and so regulate our lives by the plumb-line of justice, ever squaring our actions by the rule of virtue, that when the Grand Warden of Heaven shall call for us we may be found ready. Let us cultivate assiduously the noble tenets of our profession, Brotherly Love, Relief, and Truth; and from the Square learn morality; from the Level, equality; and from the Plumb, rectitude of life. Let us imitate, in all his varied perfections, him let us emulate his amiable and virtuous conduct, his unfeigned piety to his God, and his inflexible fidelity to his trust. As the evergreen which bloomed at the head of his grave betrayed the place of Warren's interment, so may virtue, by its everblooming loveliness, designate us as Free and Accepted Masons.

With the Trowel spread liberally the cement of brotherly love and affection,



 



 

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circumscribed by the Compass; let us ponder well our words and actions, and let all the energies of our minds and the affections of our souls be employed in the attainment of our Supreme Grand Master's approbation; then when our dissolution draws nigh, and the cold winds of death come sighing around us, and his chill dew already glistens on our brow, with joy shall we obey the summons of the Grand Warden of Heaven, and go from our labors on earth to everlasting refreshment in the Paradise of God; then by the benefit of a pass, a pure and blameless life, with a firm reliance on Divine Providence, shall we gain ready admission into that Celestial Lodge above, where the Supreme Architect of the Universe presides: where, seated at the right hand of our Supreme Grand Master, he will be pleased to pronounce us just and upright Masons; then shall we be fitly prepared as living stones for that spiritual building, that house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens; where no discordant voice shall be heard, but all



 



 

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the soul shall experience shall be perfect bliss, and all it shall express shall be perfect praise, and love divine shall ennoble every heart, and hosannas exalted employ every tongue.

 

CHARGE

At Initiation into the Third Degree.

 

BROTHER: Your zeal for the institution of Masonry, the progress you have made in the mystery, and your conformity to our regulations, have pointed you out as a proper object of our favor and esteem.

You are now bound, by duty, honor, and gratitude, to be faithful to your trust; to support the dignity of your character on every occasion; and to enforce, by precept and example, obedience to the tenets of the Order.

In the character of a Master Mason you are authorized to correct the errors and irregularities of your uninformed brethren, and to guard them against a breach of fidelity. To preserve the reputation of



 



 

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the Fraternity unsullied must be your constant care; and for this purpose it is your province to recommend to your inferiors obedience and submission; to your equals, courtesy and affability; to your superiors, kindness and condescension. Universal benevolence you are always to inculcate; and, by the regularity of your own behavior, afford the best example for the conduct of others less informed. The ancient landmarks of the Order entrusted to your care you are carefully to preserve, and never suffer them to be infringed, or countenance a deviation from the established usages and customs of the Fraternity.

Your virtue, honor, and reputation are concerned in supporting with dignity the character you now bear. Let no motive, therefore, make you swerve from your duty, violate your vows, or betray your trust; but be true and faithful, and imitate the example of that celebrated Artist whom you this evening represent. Thus you will render yourself deserving of the honor which we have conferred, and merit the confidence that we have reposed.



 


 

 

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