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“ 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 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 favourable 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
unbiassed justice, extend his mercy towards 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 honour of his name ; to whom be glory, now and for ever. 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.
If a past or present grand master should join the procession of a private lodge, or deputy grand master, or a grand warden, a proper attention is to be paid to them. They take place after the master of the lodge. Two deacons, with black rods, are appointed by the master to attend a grand warden; and when the grand master is present, or deputy grand master, the book of constitutions is borne before him, a sword bearer follows him, and the deacons, with black rods, are placed on his right and left, at an angular distance of seven feet.
Marshals are to walk, or ride, on the left of the procession.
On entering public buildings, the bible, square and compass, book of constitutions, &c. are placed before the grand master.' The grand marshal and grand deacons keep near
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 cape-stone 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 honour ; 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 are rehearsed at opening, accompanied by solemn ceremonies :
6. 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 lift 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, O 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, O 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.”
« I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord. Our feet shall stand within thy gates, O 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 within 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 for ever.
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 1 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 in thine heart: notwithstanding, thou shalt not build the house; but thy son, which shall come forth out of thy loins, he shall build the house for my name. The Lord, therefore, bath performed his word that be hath spoken; for