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Charge on the Behaviour of Masons out of the Lodge.
When the lodge is closed, you may enjoy yourselves with innocent mirth; but you are carefully to avoid excess. You are not to compel any brother to act contrary to his inclination, or give offence by word or deed, but enjoy a free and easy conversation. You are to use no immoral ⚫r obscene discourse, but at all times support with propriety the dignity of your character.
You are to be cautious in your words and carriage, that the most penetrating stranger may not discover, or find out, what is not proper to be intimated; and, if necessary, you are to wave a discourse, and manage it prudently, for the honour of the fraternity.
At home, and in your several neighbourhoods, you are to behave as wise and moral men. You are never to communicate to your families, friends or acquaintance, the private transactions of our different assemblies; but upon every occasion to consult your own honour, and the reputation of the fraternity at large.
You are to study the preservation of health, by avoiding irregularity and intemperance, that your families may not be neglected and injured, or yourselves disabled from attending to your necessary employments in life.
If a stranger apply in the character of a mason, you are cautiously to examine him in such a method as prudence may direct, and agreeably to the forms established among masons; that you may not be imposed upon by an ignorant, false pretender, whom you are to reject with contempt, and beware of giving him any secret hints of knowledge. But if you discover him to be a true and genuine brother, you are to respect him; if he be in want, you are to relieve him, or direct him how he may be relieved; you are to employ him, or recommend him to employment: however, you are never charged to do beyond your ability, only to prefer a poor brother, who is a good man and true, before any other person in the same circumstances.
Finally These rules you are always to observe and enforce, and also the duties which have been communicated in the lectures; cultivating brotherly love, the foundation and cape-stone, the cement and glory, of this ancient fraternity; avoiding, upon every occasion, wrangling and quarrelling, slandering and backbiting; not per mitting others to slander honest brethren, but defending their characters, and doing them good offices, as far as may be consistent with your honour and safety, but no farther. Hence all may see the benign influence of masonry, as all true masons
have done from the beginning of the world, and will do to the end of time.
Amen. So mote it be.
Pre-requisites for a Candidate.
BY a late regulation, adopted by most of the grand lodges in America, no candidate for the mysteries of masonry can be initiated without having been proposed at a previous meeting of the lodge; in order that no one may be introduced without due inquiry relative to his character and qualifications.
All applications for initiation should be made by petition in writing, signed by the applicant, giving an account of his age, quality, occupation, and place of residence, and that he is desirous of being admitted a member of the fraternity; which petition should be kept on file by the secre tary.
Form of a Petition to be presented by a Candi date for Initiation.
"To the Worshipful Master, Wardens and Brethren of........... Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons.
"The petition of the subscriber respectfully sheweth, that, having long entertained a favourable opinion of your ancient institution, he is desirous of being admitted a member thereof, if found worthy.
"His place of residence is
years; his occupation
After this petition is read, the candidate must be proposed in form, by a member of the lodge, and the proposition seconded by another member; a committee is then appointed to make inquiry relative to his character and qualifications.
Declaration to be assented to by a Candidate, in an adjoining Apartment, previous to Initiation.
Do you seriously declare, upon your honour, before these gentlemen, that, unbiassed by friends, and uninfluenced by mercenary motives, you freely and voluntarily offer yourself a candidate for the mysteries of masonry?" I do.
"Do you seriously declare, upon your honour, before these gentlemen, that you are prompted to solicit the privileges of masonry by a favourable opinion conceived of the institution, a desire of
*The stewards of the lodge are usually present.
knowledge, and a sincere wish of being serviceable to your fellow creatures?" I do.
"Do you seriously declare, upon your honour, before these gentlemen, that you will cheerfully conform to all the ancient established usages and customs of the fraternity?" I do.
After the above declarations are made, and reported to the master, he makes it known to the lodge, in manner following, viz.
"At the request of Mr. A B, he has been proposed and accepted in regular form; I therefore recommend him as a proper candidate for the mysteries of masonry, and worthy to partake of the privileges of the fraternity; and, in consequence of a declaration of his intentions, voluntarily made, I believe he will cheerfully conform to the rules of the order."
If there are then no objections made, the candidate is introduced in due form.
Remarks on the First Lecture.
WE shall now enter on a disquisition of the different sections of the lectures appropriated to the several degrees of masonry, giving a brief sum