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On it appears the name
Now to the westward move,
Where, full of strength and love,
Hiram doth stand;
But if impostors are
Mix'd with the worthy there,
Caution them to beware
Of the right hand.
Now to the praise of those
Of mason's art;
To the praiseworthy three,
Observations on the Degree of Present or Past Master.
THIS degree should be carefully studied, and well understood, by every master of a lodge. It treats of the government of our society; the disposition of our rulers; and illustrates their requisite qualifications. It includes the ceremony of
opening and closing lodges in the several preceding degrees; and also the forms of installation and consecration, in the grand lodge, as well as private lodges. It comprehends the ceremonies at laying the foundation stones of public buildings, and also at dedications and at funerals, hy a variety of particulars explanatory of those ceremonies.
REMARKS ON THE FIFTH LECTURE.
The First Section.
Of the Manner of Constituting a Lodge of Master Masons.
Any number of master masons, not under seven, desirous of forming a new lodge, must apply, by petition, to the grand lodge of the state in which they reside, setting forth, "That they are free and accepted master masons; that they are at present, or have been, members of regular lodges; that, having the prosperity of the fraternity at heart, they are willing to exert their best endeavours to promote and diffuse the genuine principles of masonry; that, for the conveniency of their respective dwellings, and for other good reasons, they are desirous of forming a new lodge, in the town of ............ to be named ....................; that, consequence of this desire, they pray for letters
of dispensation, or a warrant of constitution, to empower them to assemble, as a legal lodge, to discharge the duties of masonry, in a regular and constitutional manner, according to the original forms of the order, and the regulations of the grand lodge. That they have nominated and do recommend A B to be the first master; C D to be the first senior warden, and E F to be the first junior warden, of the said lodge: that, if the prayer of the petition should be granted, they promise a strict conformity to all the constitutional laws and regulations of the grand lodge."
This petition, being signed by at least seven regular masons, and recommended by a lodge or lodges adjacent to the place where the new lodge is to be holden, is delivered to the grand secretary, who lays it before the grand lodge.
If the petition meets the approbation of the grand lodge, they generally order a dispensation to be issued, which is signed by the grand or deputy grand master, and authorises the petitioners to assemble as a legal lodge, for a certain specified term of time.
In some jurisdictions, the grand and deputy grand masters, respectively, are invested with authority to grant dispensations, at pleasure, during the recess of the grand lodge; in others, they are
never issued without the special direction of the grand lodge.
Lodges working under dispensations are considered merely as agents of the grand lodge; their presiding officers are not entitled to the rank of past masters; their officers are not privileged with a vote or voice in the grand lodge; they cannot change their officers without the special approba tion and appointment of the grand lodge; and in case of the cessation of such lodges, their funds, jewels, and other property accumulated by initiations into the several degrees, become the property of the grand lodge, and must be delivered over to the grand treasurer.
When lodges that are at first instituted by dispensation, have passed a proper term of probation, they make application to the grand lodge for a charter of constitution. If this be obtained, they are then confirmed in the possession of their property, and possess all the rights and privileges of regularly constituted lodges, as long as they conform to the constitutions of masonry.
After a charter is granted by the grand lodge, the grand master appoints a day and hour for constituting and consecrating the new lodge, and for installing its master, wardens, and other officers.
If the grand master, in person, attends the ceremony, the lodge is said to be constituted in am
ple form; if the deputy grand master only, it is said to be constituted in due form; but if the power of performing the ceremony is vested in a subordinate lodge, it is said to be constituted in form.
When charters of constitution are granted for places where the distance is so great as to render it inconvenient for the grand officers to attend ; the grand master, or his deputy, issues a written instrument under his hand and private seal, to some worthy present or past master, with full power to conjugate, constitute and install the petitioners.
Ceremony of Constitution and Consecration.
On the day and hour appointed, the grand master and his officers meet in a convenient room, near to that in which the lodge to be constituted is assembled, and open the grand lodge in the three degrees of masonry.
The officers of the new lodge are to be examined by the deputy grand master, after which they return to their lodge.
The new lodge then sends a messenger to the grand master with the following message, viz.