It may be that, in the coming years, upon your head may rest the laurel wreaths of victory; pendant from your breast may hang jewels fit to grace the diadem on Eastern potentate; nay, more than these, with light added to the coming light, your ambitious feet may tread round after round of the ladder that leads to fame in our mystic circle, and even the purple of the Fraternity may rest upon your honored shoulders; but never again from mortal hands, never again until your enfranchised spirit shall have passed upward and inward through the pearly gates, shall any honor so distinguished, so emblematical of purity and all perfections be conferred upon you as this which I now bestow.  It is yours; yours to wear throughout an honorable life, and at your death be deposited upon the coffin which shall enclose your lifeless remains, and with them laid beneath the clods of the valley.

Let its pure and spotless surface be to you an ever present reminder of a “purity of life and rectitude of conduct”, a never-ending argument for nobler deeds, for higher thoughts, for greater achievements.  And when at last your weary feet shall have come to the end of life’s toilsome journey, and from your nerveless grasp shall drop forever the working tools of life, may the record of your life and actions be as pure and spotless as this fair emblem which I place in your hands tonight; and when your trembling soul shall stand naked and alone before the Great White Throne, there to receive judgment for the deeds done while here in the body, may it be your portion to hear from Him who sitteth as the Judge Supreme the welcome words, “Well done, good and faithful servant! Thou hast been faithful over a few things; I will make thee ruler over many things! Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.”

Charge at Initiation into the Second Degree

BROTHER: Being advanced to the second degree of Masonry, we congratulate you on your preferment. The internal, and not the external, qualifications of a man are what Masonry regards. As you increase in knowledge, you will improve in social intercourse.

It is unnecessary to recapitulate the duties which, as a Mason, you are bound to discharge; or enlarge on the necessity of a strict adherence to them, as your own experience must have established their value.

Our laws and regulations you are strenuously to support; and be always ready to assist in seeing them duly executed. You are not to palliate or aggravate the offenses of your brethren; but, in the decision of every trespass against our rules, you are to judge with candor, admonish with friendship, and reprehend with justice.

The study of the liberal arts, that valuable branch of education, which tends so effectually to polish and adorn the mind, is earnestly recommended to your consideration; especially the science of geometry, which is established as the basis of our art. Geometry or Masonry, originally synonymous terms, being of a divine and moral nature, is enriched with the most useful knowledge; while it proves the wonderful properties of nature, it demonstrates the more important truths of morality.

Your past behavior and regular deportment have merited the honor which we have now conferred; and in your new character it is expected that you will conform to the principles of the order, by steadily preserving in the practice of every commendable virtue.

Such is the nature of your engagements as a Fellowcraft, and to these duties you are bound by the most sacred of ties.

Preamble to Yonder Book (optional)

It must indeed be gratifying to know that you are at last a Master Mason, and once you have affixed your signature to the Bylaws of this lodge, you will have sealed your allegiance to the oldest and greatest fraternity in existence, one that encircles the globe and whose influence for good is never ending.

The particular reason that you chose to become a member of this grand and noble order is known only to yourself. It might have been the prompting of idle curiosity. That being true, you should now be well satisfied.  It might have been for financial reasons. That being true, be at once ndeceived for Freemasonry offers no financial benefits to any of it’s members. It might have been for social aspirations. That being true, you are now afforded the opportunity to acquaint yourself with many interesting and intelligent gentlemen. It might have been because a relative or close friend (can also name the relative such as father, brother, etc. as appropriate) is a Mason and expressed a desire that you should become one also and follow in their footsteps. That being true, it is not only an honor to yourself, but to the fraternity as well.

But, be the reason that it may, there are two great questions that still confront you. Will you be worth anything or nothing to Freemasonry and, will Freemasonry be worth anything or nothing to you? The answers lie within you yourself, for if you will apply to your own life the lessons that you have received in the three degrees, it will make you a better citizen, a better father, a better son and a fonder husband…………for

On Yonder Book Charge

written by M.W. Benjamin L. Hadley, P.G.M.
(sometimes referred to as the “Candle Light Charge”)

In Mason’s Lodge, with darkened eyes
With cable tow about me,
I swore to hale all mysteries,
That Masons keep, and Masons prize,
All brothers’ secrets whispered low,
All words they speak, all things they do,
In mystic manner taught me.

On yonder Book that Oath I took,
And will I break it? Never!
But stand by this, and this, and this,
Forever and forever.
(Giving D-G and S. on step of E.A. Degree)

I swore to answer and obey,
All summons sent me duly,
By brothers’ hand or Lodge array,
I swore that I would never stray,
From Ancient laws and rules that bound,
Freemasons in days renowned,
But would observe them truly.
(On yonder Book that Oath I took, etc…
as above and giving D-G and S.on step of F.C. Degree)

I swore to lead with generous care,
All those in sorrow hidden,
A brother on the darkened square,
The mourners with disheveled hair,
The orphan doomed, alas, to stray,
Upon a rough and rugged way,
While tears gush forth unbidden.
(On yonder Book, etc… giving D-G and S. on step of M.M. Degree)

I swore to deal in honesty,
With each true heart around me,
That Honor … bright should ever be,
Unbroken bonds ‘tween him and me,
Nor wrong „ nor guile, nor cruel fraud,
Should ever break the sacred cord,
By which my vows have bound me.
(On yonder Book, etc… giving D-G of all 3 Degrees – one with each “this”)

I swore the Portals close to guard,
Of the Masonic Temple,
To rid the quarries of their dross,
To build each mystic wall across,
With body perfect, upright heart,
And mind mature in moral art
In Precept and example.
(On yonder Book, etc… pointing to Greater and Lesser Lights and letter

I swore the Chastity to guard,
Of woman true and tender,
Of Mason’s widow, wife, or child,
His mother or sister, undefiled.
To them I pledge a brother’s love,
By Him who rules the Lodge above,
To be a true defender.
(On yonder Book, etc… giving Distress sign – one motion with each
this )

My Brother (or Brothers):
These are your Vows, Be they your cares.
And may such aid be given,
In answer to your earnest prayer,
That you may ever do and dare,
All that God’s gracious Laws enjoin,
So that when evening shades decline,
You may be found in Heaven.
On yonder Book these Oaths we took,
And will we break them? Never:
But stand by this, and this, and this,
Forever and forever.
(Have candidates join with you in giving D-G and S. on the step of
all three Degrees – one with each “this)
Have lesser lights arranged around the alter or dim lights and use alter
spot as case may be..

Approved Special 3rd Degree Charge

You have now received all the instruction that pertains to our noble craft, and have advanced by regular gradations to the summit of ancient Masonry.

You have been conducted around the courts of the temple, have viewed its beautiful proportions, its massive pillars, its starry decked canopy, its mosaic pavements, its furniture, ornaments, lights and jewels. You have been admitted within the Middle Chamber, and have learned from the example of our ancient Brethren to reverence the Sabbath Day, keep a tongue of good report, to maintain secrecy and practice charity.

You have now entered the Sanctum Sanctorum, and in the inflexible integrity of the illustrious Tyrian, have witnessed an example of firmness and fortitude never surpassed in the history of man. Your representation of our Grand Master Hiram Abiff is a type of the upright man in his passage through life, endowed with power and intelligence to carry out the designs of the Grand Architect of the Universe.

He enters the South Gate upon the sunny period of youth, and is met by allurements which, like the ruffian, would turn him from the path of duty; but deaf to the siren tones and sustained by the unerring dictates of the Monitor within, he moves on to the West Gate or middle period of life.

Here he is met again by misfortunes, desires and trials, tempting him to betray his trust; but, with firmness too deeply rooted to be shaken by the vicissitudes of fate, he treads the way of life unfalteringly and arrives in age at the East Gate; that opening through which he looks out on a brighter and better world. Here he is met by the inexorable enemy to whom all must yield. At the fatal blow of death he sinks to the dust and is buried in the rubbish of his earthly nature; but not forever, for by the sprig of Acacia we are reminded of that part which never dies.

And now, my brother, if in all these things you have witnessed a series of unmeaning rites, if the spirit of Truth has not applied to your heart the morals of these teachings; then indeed have our labors been in vain. But I am persuaded that such is not the case. I trust you have entered into the spirit of these solemn rites and understand the full meaning of these interesting symbols; that all the forms and ceremonies through which you have passed from the moment you first knocked at the door of the lodge for admission, until the sublimity of this degree appeared to you, have deeply impressed upon your mind the great fundamental principles of our time honored institution; for then, and only then, can you claim the name of Mason; for then, and only then, can you feel that friendship, that unity, that fervency and zeal, that purity of heart which should actuate everyone who would appropriate to himself the proud title of Master Mason.

As such I welcome you to this lodge, and my sincere wish is that you may so live up to the tenets of your profession that when you are summoned to appear before the Grand Architect of the Universe you may be found worthy to be admitted to the Sanctum Sanctorum, there to rest secure in the protecting love of our Heavenly Father through the boundless ages of a never ending happiness, and enjoy the reflections of a well spent life, in a world where all are equal.

There’s a world where all are equal, we are hastening to it fast,
We shall meet upon the level when the gates of death are passed;
We shall stand before the Orient, and our Master will be there
To try the blocks we offer with his own unerring square.

We shall meet upon the level there, but never thence depart;
There’s a mansion, ’tis all ready for each trusting faithful heart;
There’s a mansion and a welcome, and a multitude is there;
have met upon the level and been tried upon the square.