General Objective: To provide the new master mason with the culminating experience in his educational progress from an accepted candidate to a master mason which shall take place in open lodge thus forming a transition from the formal educational program into the continuing Masonic experience as an active member of his lodge and of the Craft at large.
- The new master mason(s) shall demonstrate his (their) proficiency in the Third Degree Lesson.
- The new master mason shall be provided with a brief review of his Masonic experience in the three degrees.
- The new master mason(s) shall be introduced to the Maine Masonic Text Book as a source of Masonic practices and information.
- The new master mason(s) shall participate in practicing the modes of recognition and Masonic examination which is required for proving oneself a master mason.
- The new master mason(s) will be introduced to the by-laws of his lodge with an emphasis upon the signing of the by-laws as a testimony of joining with the brethren of his lodge.
- The new master mason(s) shall be welcomed into the lodge as an important and respected laborer for the Craft.
Program Process: “The Fourth Night Program” is intended to provide a most friendly and unthreatening means of learning and practicing essentials in the new master mason’s continued Masonic experience and service to his lodge and the brethren. As it takes place in open lodge, the program represents the opportunity for the new mason to feel a growing familiarity with his own immediate body of the Craft while emphasizing the lodge’s interest in its new brother as a person. The program can accommodate a number of new master masons at one time. Such a “class” will greatly enhance the feeling of the individual brother that he is a part of a band united
in purpose and in brotherly love.
While any such program remains in the hands of the lodge’s educational coordinator under the direction of the worshipful master, there is a possibility that lodges within a Masonic district may join resources to present the “Fourth Night Program”. There are many advantages in such a united effort. One of these is the opportunity for the new master mason to meet other new masons from neighboring lodges while gaining a better conception of the work of the Craft at large. In districts where such a joint enterprise is organized, the participation and coordination activities of the District Representative will be essential.
The following texts are given as a guide. They are intended as a suggested outline to be augmented as the presenters see fit and according to local conditions and needs.
THE FOURTH NIGHT PROGRAM
A PROGRAM FOR NEWLY RAISED MASTER MASONS
- EXAMINATION IN THE THIRD DEGREE LESSON 12 min.
- BRIEF REVIEW OF EXPERIENCES FROM THE THREE DEGREES 10 min.
- INSTRUCTION ON MASONIC EXAMINATIONS AND OTHER
LODGE PRACTICES 15 min.
- MASONIC PROTOCOL 15 min.
- LECTURE ON THE MAINE MASONIC TEXT BOOK 15 min.
- REMARKS ON THE IMPORTANCE OF LODGE BY-LAWS 10 min.
- WELCOME TO MEMBERSHIP IN THE LODGE 10 min.
* This section is of less importance for new master masons who have been the recipients of Masonic instruction while participating in the three degrees.
** This section may be longer if additional instruction in common lodge practices are included.
Materials needed: Stand behind altar for practice in arranging lights, the Great Lights (for use in practice session), several copies of The Cipher and The Maine Masonic Text Book (number dependent on the number of new master masons participating), visual aids used in lecture on The Maine Masonic Text Book, copies of the lodge by-laws, and Directory of Regular Lodges.
A. EXAMINATION IN THIRD DEGREE LESSON
The Fourth Night Program gives an excellent opportunity for the new master mason to give his third degree lesson. In those cases where more than one new master mason is participating in the Fourth Night Program, taking turns in answering the questions of this lesson has proven to be very effective.
B. BRIEF REVIEW OF EXPERIENCES FROM THE THREE DEGREES
Two possible alternatives for this section of the Fourth Night Program are given below. The first, an approved charge, seems most appropriate for new master masons that have had considerable instruction while taking the three degrees. The second is a longer lecture composed by Worshipful Brother Max E. Place for this purpose.
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 Abif 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
Who have met upon the level and have been tried upon the square.
B. LECTURE ON THREE DEGREES
This short lecture covers the following areas:
- Greet each new Brother by name
- Purpose of this section
- Importance of first impression of Masonry
- Preparation room
- “dignified and important ceremonies if Initiation”
- Admission “Good report and well recommended”
- First Prayer “In whom do you put your trust?”
- Duty to God , neighbor, yourself, and country
- Religion and Politics
- Three Great Lights
- Right Hand (hand shake)
- Working tools of EA degree (24 inch gauge and common gavel)
- Lecture (text book and ritual, tenets)
- Knowledge of EA Degree
- Working tools (Square ,Level, and Plum)
- Two denomination of Masonry (operative and speculative)
- Orders in Architecture
- Senses of human nature
- Letter “G”
- Duties as a Mason
- Proficiency in preceding Degrees
- Friendship, Morality, Brotherly Love
- Working Tools (Trowel)
- Maintain Secrecy
- Order with secrets
- No historical fact
- Origin of Masonry
- Victory of Soul over Death, Light over Darkness
- Primary basis is the building of King Solomon’s Temple. Ref in the Bible: 1st Kings, Chapter 5,6, and 7 2nd Chronicles, Chapters 3 and 4
- Our Hope
- Quote from Thanatopsis
My Brother (Brethren)
It is difficult for a candidate to absorb the many details contained in the several lectures and charges of the three degrees, and the meaning of the various symbols. Therefore, this supplemental lecture is prepared for the purpose of reviewing them, so that you may have a better understanding as you hear them repeated in your Lodge.
ENTERED APPRENTICE DEGREE
While you were first prepared in your heart to be made a Mason, your first impression of the Fraternity was in the preparation room, when the Jr. Deacon and Stewards prepared you for admission to the Entered Apprentice degree. This moment is intended to impress upon him that he is requesting admission of his own free will, gained from a very favorable idea of the order, and not through any mercenary motives or undue influence upon him.
When you were granted permission to enter the Lodge, it was emphasized that it was due to you being avouched for as a fit person to become a Mason – of good report, and well recommended. This resulted from an investigation, of which you were probably unaware, to enable those recommending you to certify that you were a desirable person to become a Brother Mason.
The first step in making you a Mason was when you were conducted to the altar for prayer. Following this, you were asked in whom you put your trust. Masonry is founded and based on a belief in the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man. Masonry in itself is not a religion, but in all degrees there is a religious background and influence.
During your time at the altar, and through the obligations you were asked to take in the degrees, it was continually stressed that they were not to interfere with your duties to God, your neighbor or yourself, nor loyalty to your country. Neither were they to be used as a theater for political discussions or activities. As someone has said, Masonry’s purpose is to make good men better, and is never intended to interfere with their religion or their personal life or activity.
Your introduction to the Three Great Lights of Masonry, the Holy Bible, Square and Compasses, must have made a deep impression on you. These were explained at the time you were initiated, but are well worth repeating: – The Holy Bible is given to be the rule and guide of our faith, the Square to square our actions; and the Compasses to keep us within due bounds with all mankind, more especially with a brother.
The Worshipful Master gave you his right hand in a grip of Brotherly Love and Friendship. This is repeated in each degree. You may have noticed also that it is almost an invariable custom of Masons to greet each other when attending Lodge by a warm, friendly handshake, even though sometimes the same men may have worked together during the day. This is also true when Masons meet outside the Lodge, and that is as it should be, because our conduct outside the Lodge should be comparable to that when we are in it.
The tools of the Entered Apprentice degree, the 24 inch gauge and common gavel, are presented as symbols of our conduct through life; dividing our time between service to God and Man, our usual vocations, and the rest and refreshment necessary to maintain health and strength. Using the gavel symbolically to smooth our dispositions and actions through life to render us fitting for a spiritual life hereafter.
Time does not permit a complete review of the entire lecture and charge of the Entered Apprentice degree, but it would be remiss not to mention the Tenets of Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth; nor the Cardinal Virtues of Temperance, Fortitude, Prudence and Justice. We earnestly recommend that each candidate read and study these carefully as almost all of them are written out in the Maine Masonic Text Book.
FELLOW CRAFT DEGREE
Here again, as you approached the door of the Lodge, you found it necessary to be properly avouched, and assurance given that you had made suitable progress in the preceding degree. This assured your Brethren of your interest in the Fraternity, and that a suitable impression had been made by them in the Entered Apprentice degree.
During your circuits of the Lodge, you may have heard the reading of a portion of Chapter 13 of 1st Corinthians, instructing you in the value and importance of Faith, Hope and Charity, the greatest being Charity. To Freemasons, Charity is vitally important, not entirely in terms of financial or material assistance, but in our attitude towards our Brethren and the world at large.
The working tools presented to you in this degree are the Square, Level and Plumb, and you were instructed in their symbolic use as guides to our relationship with God and Man, emphasizing that all of us are traveling that road to a land whence there is no return.
You were informed of the two denominations under which Masonry is considered. Of these, you are not particularly involved in the Operative, but your progress in Masonry is very much concerned with the Speculative. Here again you were reminded of the close relationship between Masonry and Religion, our obligation to Deity and our reverence for His Works.
You were given a brief survey of the Orders in Architecture, the symbolism of the Two Brazen Pillars, and heard your first mention of our Ancient Grand Master Hiram Abif, about whom you were to hear much more in a later degree consequent to the building of the Temple.
You were also reminded of the five senses of human nature, Hearing, Seeing, Feeling, Smelling and Tasting. These may indeed be truly named a blessing from the Almighty God. Imagine, if you can, a world and life without these five senses, or what a loss even one of them would mean to you.
You were taught the value of the seven liberal arts and sciences, particularly Geometry, which is the base of much of our symbolism, and the letter “G” which is displayed in every Lodge and on most of our Masonic emblems and jewelry.
In summary, the Fellow Craft degree is a resume of the wonders of creation, their importance to our individual lives, and our indebtedness to God for the many blessings received through his love and generosity to us.
The charge which you received at the close of this degree is intended to emphasize your duties as a Mason, insofar as your conformity to our regulations is concerned, and encourages the continuation of the deportment which merited your advancement to this degree.
MASTER MASON DEGREE
Upon your request for admission to the Lodge, you were again questioned as to your qualifications and proficiency in preceding degrees, and upon affirmation you were admitted and received on the points of the Compasses. This again emphasized the virtue of Friendship, Morality and Brotherly Love – three very essential and valuable tenets of the Fraternity.
Your third degree obligation you will note is increasingly stronger, and imposes moral obligations which should never be neglected nor forgotten.
The working tools of a Master Mason were presented to you, and special emphasis given to the use of the trowel, again calling your attention to the need and benefit of Brotherly Love and Affection for your brethren in the Fraternity.
After your reinvestment, you were again returned to the Lodge for conferral of the impressive section of the Sublime Degree of a Master Mason, and informed that you were to represent our Ancient Grand Master Hiram Abif for the remainder of the evening. This second section, my Brother (Brethren) is intended to impress on your mind several things.
First, the need and value of maintaining secrecy concerning Masonic degrees. It has been said that Masonry is not a secret order, but an order with secrets, and this is indeed truly stated. Our Masonic Relief and Charity, for instance, are certainly private business and not for public use or information.
The Hiramic Legend of the second section, as it is called, is purely a legendary representation. There is no historical, factual or Masonic record to base the death of Hiram Abif as an actual event. This is likewise true of many Masonic ritualistic representations, since the history and origin of Masonry are shrouded in mystery and legend. Much of this is due to periodical persecution of the Masonic Orders throughout history, which has made it necessary to leave much detail unrecorded in any written manner.
However, the symbolism of the Hiramic Legend is a very important part of Masonry, which teaches the ultimate victory of the Soul over Death, and of Light over Darkness. I am sure you will agree that it has made a deep impression upon your mind and memory.
Masonry in this country has as a primary basis the building of King Solomon’s Temple, as represented in this third degree. If you will take the time and effort to refer to your Bible, you may read numerous references and descriptions of this undertaking; particularly 1st Kings, Chapters 5-6 and 7; 2nd Chronicles, Chapters 3 and 4.
We sincerely hope, my Brother (Brethren) that your Masonic experiences thus far have given you a very favorable impression of the Fraternity, and that you will be interested in furthering your Masonic education through attendance at your Lodge Communications, and taking an active part if possible.
Once more, my Brother (Brethren) we welcome you to the Fraternity, and when you are wearing your apron as a Master Mason, may I quote a portion from Thanatopsis and say –
May you so wear it, my Brother, and so live, “that when thy summons comes to join the innumerable caravan that moves to the calm realms of shade, where each shall take his chamber in the silent halls of death, thou go not, like the quarry slave scourged to his dungeon, but sustained and soothed by an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave like one who wraps the mantle of his couch about him and lies down to pleasant sleep.”
C. INSTRUCTION ON MASONIC EXAMINATIONS
The following instructions are intended to be a hands-on participation. It has been found that many masons of longer standing enjoy participating in this section along with the new master masons. A welcome to all who wish to participate should be extended.
List of Items to Be Covered In This Instruction:
- How Examinations of visitors are conducted
- Committee of three
- Visitors examined individually
- Who the visitor should approach (Tyler or Senior Warden)
- The visitor will be asked to:
- Present his dues card (checked with listing in directory)
- To take the Tyler’s Oath (not always the case)
- (See Page 184 in cipher)
- Arrange the Great Light in each degree
- Give due-guard and signs, grips and words
- Give Grand Masonic Word in proper manner
- In extreme circumstances the visitor may be asked to relate in his own words certain parts of degrees. Remember that we should be trying our best to let this Brother attend our meeting and not looking for reasons to keep him out, unless we are certain that he is not a Mason.
- A visitor having satisfied the examining committee of his standing as a regular mason in good standing, has the right to inspect the lodge’s charter or charter certificate.
- All Masons should know that they NEVER need to work their way into their own Lodge.
D. MASONIC PROTOCOL
In addition to the instruction given above, the following items common to lodge practice may be covered for the benefit of the new master mason(s).
- What to do if you arrive late to a lodge meeting or must leave early.
- (In the latter case be sure to let the master know before lodge is opened.)
- Giving the due guard on entering or leaving an open lodge.
- Meaning of raps from the master’s gavel
- Once – all be seated or return to good order
- Twice – all officers named stand
- Three Times – all stand
- What to do when the master says, “signs, brethren.”
- How to give the private and public grand honors.
- What is the consequence of not paying one’s dues – (also reinstatement of membership)
- Procedures in balloting
1. The Master reads petition – instructs Brethren on method of balloting.
2. The Senior Deacon prepares ballot box.
3. The Master inspects ballot box
a. Make certain that there are enough white balls for each member present.
b. Make certain that there are at least six (6) black cubes.
4. The Master declares ballot open.
5. The Senior Deacon may convey ballot box from member to member or it may be placed on a table behind Altar – never on the Altar. The Senior Deacon must avoid passing between Master and the Altar. As long as the ballot is open, the ballot box must be in the immediate care of the Senior Deacon.
6. After all members have voted the Master declares ballot closed.
7. The Senior Deacon will present the ballot to the J.W. and S.W. for inspection if directed by the Master, they do not report whether the ballot is clear or not.
8. The Master examines ballot, destroys it and then reports.
a. Two or more black cubes mean petition is rejected.
b. One black cube – ballot may be taken a second time immediately.
c. One black cube on second ballot – petition is rejected.
9. No one enters or retires during balloting.
10. No member excused from balloting, except by unanimous vote of the Lodge.
11. The Tyler may be excused by the Master.
12. There is always a separate Ballot for each petition.
- Masonic titles
a. Entitled after taking Entered Apprentice obligation
- Entitled after installation as Worshipful Master
- Entitled to all appointed Grand Lodge Line Officers
3. Very Worshipful
Entitled – Assistant Grand Lecturer, District Education Representative
4. Right Worshipful
a. Entitled – Elected Grand Lodge officers: DGM, SGW, JGW, GT, GS
- Appointive: DDGM and Grand Lecturer
- Most Worshipful
- Entitled – Grand Master
- Past Officers
a. Highest title attained is retained for life except appointed Grand Lodge Line Officers
7. Use of titles.
a. In Lodge – Always use Masonic Title with full name or last name
Examples; R.W. Robert M. Jones or R.W. Bro. Jones
b. Do not use title and first name only in direct address or in correspondence; i.e. Bro. Bob.
c. In public titles are not used except preferably between Brethren.
- In correspondence – Titles are used on letters, but not on envelopes.
- Who to see if you have a particular interest in any phase of the Masonic activity within your lodge.
- What should be said to a man who may be interested in Freemasonry.
- See “Masonic Education Skit” in the DER’s Toolbox
- Speaking of Freemasonry to non-masons
E. LECTURE ON THE MAINE MASONIC TEXT BOOK
By R.W. Brother Wallace Ritchie
The Maine Masonic Text Book, sometimes called the Blue Book, should be in the possession of every Mason because it contains about everything that the newly raised Mason needs to know at this stage of his Masonic career. It is not possible to explain the wealth of material in this book in the time available; however, we will endeavor to bring to your attention some of the traditions and teachings of Masonry that will be helpful and instructive, and at the same time increasing your Masonic knowledge. Please open to the Table of Contents in the front of your book. This provides an easy reference for further study and research on your part. The first chapter gives a brief history of Masonry. While Masonry is said to have existed before written records it is sufficient for our purposes to say that Speculative Masonry as we know it today began when the First Grand Lodge was formed in London, England in June, 1717.
The second chapter describes the opening and closing ceremonies, and the Form for Minutes of the Meeting. As they are a necessary and important part of every communication of your lodge knowledge of them will make you much more conversant with the affairs and proper conduct of such meetings.
Chapters three through five pertain to the three degrees during which you were initiated, passed, and raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason.
Chapters concerning Installation, Reception of Visitors and Masonic Processions study at your leisure. Acquaint yourself with chapter nine, Funeral Services, so that you might know who is entitled to Masonic burial. Chapters ten through thirteen are as all others, important and informative, but not essential at this time.
Please turn to page 148 MISCELLANEOUS. All Masons should be familiar with the content, especially the jewels of the officers. These are worn suspended from the collars; also a likeness is imprinted on the officers’ aprons.
Chapter fourteen (page 153) give us the Sources of Masonic Law. They are: The Ancient Landmarks, The Ancient Charges, The Old Regulations, The Constitution of our Grand Lodge, The Regulations and Decisions of our Grand Lodge, The Usages and Customs of the Fraternity, and The By-Laws of the Lodge.
The Laws of Masonry, like laws of nations, are both unwritten “common law” and written.
When the Grand Lodge of England was formed the unwritten law was so well known and practiced that, apparently, it was not thought necessary to codify it. Consequently The Ancient Usages and Customs of the Order, together with the Old Charges and Regulations, constitute an important role in Masonic Law. Law in Masonry is said to be more a matter of the heart than the head, more concerned with setting forth conduct than assessing penalties.
Let us first consider the Ancient Charges, (page 163). They are six in number. Approved by the Grand Lodge of England in 1722, and published in 1723 in “Anderson’s Constitutions,” these Charges are concerned with the individual brother and his relations to his lodge and his brethren. Also to his behavior outside the lodge. These Ancient Charges do not permit alteration.
The Old Regulations (page 181) were also published in 1723 in “Anderson’s Constitutions.” They deal with the Craft as a whole. The Old Regulations were amendable or repealable by the Grand Lodge, at any annual meeting of Grand Lodge, while The Ancient Charges were not.
You will recall that as the work in your Master Mason Degree was completed, you were given a charge which contained these words: 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.”
The Ancient Landmarks are twenty-five in number and are the very bedrock of our Institution. Mackey in 1858 in an article on “The Foundations of Masonic Law” made the first distinct enumeration of the landmarks, which was subsequently incorporated in the Text Book of Masonic Jurisprudence. It has since been generally adopted by the Fraternity. At this time we will touch briefly on only five of the landmarks, which will fortify your experience to this point in time.
The First Landmark is unquestioned, and admits to no variation. It pertains to the modes of recognition which you were taught during your progress through each degree.
Landmarks Nineteen, Twenty, and Twenty-one really blend together to form the foundation of the spiritual, moral and unalterable characteristics of Masonry.
Number Nineteen, a belief in the existence of God as the Grand Architect of the Universe, has to be one of the most significant and compelling landmarks.
Landmark Number 20, subsidiary to this belief in God as a landmark of the Order, is the belief in a resurrection to a future life. To believe in Masonry, and not believe in a resurrection would be absurd. He who would have a contrary belief would have no knowledge of either.
Number Twenty-one is a landmark that a “Book of the Law” shall be an indispensable part of the furniture of every lodge. (This is also referred to as V.S.L. Volume of the Sacred Law.)
THE BOOK OF THE LAW IS THAT VOLUME WHICH, BY THE RELIGION OF THE COUNTRY, IS BELIEVED TO CONTAIN THE REVEALED WILL OF THE GRAND ARCHITECT OF THE UNIVERSE. In all lodges in Christian countries, it is composed of the Old and New Testaments; in a country where Judaism was the prevailing faith, the Old Testament alone would be sufficient; and Mohammedan countries, the Koran might be substituted.
Landmark Number Twenty-five, the last and crowning landmark of all, is that these landmarks can never be changed. Nothing can be subtracted from them, nothing can be added to them — not the slightest modifications can be made in them. As they were received from our predecessors, we are bound by the most solemn obligations of duty to transmit them to our successors. The remaining chapters concern Masonic Offenses and the Digest of Opinions. There are countless ramifications to these subjects, but the answers to many questions that will arise from time to time will be found on these pages.
You may have noticed that the dates on Masonic documents differ from the usual practices. For example, an instrument dated today (current month and day 5979). Ancient Craft Masons commence their era with the creation of the world calling it Anno Lucis (spell out) A.L. “In The Year of Light,” or that the world was created 4000 years before Christ, hence 4000 years are added to the current date. A.D. means “The Year of our Lord,” and A.L. “The Year of Light.”
This discussion has necessarily been very brief. Our objectives were to further your understanding, and broaden your outlook on the philosophy of Masonry. We sincerely hope that we have been able to transmit to you the desire to learn more of our principles and teachings, and also to stimulate your curiosity to read some of the hundreds of excellent books concerning our Institution. If you do not have a copy of the Textbook, it is available on the Grand Lodge of Maine website.
F. REMARKS ON THE NATURE OF LODGE BY-LAWS
(Directions: The new Master Mason(s) is presented with a copy of the Lodge’s By-Laws.)
Presenter: Our lodge, like all Masonic Lodges within this state, is governed by the Constitution and Regulations of the Grand Lodge of Maine and by its own set of By-Laws which you now hold in your hand. The By-Laws of our lodge have been established by vote of the brethren of this lodge and have been approved by the Grand Lodge.
The articles contained in these By-Laws deal with such considerations as the time and place of stated meetings, the election of officers, the establishment of committees, and the proper use of lodge funds.
Our By-Laws are divided into articles to which I now direct your attention.
NOTE: As the By-Laws of individual lodges differ, adaptations will be necessary at this point. In making these adaptations an effort should be made to give brief statements and to focus the new Mason’s attention on those aspects of the By-Laws which will be of greatest interest to him. The examples below have been derived from a typical set of lodge By-Laws.
Article I of our By-Laws states the date, place and time of stated meetings. Lodge business can be transacted only on such stated meetings.
Article II covers the election of officers and their installation into office.
Article III gives the composition and duties of standing committees.
Article IV specifies the special duties of the Treasurer, Secretary, and the Tyler of our Lodge.
Article V covers the application and election of candidates for the degrees conferred by our Lodge.
I call your attention to Section Three of Article VI which states the amount of our annual dues and the date upon which such dues should be paid. Your prompt payment of such dues is an important part of your Masonic obligation.
Article VII contains rules concerning the government of conduct during the meetings and work of our Lodge. I urge you to read this article with care.
Articles VIII and IX have to do with fees for the degrees and with making assessments upon the members of our Lodge.
Article X deals with our Lodge Charity Fund, a fund of which I am sure you will be very proud.
Article XI and the final section of our By-Laws states that no amendment or change in these By-Laws can be made unless approved through a 2/3 vote in favor made by the members of our Lodge present at a stated meeting and only after all members have been duly informed of the date upon which the vote shall be taken.
(Directions: The new Master Mason(s) shall have each article of the By-Laws pointed out to him by the Senior Deacon as the article is described by the Presenter.)
G. WELCOME INTO THE LODGE
Written by Worshipful Brother Kenneth Mitchell
Brother xxxx, I extend to you a most hearty welcome into __________________Lodge. We rejoice in your being raised to the Sublime Degree of a Master Mason and in becoming the newest member(s) of our lodge. I am convinced you will find our Masonic Brotherhood one which will endure no matter where time or circumstances may lead you.
As a member of this lodge you are always welcome to take part in our labor as well as our refreshment, for the joy of Brotherly Love and adoration of Deity can be as manifest at our banquet as at our altar.
You are now a member of an order composed of thousands of good men in the State of Maine and over five million Masons world wide. You now stand as a brother to such great men as Washington, Franklin, and Maine’s own Moses Greenleaf, as well as countless unsung Masons who, through their striving to attain the highest and best within themselves, have given you and I a legacy to perpetuate the Masonic spirit of Friendship, Morality, and Brotherly Love.
Officers and brethren of (name of lodge) Brother, or Brethren (name of candidate(s) has/have been raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason, and has successfully passed his/their examination(s) for the third degree. I believe that without any equivocation he/they has/have the capabilities, character, knowledge, spirit, and above all desire to obtain more light in Masonry.
It is hoped you will utilize these talents, for only through the continuing process of developing the new, younger and vibrant members into accepting responsibilities inherent in the conduct of a lodge that Masonry will remain a vital force in the lives of men and our country. However, this brother, or these brethren can only succeed, and realize his/their expectations if you provide the opportunity. Give him/them assistance, advice and encouragement, but never domination.
My Brother, I believe the foregoing charge to the officers and brethren of the lodge clearly demonstrates our faith and confidence in your ability to carry on the teaching and traditions of Masonry in the future as have our brethren before us throughout the centuries, It is hoped you advance through the several offices in the lodge, accept the challenges in these positions of trust. It will require time, effort, tolerance and patience on your part. Your reward will be the enrichment of the lives of others, for what you put in the hearts of others comes back into your own.
Once again, welcome Brother xxxx.
The master may wish to place the lodge at ease and allow for the brethren to personally shake the new mason(s) hand(s) and extend welcome.
H. CLOSING OF LODGE
MASTER: Brethren, will you please resume your places, and we shall proceed to close.
(Directions: The Lodge is now closed using the “Closing Ceremony” found in the Ritual, pages 176-181.)
CLOSING PRAYER FOR FOURTH NIGHT PROGRAM (optional)
Almighty Creator of Heaven and earth, we thank Thee for this opportunity of meeting together in the joy of Brotherhood and in the unanimity of mind and purpose.
We ask Thy special blessing upon our new member(s) of this Lodge and upon those who are near and dear to him (them).
May we, as members of this Lodge and fellows of the Craft, take up the working tools of our profession as Free and Accepted Masons and thus united labor with love and understanding. Make us mindful of each other’s needs and those of our fellow men; bind us in the joy of your Truth, and grant, in Thy wisdom and compassion, that we may be steadfast members of the household of the faithful to Thy glory and Thy eternal purpose. AMEN
Closing of Lodge to be followed by refreshments.