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curb our sensual appetites; to keep within bounds those unruly passions which oftentimes interfere with the enjoyments of society, and degrade both the man and the Free Mason; to recal to our minds, that in the great scale of existence, the whole family of mankind are upon a level with each other, and that the only question of preference among Free Masons should be, who is most wise, who is most good? For the time will come, and none of us know how soon, when death, the great leveller of all human greatness, will rob us of our distinctions and bring us to a level with the dust.
And thought themselves fam'd, To hear themselves named, With a free and accepted Mason.
We have on our side,
Which makes men just in their station; There is naught but what's good To be understood,
By a free and accepted Mason.
We're true and sincere,
They'll trust us on any occasion;
No mortal can more,
Than a free and accepted Mason.
Then join hand in hand,
By each brother firm stand,
Let's be merry and put a bright face on;
What mortal can boast,
As a free and accepted Mason.
(Thrice repeated in due form.)
FELLOW CRAFT DEGREE.
REMARKS ON THE SECOND DEGREE.
MASONRY is a progressive science, and is divided into different classes, or degrees, for the more regular advancement in the knowledge of its mysteries. According to the progress we make, we limit or extend our inquiries; and, in proportion to our capacity, we attain to a less or greater degree of perfection.
Masonry includes within its circle almost every branch of polite learning. Under the veil of its mysteries is comprehended a regular system of science. Many of its illustrations, to the confined genius, may appear unimportant; but the man of more enlarged faculties will perceive them to be, in the highest degree, useful and interesting. To please the accomplished scholar, and ingenious artist, Masonry is wisely planned; and, in the investigation of its latent doctrines, the philosopher and mathematician may experience equal delight and satisfaction.
To exhaust the various subjects of which it treats, would transcend the powers of the brightest genius; still, however, nearer approaches to perfection may be made; and the man of wisdom will not check the progress of his abilities, though the task he attempts may at first seem insurmountable. Perseverance and application remove each difficulty as it occurs; every step he advances, new pleasures open to his view, and instruction of the noblest kind attends his researches. In the diligent pursuit of knowledge, the intellectual faculties are employed in promoting the glory of God, and the good of man.
The first degree is well calculated to enforce the duties of morality, and imprint on the memory the noblest principles which can adorn the human mind. It is therefore the best introduction to the second degree, which not only extends the same plan, but comprehends a more diffusive system of knowledge. Here, practice and theory join, in qualifying the industrious Mason to share the pleasures which an advancement in the art must necessarily afford. Listening with attention to the wise opinions of experienced craftsmen, on important subjects, he gradually familiarizes his mind to useful instruction, and is soon enabled to investigate truths of the utmost concern in the general transactions of life.
From this system proceeds a rational amusement; while the mental powers are fully employed, the judgment is properly exercised. A spirit of emulation prevails; and all are induced to vie, who shall most excel in promoting the valuable rules of the institution.
The first section of the second degree accurately elucidates the mode of introduction* into that particular class; and instructs the diligent craftsman how to proceed in the proper arrangement of the ceremonies used on the occasion. It qualifies him to judge of their importance, and convinces him of the necessity of strictly adhering to every established usage of the order. Here he is entrusted with particular tests, to enable him to prove his title to the privileges of this degree, while satisfactory reasons are given for their origin. Many duties, which cement in the firmest union well-informed brethren, are illustrated in this section; and, an opportunity is given to make such advances in Mason
* Judges: ch. 12, v. 4,5,6.
as will always distinguish the abilities of those who have arrived at preferment.
The knowledge of this section is absolutely necessary for all craftsmen; and as it recapitulates the ceremony of initiation, and contains many other important particulars, no officer or member of a lodge should be unacquainted with it.
AMOS: vii. 7, 8.
"Thus he shewed me; and behold the Lord stood upon a wall made by a plumb line, with a plumb line in his hand. And the Lord said unto me, Amos, what seest thou? And I said, A plumb line. Thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will set a plumb line in the midst of my people Israel: I will not again pass by them any more."
The plumb, square and level, those noble and useful implements of a Fellow Craft, are here introduced and moralized, and serve as a constant admonition to the practice of virtue and morality.
The Plumb, is an instrument made use of by operative masons, to raise perpendiculars, the square, to square their work, and the level, to lay horizontals; but we, as free and accepted Masons, are taught to make use of them for more noble and glorious purposes: the Plumb admonishes us to walk uprightly in our several stations before God and man, squaring our actions by the Square of Virtue, and remembering that we are travelling upon the Level of Time, to "that undiscovered country, from whose bourne no traveller returns."
The second section of this degree has recourse to the igin of the institution, and views Masonry under two denominations, operative and speculative. These are separately considered, and the principles on which both are