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transactions of this auspicious solemnity. And may the tenets of our profession be transmitted through your lodge, pure and unimpaired, from generation to genera
SECTION THIRD. In this section we are instructed into the manner of laying the foundation stone of public structures, and the form of procession on these occasions. The following invocation is offered by the grand master:
"May the all-bountiful Author of nature bless the in. habitants of this place, with all the necessaries, conveniences and comforts of life; assist in the erection and completion of this building; protect the workmen against every accident, and long preserve this structure from decay; and grant to us all a needed supply of the corn of nourishment, the wine of refreshment, and the oil of joy. So mote it be!"
SECTION FOURTH. Here the ceremony of dedication of Masonic Halls is particularly described; but, in a work like this, a display of this gection is deemed unnecessary.
SECTION FIFTH. In this place the funeral ceremony, agreeable to ancient custom is described. '
No mason can be interred with the formalities of the order, unless it be by his own special request, communi. cated to the master of the lodge of which he died a member, foreigners and sojourners excepted; nor unless he has been advanced to the third degree of masonry; and from this restriction there can be no exception, Fellowcrafts or apprentices are not entitled to funeral obse. quies, nor to attend the masonic procession on such occa. sions.
The master of a lodge, having received notice of a master mason's death, and of his request to be interred
with the ceremonies of the order, fixes the day and hour for the funeral, and issues his command to summon the
lodge. He may invite as many lodges as he ihinks pro..per, and the members of those lodges may accompany
their officers in form; but the whole ceremony must be under the direction of the master of the lodge to which the deceased belonged, and he and his officers must be duly honoured, and cheerfully obeyed, on the occasion. But in case the deceased was not a member of either of the attending lodges, the procession and ceremony must be under the direction of the master of the oldest lodge.
The Funeral Service.
The Brethren being assembled at the lodge room, (or some other convenient place, the presiding master opens the lodge, in the third degree, with the usual forms, and having stated the purpose of the meeting, the service be. gins.
Master. “What man is he that liveth, and shall not see death? Shall he deliver his soul from the hand of the grave?”
Response. “Man walketh in a vain shadow ; he heap. eth up riches, and cannot tell who shall gather them."
Master. “When he dieth, be shall carry nothing away; his glory shall not descend after him.”'
Rosponse. “Naked he came into the world, and naked he must return."
Master. « The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord !"
The grand honours are then given, and certain forms used, which cannot be here explained.
The master then, taking the sacred roll in his hand, says,
Let us die the death of the righteous, and let our last end be like his !”
The brethren answer,
«God is our God for ever and ever ; he will be our guide even unto death!”
The master then records the name and age of the deceased upon the roll, and says,
“ Almighty Father! into thy hands we commend the soul of our loving brother.”
The brethren answer three times, (giving the grand honours each time,)
• The will of God is accomplished ! so be it."
The master then deposits the roll in the archives, and repeats the followiug prayer :
« Most glorious God! author of all good, and giver or all mercy ! pour down thy blessings upon us, and strength en our solemn engagements with the ties of sincere afe fection! May the present instance of mortality remind us of our approaching fate, and draw our attention toward thee, the only refuge in time of need! that, when the av. ful moment shall arrive, that we are about to quit this transitory scene, the enlivening prospect of thy mercy may dispel the gloom of death; and after our departure hence in peace and in thy favour, we may be received into thipe ererlasting kingdom, to enjoy, in union with the souls of our departed friends, the rewards of a per ous and virtuous life. Amen."
A procession is then formed, which moves to the house of the deceased, and from thence to the place of interment. The different lodges rank according to seniority, excepting that the lodge of which the deceased was a member walks Dearest the corpse. Each lodge forms one division, and the following order is observed :
ORDER OF PROCESSION AT A FUNERAL.
Tiler, with a Drawn Sword ;
Stewards, with White Rods ; Musicians (if they are Masons, otherwise they follow the
de Master Masons;
· Past Masters; The Holy Writings, on a cushion covered with black cloth, carried by the Oldest Member of the Lodge ;
Pall Bearers ; Pall Bearers. The brethren are not to desert their ranks, or change places, but keep in their different apartments. When the procession arrives at the church-yard, the members of the lodge form a circle round the grave, and the clergyman and officers of the acting lodge, taking their station at the head of the grave, and the mourners at the foot, the service is resumed, and the following exhortation given :
«Here we view a striking instance of the uncertainty of life, and the vanity of all human pursuits. The last offices paid to the dead are only useful as lectures to the living ; from them we are to derive instruction, and consider every solemnity of this kind as a summons to prepare for our approaching dissolution.
" Notwithstanding the various mementos of mortality with which we daily meet ; notwithstanding death has established his empire over all the works of nature; yet through some unaccountable infatuation we forget that we are born to die : we go on from one design to another, add hope o hope, and lay out plans for the employment of many years, till we are suddenly alarmed with the approach of death, when we least expect him, and at an
hour which we probably conclude to be the meridian of our existence.
• What are all the externals of majesty, the pride of wealth, or charms of beauty, when nature has pa d her just debt? Fix your eyes on the last scene, and view life stript of her ornaments, and exposed in her natural nean. ness; you will then be convinced of the futility of those empty delusions. In the grave, all fallacies are detectei, all ranks are levelled, and all distinctions are done away.
6 While we drop the sympathetic tear over the grave of our deceased friend, let charity incline us to throw a veil over his foibles, whatever they may have been, and not withhold from his memory the praise that his virtues may have claimed. Suffer the apologies of human nature to plead in his beoalf. Perfection on earth has never been attained ; the wisest as well as the best of men have erred.
“Let the present example excite our most serious thoughts, and strengthen our resolutions of amendment. As life is uncertain, and all earthly pursuits are rain, let us no longer postpone the important concern of preporing for eternity, but embrace the happy moment, while time and opportunity offer, to provide against the great change, when all the pleasures of this world shall cease to delght. and the reflections of a virtuous life yield the only confort and consolation. Thus our expectations will not be rustrated, nor we hurried unprepared into the presence of an all-wise and powerful Judge, to whom the secrets of all hearts are known.
"Let us, while n this state of existence, support with propriety the character of our profession, advert to the nature of our solemn ties, and pursue with assiduity the sacred tenets of our order. Then, with becoming reverence, let us supplicate tlie divine grace to ensure the favour of that eternal Being, whose goodness and power know no bound ; that when the awfal moment arrives, be it soon or late, we may be enabled to prosecute our