Manual of the Lodge is a book about the Freemasonry which provides monitorial instructions in the degrees of Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft, and Master Mason arranged in accordance with the American System of Lectures. To those are added the Ceremonies of the Order Past Master, relating to installations, dedications, consecrations and laying of Corner-Stones. The aim of the work was to explain and supply means of enabling the reader more thoroughly to understand the ceremonies through which the young Mason or the recent initiate passes and to extend his researches into that sublime system of symbolism of the craft.
Albert Gallatin Mackey (1807-1881) was an American medical doctor and author. He is best known for his books and articles about freemasonry, particularly the Masonic Landmarks. He wrote on a variety of subjects, but specialized in the study of several languages, the Middle Ages, and Freemasonry.
THIRD SECTION. Table of Contents
The third section of the Entered Apprentice's lecture explains the nature and principles of our constitution, and furnishes many interesting details relating to the Form, Supports, Covering, Furniture, Ornaments, Lights, and Jewels of a Lodge, how it should be situated, and to whom dedicated.
Nearly the whole of this section has been made monitorial. Webb, and after him Cross, Hardie, Tannehill, and all other monitorial writers, have left but little of it unpublished. I have, on the same principle, slightly increased the amount of information given, by the publication of one or two passages, hitherto excepted from publication in other monitors, since I could discover no reason why this exception should have been made.
A Lodge is an assemblage of Masons duly congregated, having the Holy Bible, Square, and Compasses, and a Charter or Warrant of Constitution authorizing them to work.
Every lawful assemblage of Masons, duly congregated for work, will be "a just and legally constituted Lodge." It is just, that is, regular and orderly, when it contains the requisite number to form a quorum, and when the Bible, Square, and Compasses are present. It is legally constituted when it is acting under the authority of a Warrant of Constitution, which is an instrument written and printed on parchment or paper (but properly it should be on the former), emanating from the Grand Lodge in whose jurisdiction the Lodge is situated, and signed by the grand officers, which authorizes the persons therein named, and their successors, to meet as Masons and perform Masonic labor. As no assemblage of Masons is legal without such an instrument, it is not only the privilege, but the duty, of every Mason on his first visit to a strange Lodge, to demand a sight of its Warrant of Constitution; nor should any brother sit in a Lodge whose members are unwilling to exhibit the authority on which they act.
Our ancient brethren met on the highest hills and in the lowest valleys, the better to observe the approach of cowans and eavesdroppers, and to guard against surprise.
The reason assigned in the lecture for this assembling on high places, is the modern, but not the true one. The fact is, that mountains and other high places were almost always considered as holy, and peculiarly appropriate for religious purposes, and we have abundant evidence in Scripture that the Jews were accustomed to worship on the tops of the highest hills, as it was believed that sacrifices offered from these elevated places were most acceptable to the Deity. Hutchinson says that "the highest hills and the lowest valleys were, from the earliest times, deemed sacred, and it was supposed that the Spirit of God was peculiarly diffusive in those places."
A Lodge is said, symbolically, to extend in length from east to west; in breadth, from north to south; in height, from the earth to the highest heavens; in depth, from the surface to the center. And a Lodge is said to be of these vast dimensions to denote the universality of Masonry, and to teach us that a Mason's charity should be equally as extensive.
There is a peculiar fitness in this theory, which is really only making the Masonic Lodge a symbol of the world. It must be remembered that, at the era of the Temple, the earth was supposed to have the form of a parallelogram, or "oblong square." Such a figure inscribed upon a map of the world, and including only that part of it which was known in the days of Solomon, would present just such a square, embracing the Mediterranean Sea and the countries lying immediately on its northern, southern, and eastern borders. Beyond, far in the north, would be the Cimmerian deserts as a place of darkness, while the pillars of Hercules in the west, on each side of the Straits of Gades-now Gibraltar-might appropriately be referred to the two pillars that stood at the porch of the Temple. Thus the world itself would be the true Mason's Lodge, in which he was to live and labor. Again; the solid contents of the earth below, "from the surface to the center," and the profound expanse above, "from the earth to the highest heavens," would give to this parallelogram the outlines of a double cube, and meet thereby that definition which says, that "the form of the Lodge ought to be a double cube, as an expressive emblem of the powers of light and darkness in the creation."8
A Lodge has three principal supports, which are Wisdom, Strength, and Beauty, because it is necessary that there should be wisdom to contrive, strength to support, and beauty to adorn all great and important undertakings. Of these, the column of Wisdom is situated in the east part of the Lodge, and is represented by the W? M? because it is presumed that he has wisdom to devise labor for the craft, and to superintend them during the hours thereof: the column of Strength is situated in the west part of the Lodge, and is represented by the S? W? because it is his duty to strengthen and support the authority of this Master; and the column of Beauty is situated in the south part of the Lodge, and is represented by the J? W? because from his position in the S? he is the first to observe the meridian sun, which is the beauty and glory of the day, to call the craft from labor to refreshment, to superintend them during the hours thereof, to see that none convert the purposes of refreshment into those of intemperance or excess, and to call them on again in due season, that the M? W? may have honor, and they pleasure and profit thereby.
The idea that the Lodge is a symbol of the world, is still carried out. It was the belief of the ancients that the heavens, on the roof of the world, was supported by pillars. By these pillars, some suppose that the mountains are alluded; but in reference to a passage in Job xxvi. 11, where it is said, "The pillars of heaven tremble." Noyes thinks that "it is more probable that heaven is represented as an immense edifice, supported on lofty columns, like a temple." But on this passage Dr. Cutbush is still more explicit. He says: "The arch, in this instance, is allegorical not only of the arch of heaven, but of the higher degree of Masonry, commonly called the Holy Royal Arch. The pillars which support the arch are emblematical of wisdom and strength-the former denoting the wisdom of the Supreme Architect, and the latter the stability of the universe."-Brewster's Encyclop., American edition.
Its covering is no less than a clouded canopy or starry decked heaven, where all good Masons hope at last to arrive, by the aid of that theological ladder which Jacob, in his vision, saw ascending from earth
to heaven, the three principal rounds of which are denominated Faith, Hope, and Charity, and which admonish us to have faith in God, hope of immortality, and charity to all mankind.
The greatest of these is Charity; for our Faith may be lost in sight; Hope ends in fruition; but Charity extends beyond the grave, through the boundless realms of eternity.
The Lodge continues throughout this degree to be presented to the initiate as a symbol of the world, and hence its covering is figuratively supposed to be the "clouded canopy" on which the host of stars is represented. If the Lodge represent the world, then its covering must be represented by the blue vault of heaven.
The mystical ladder which is here referred to, is a symbol that was widely diffused among the religions of antiquity, where, as in Masonry, it was always supposed to consist of seven steps, because seven was a sacred number. In some of the Ancient Mysteries, the seven steps represented the seven planets, and then the sun was the topmost; in others they represented the seven metals, and then gold was the topmost; in the Brahminical mysteries they represented the seven worlds which constituted the Indian universe, and then the world of Truth was the highest. The seven steps of the Masonic ladder are Temperance, Fortitude, Prudence, Justice, Faith, Hope, and Charity; that is, the four cardinal and the three theological virtues. Now, as charity is love, and as the sun represents Divine Love, and as also the astronomical sign of the sun is gold, and as truth is the synonym of God, it is evident, that the topmost round in all these ladders, whether it be the sun, or gold, or truth, or charity, conveys exactly the same lesson of symbolism, namely, that the Mason, living and working in the world as his Lodge, must seek to raise himself out of it to that eminence which surmounts it, where alone he can find Divine Truth.
The furniture of a Lodge consists of a Holy Bible, Square, and Compasses.
The Holy Bible is dedicated to God; the Square, to the Master; and the Compasses, to the craft.
The Bible is dedicated to God, because it is the inestimable gift of God to man; * * * the Square, to the Master, because it is the proper Masonic emblem of his office; and the Compasses, to the craft, because, by a due attention to their use, they are taught to circumscribe their desires, and keep their passions within due bounds.
The ornaments of a Lodge are the Mosaic Pavement, the Indented Tessel, and the Blazing Star. The Mosaic pavement is a representation of the ground floor of King Solomon's Temple; and the indented tessel, of that beautiful tesselated border or skirting which surrounded it.