West End Ritual of Craft Freemasonry
Ceremony of Opening the Lodge in the Second Degree
WM (Gavel): I must now request all EAs to retire from the Lodge.
WM: Brethren, assist me to open the Lodge in the Second Degree (All rise).
Are all present Fcs?
WM: Bro JW, (JWs and s. of EA) what is the first care of every Fc Freemason?
JW: To see that the Lodge is properly t.
WM: Direct that duty to be done Opening in the Second Degree?
JW (Drops s): Bro IG (IG s and s of EA) see that the Lodge is properly t.
IG (takes appropriate action and upon being answered by the T goes to NW corner of Lodge and with s and s of FC): Bro JW, the Lodge is properly t.
JW (Gavel and with s and s of EA): WM, the Lodge is properly t.
WM: Bro SW. (SW s and s of EA) the next care?
SW: To see that the Brethren appear to order as Masons.
WM: To order Brethren as Masons in the First Degree
The Brethren stand to order as EAs
WM: Bro JW, are you a Fc Freemason?
JW: I am, WM, try me and prove me.
WM: By what instrument used in Architecture will you be proved?
JW: The S.
WM: What is a S?
JW: An angle of 90 degrees, or the fourth part of a circle.
WM: You being acquainted with the proper method, will prove the Brethren Craftsmen, and demonstrate that proof to me by copying their example.
JW: Brethren, it is the WM’s command that you prove yourselves Craftsmen.
When the JW has seen that the Brethren all stand to order as Fcs he makes the following report:
JW: WM, the Brethren have proved themselves Craftsmen, and in obedience to your command I copy their example. Done.
WM: Bro JW, I acknowledge the correctness of the sign. (Gives it)
WM: Brethren, before I open the Lodge in the Second Degree, (Chaplain or WM) let us supplicate the Grand Geometrician of the Universe, that the rays of Heaven may shed their benign influence to enlighten us in the paths of virtue and science.
OMNES: So mote it be.
WM: Brethren, in the name of the Grand Geometrician of the Universe, I declare the Lodge duly opened, on the S. for the instruction and improvement of Craftsmen.
All cut sign.
WM 2° Knocks
SW 2° Knocks
JW 2° Knocks
IG. 2° Knocks
Tyler 2° Knocks, during these TB. changed.
IPM arranges B, S & C.
All resume seats.
Passing to the Second Degree
The Candidate must have answered the questions leading to this Degree.
The Tyler, having prepared the Candidate, reports by giving the EA knocks on door.
JW (Rising, with s and s, no knocks): WM there is a report.
WM: Bro JW, enquire who wants admission.
JW (Completes s and resumes seat): Bro IG , see who seeks admission.
IG completes s., opens door, leaving it ajar for the following examination, which should be audible to the Brethren.
IG: Whom have you there?
Tyler: Bro. (name), who has been regularly initiated into Freemasonry and has made such progress as he hopes will recommend him to be passed to the Second Degree, for which ceremony he is properly prepared.
IG: How does he hope to obtain the privileges of the Second Degree?
Tyler: By the help of God, the assistance of the S. and the benefit of a p.g. and p.w.
IG: Is he is possession of the p.g. and p.w?
Tyler: Try him
Can gives p.g. to IG instructed by Tyler if necessary.
IG: What is this?
CAN. (Prompted by Tyler if necessary): The p.g. leading from the First to the Second Degree
IG: What does this p.g. demand?
CAN (Prompted by Tyler if necessary): A p.w.
IG: Give me that p.w.
(Given, if necessary prompted by Tyler).
IG: Wait while I report to the WM.
It is the duty of the IG to see that the Candidate is properly prepared, having done so he closes door and advances to NW corner of Lodge, and with s and s.
IG: WM., Bro. (name) who has been regularly initiated into Freemasonry has made such progress as he hopes will recommend him to be passed to the Second Degree, for which ceremony he is properly prepared.
WM: How does he hope to obtain the privileges of the Second Degree?
IG: By the help of God, the assistance of the S., and the benefit of a p.g. and p.w.
WM: We acknowledge the propriety of the aid by which he seeks admission; do you, Brother IG, vouch that he is in possession of the p.g. and p.w.?
IG: I do WM.
WM: Then let him be admitted in due form, (IG completes s , WM gavels) Bro. Deacons.
IG awaits arrival of Deacons. Kneeling stool is placed in position on squared pavement at NW corner. Candidate taken in charge by SD and admitted by IG on the s. SD lead Candidate to kneeling Stool and stands him facing WM, SD on his right, JD on his left, IG behind momentarily holding v. over Can ‘s head.
SD: (To Can): Salute the WM as an EAFm. (done).
WM: Let the Can. kneel and receive the benefit of Masonic prayer.
WM gavels. Can kneels. All rise and stand to order with s of r. Deacons hold wands crossed above Can ‘s head, SD’S, in front.
SD instructs Can to assume s of r.
WM or Chaplain: We supplicate the continuance of Thine aid, O merciful Lord, on behalf of ourselves and him who kneels before Thee. May the work begun in Thy name be continued to Thy glory, and ever more established in us by obedience to Thy divine precepts.
OMNES: So mote it be. (All drop s. Deacons lower wands).
WM: Let the Can, rise. (Done. Brethren resume their seats, Kneeling Stool removed, SD takes Can by r.h.)
SD: Step off with your 1.f.
(JD resumes seat, SD s Lodge with Can on approaching WM says:)
Salute the WM as a Mason in passing (Note they do nor halt for salutes ‘in passing’).
On arriving at JW pedestal they halt and stand in line.
SD (To Can.): Advance to the JW as such, showing the s. (done) and communicating
the t. and w.
JW: Have you anything to communicate?
CAN.: I have. (SD will prompt Can throughout this exchange).
JW rises and SD instructs Can. how to communicate the
JW: What is this?
CAN.: The g. or t. of an EAFm.
JW: What does this g. demand?
CAN.: A w.
JW: Give me that w., in this instance freely and at length.
JW: Pass ….
JW resumes his seat, SD then instructs Can. how to step off and, on approaching the west, instructs Can. as follows:
SD: Salute the SW as a Mason in passing.
SD conducts Can. to NW corner of Lodge and both stand facing WM.
WM: Brethren, take notice that Bro. (full name), who has been regularly initiated into Freemasonry, is about to pass before you to show that he is a candidate properly prepared to be passed to the Second Degree.
SD: Step off with your l. f.
(SD s. Lodge with Can., on approaching WM says): Salute the WM again as a Mason in passing.
(On approaching JW SD says:) Salute the JW as such in passing.
(On arriving at SW pedestal they halt and stand in line).
SD: Advance to the SW as such, s., showing the s. (Done). and communicating the p.g. and p.w. you received from the WM previous to leaving the Lodge.
SW: Have you anything to communicate?
CAN.: I have. (SD will throughout this exchange prompt Can.)
SW rises and SD instructs Can, how to communicate the p g.
SW: What is this?
CAN.: The p.g. leading from the First to the Second Degree.
SW: What does this p.g. demand?
CAN.: A p.w.
SW: Give me that p.w.
SW: What does s. denote?
SW: And how depicted in a FC Lodge?
CAN.: By an e. of c. near a f. of w.
SW: Pass S. (SW remains standing).
(SD leads Candidate to the left of SW places Candidates r h. in SW’s l.h. and ensures Candidate faces WM. SD moves one pace away).
SW (With s and s. of an EA): WM., I present to you Bro (full name), a Candidate properly prepared to be passed to the Second Degree
WM: Bro SW., direct the SD to instruct the Candidate to advance to the east by the proper steps.
SW completes s., hands Candidate to SD who takes control of Candidate and together stand in NW corner facing WM.
SW resumes seat.
SW: Bro SD (SD, EA sign no step): it is the WM’s command that you instruct the Candidate to advance to the east by the proper steps. (SD completes s).
SD: Step off with your l. f. The method of advancing from west to east in this Degree is by f steps as though a. a w.s., for your instruction I will go through them, after which you will copy me.
(JD takes charge of Candidate standing to his left SD goes through proper method, court bow to WM and returns to Can. by the same route).
SD: Stand with your feet together h. to h., turn out your l.f. to form a s. Step off with your l.f.
(SD, Can & ID then go through proper method).
WM: Bro (name), as in every degree the secrets of Masonry are kept separate and distinct, another Obligation will now be required of you, in many respects similar to the former. Are you willing to take it?
CAN.: I am. (If necessary SD tells Can, to answer).
WM: Then you will kneel on your r.k., place your l. f. so as to form a s., place your r.h. on the V.S.L., whilst your l.a., will be supported in the angle of a s. Outstretch your h., t. in the form of a s.
(WM places s in position and JD supports it with his l.h during Obligation).
WM Gavels, all stand with s. of f.; the Deacons hold their wands crossed over Can’s head, SD‘s in front).
WM: State your several names at length and repeat after me: I (Can.’s full name), in the presence of the G. G. of the U., and of this worthy and worshipful Lodge of Fc. Fms., regularly held, assembled and properly dedicated, of my own free will and accord do hereby and hereon (at these four words WM touches Can.’s hand and then VSL) solemnly promise and swear that I will always hele, conceal and never reveal any of the secrets or mysteries of or belonging to the Second Degree in Freemasonry denominated the Fc., to him who is but an E.A., any more that I would either of them to the uninitiated or popular world who are not Masons. I further solemnly promise to act as a true and faithful Craftsman, answer signs, obey summonses and maintain the principles inculcated in the former Degree.
These several points I solemnly swear to observe without evasion, equivocation or mental reservation of any kind. So help me Almighty God and keep me steadfast in this the solemn obligation of a Fc. Fm (WM removes s., JD puts Can.’s l. h. down to his side. The Can’s r.h. remains on VSL).
As a pledge of fidelity, and to render what you have repeated a solemn obligation which might otherwise be considered but as a serious promise, you will seal it with your l. t. on the VSL. (done)
(All drop s., Deacon lower wands)
Your progress in Freemasonry is marked by the position of the s. and c.; when you were made an E.A both p. were h., (WM demonstrates) in this Degree one is d., implying that you are now midway in Freemasonry, superior to an E.A., but inferior to that which I trust will hereafter be communicated to you (WM takes Can.’s r. h. in both hands (Note the Can.’s r.h. has remained on VSL until now).
Rise, duly obligated FcFm.
The Brethren resume their seats and the SD wheels Can. in a clockwise direction to the right of the WM JD resumes his seat.
WM: Bro (names Can.), having taken the solemn obligation of a FcFm, I shall now proceed to entrust you with the ss. of the Degree You will therefore advance to me as at your Initiation, showing the s. (SD instructs Can.) Now take another s. s. towards me with your l. f., bringing the r. h. into its h. as before (SD instructs Can.); that, my Brother, (pointing) is the s.r.s. in
Freemasonry, and is the position in which the ss. of the Degree are communicated.
They consist, as in the former, of a s., t. and w., with this difference, that in this Degree the s. is of a t-f. nature Please copy me.
(WM rises. Throughout the entrusting which follows the WM demonstrates and the Can. copies under the guidance of the SD) The first part of this t-f s. is called the s. of f. and is given by placing the r.h. extended to form a s. over the l.b. emblematically to shield the repository of your ss. from the attacks of the insidious.
The second is the h. s. or the s. of p. and is given by t. up the l.h., t. extended to form a s. thus. This took its rise when Joshua fought the battles of the Lord for it was in this position that he prayed fervently to the Almighty to continue the light of day until he had completed the overthrow of His enemies.
The third is the p.s. and is given by dropping the l.h. to the side, drawing the r. smartly across the body and dropping it to the side also. This alludes to the symbolic penalty of this Degree, at one time included in the Obligation, which implied that, as a man of honour (WM places r.h. to front of body, SD ensures Can. copies) and a FcFm (WM gives s. of f., SD ensures Can. copies) you would rather have had your h. torn from your b. (WM completes s., Can.
copies) than improperly disclose the secrets of the Degree. The full penalty was that of having the l.b.l.o., the h.t., and given to the r.bs. of the a., or d. bs. of the f. as p. (s. not repeated).
The g. or t. is given by a distinct p. with the t. on the s. k-j of a Brother’s r.h. (done, it is for the WM to properly place the Can.’s after which the WM completes the g. with his own t.) This g. demands a w., a w. to be given and received with the same strict caution as that in the former Degree, that is to say, it should never be given at length but always by l. or s., to enable you to do which I will tell you that w., it is ….
CAN. (repeats, prompted by SD).
WM (spells it).
CAN. (repeats, prompted by SD).
WM: As in the course of the ceremony you will be called upon for this w. our Bro SD will now dictate the answers you are to give. What is this?
CAN. (Prompted by SD throughout the examination): The g. or t. of a FcFm.
WM: What does this grip demand?
CAN: A w.
WM: Give me that w.
SD prevents Can from answering and dictates.
CAN.: In this Degree, as in the former, I was taught to be cautious, I will l. or h. it with you.
WM: xxx it and begin (It the WM’s choice to l. or h.)
WM: This word was derived from the r.h.p. which stood at the p.e. to K.S.’s T. so named after an assisting h.p. who officiated at its dedication, the import of the word is to e. and when conjoined with that in the former Degree s., for God said in s. will I e. this Mine House to stand firm for ever. Pass ….
The SD, s. the Lodge, conducts the Candidate to the right of the JW (Note the Can. and SD should stand side by side, facing west, by the side of the JW’s pedestal).
SD (s & s): Bro. JW, I present to you Bro (name) on his being passed to the Second Degree.
JW: I will thank Bro (name) to advance to me as an FcFm showing the s.
SD completes s and instructs Can as to s and s
JW: Have you anything to communicate?
CAN. (prompted throughout by SD): I have.
JW rises and Can. communicates g. guided by SD who adjusts Can.’s t. after which JW
JW: What is this?
CAN: The g. or t. of an FcFm.
JW: What does this g. demand?
CAN.: A w.
JW: Give me that w.
SD prevents Can from answering and dictates the following: In this Degree, as in the former, I was taught to be cautious, I will 1. or h. it with you
JW: xxx it and begin. (If the WM has h‘d it the JW should l. it and vice versa).
JW: Pass, ….
The SD s. the Lodge, conducts Can to the right of the SW (Note The Can. and SD should stand side by side by the SW’s pedestal, facing north).
SD (with s & s): Bro. SW, I present to you Bro (name) upon his being passed to the Second Degree
SW: I will thank Bro (name) to advance to me as a Fc., first as an EA, showing the s.
SD completes and instructs Can to take s. only after completing EA sign.
SW (points): What is that?
CAN. (prompted throughout by SD): The second r.s. in Freemasonry
SW: Do you bring anything with you?
CAN: I do (gives s. of f. instructed by SD).
SW: What is that?
CAN.: The s. of f., emblematically to shield the repository of my ss. from the attacks of the insidious.
SW: Do you bring anything else?
CAN: I do (gives h. s. instructed by SD).
SW: What is that?
CAN.: The h.s., or s. of p.
SW: When did it take rise?
CAN.: When Joshua fought the battles of the Lord it was in this position that he prayed fervently to the Almighty to continue the light of day until he had completed the overthrow of His enemies.
SW: Do you bring anything further?
CAN: I do (gives p.s., instructed by SD).
SW: What is that?
CAN.: The p.s
SW: To what does it allude?
CAN.: The symbolic penalty of this Degree, which implied that, as a man of honour and a FcFm, I would rather have had my h. torn from my b. than improperly disclose the secrets of the Degree. (Can suits actions to words during this answer, instructed by SD).
SW: Have you anything to communicate?
CAN: I have.
SW rises, Can. communicates the g., instructed by SD who attends to Can.’s t., after which the SW completes g.
SW: What it this?
CAN: The g or t of a FcFm.
SW: What does this g. demand?
CAN.: A w.
SW: Give me that w.
SD again prevents Can from answering and dictates the following: In this Degree, as in the former, I was taught to be cautious, I will l. or h. it with you.
SW: xxx it and begin (If the JW has h’d it the SW should l. it and vice versa, i e. he copies WM).
SW: Whence was this word derived?
CAN.: From the r.h.p. which stood at the p.e. to K.S’s.T., so named after . .., an assisting h.p. who officiated at its dedication
SW: The import of the word?
CAN.: To e.
SW: And when conjoined with that in the former Degree?
CAN.: S., for God said in s will I e this Mine House to stand firm for ever.
SW: Pass .... (SW remains standing).
The SD conducts Can to the left of the SW, placing Can.’s r.h. in the l.h. of the SW, squaring Can to face WM.
SW (s & s): WM I present to you Bro (name) on his being passed to the Second Degree for some mark of your favour.
WM: Bro. SW I delegate you to invest our Brother with the distinguishing badge of a FcFm. (SW completes s.)
SW: Bro (name), by the WM’s command I invest you with the distinguishing badge of a FcFm , to mark the progress you have made in the science (NOTE the EA apron should not be removed until after the Fc apron has been fitted) Pay attention to the WM.
SW hands Can over to SD and resumes his seat. SD takes Can to NW corner of Lodge.
WM: I will state that the badge with which you have been invested points out that, as a Cm., you are expected to make the Liberal Arts and Sciences your future study, that you may the better be enabled to discharge your duty as a Mason and estimate the wonderful works of the Almighty. Bro. SD., (SD gives s and s. of Fc) place our Brother in the south east part of the Lodge.
SD (drops s, and says to Can): Step off with your left foot. (Conducts Can to south east corner by s the Lodge) Stand with you r.f. together h. to h., turn out your l.f. so as to form a s., pay attention to the WM.
WM: Masonry being a progressive science, when you were made an Entered Apprentice you were placed in the northeast part of the Lodge (points) to show that you were newly admitted. You are now placed in the south-east to mark the progress you have made in the science. You
now stand to all external appearance a just, upright FcFm., and I Give it to you in terms of strong recommendation ever to continue and act as such, and, as I trust the import of the former charge neither is nor ever will be effaced from your memory I shall content myself by observing that, as in the former Degree you were made acquainted with the principles of moral truth and virtue, you are now expected to extend your researches into the more hidden mysteries of nature and science I will now present to your notice the working tools of a FcFm.
SD conducts Can to front of pedestal
WM: They are the square, the level and the plumb rule.
The square is to try, whilst constructing rectangular corners of buildings and assist in bringing rude matter into due form.
The level, to lay levels and prove horizontals and the plumb rule to try, and adjust uprights whilst fixing them on their proper bases.
But, as we are not all operative, but rather free, accepted or speculative Masons we apply these tools to morals. In this sense the square teaches us to regulate our lives and actions according to Masonic line and rule and so to harmonise our conduct in this life as to render us acceptable to that Divine Being from whom all goodness springs and to whom we must give an account of all our actions.
The level demonstrates that we are all sprung from the same stock, are partakers of the same nature and sharers of the same hope; and although distinctions among men are necessary to preserve subordination, yet ought no eminence of station make us forget that we are Brothers, for he who is placed on the lowest spoke of Fortune’s wheel is equally entitled to our regard, for a time will come, and the best and wisest of us knows not how soon, when all distinctions save those of goodness and virtue shall cease and Death, the grand leveller of all human greatness reduce us to the same estate.
The infallible plumb rule, which like Jacob’s ladder connects heaven and earth, is the criterion of rectitude and truth. It teaches us to walk justly and uprightly before God and man, neither turning to the right nor left from the strict paths of virtue. Not to be an enthusiast, persecutor, slanderer or reviler of religion, neither bending towards avarice, injustice, malice, revenge nor the envy or contempt of mankind, but giving up every selfish propensity which might have a tendency to injure others To steer the barque of this life over the rough seas of passion, without quitting the helm of rectitude, is the highest perfection to which human nature can attain and, as the builder raises his column by the aid of the level and plumb rule, so ought every Mason conduct himself towards this world; to observe a due medium between avarice and profusion, to hold the scales of justice in equipoise, to make his passions and his prejudices coincide with the strict line of his duty, and in all his pursuits to have eternity in view.
Thus, the square teaches morality, the level equality and the plumb rule Justness and uprightness of life and actions.
So, by square conduct, level steps and upright intentions, we hope to ascend to those blest mansions whence all goodness emanates.
You are now at liberty to retire in order to restore your personal comfort and on your return to the Lodge I may call your attention to a Lecture on the Tracing Board should time permit.
WM may wish to congratulate candidate.
The SD, squaring the Lodge, conducts the Candidate to the NW corner.
SD: Salute the WM as a Fellowcraft Freemason, first as an Entered Apprentice. (Done).
The Candidate then retires, SD and IG resume seats, When Candidate ready Tyler gives one knock.
IG (s & s): Bro JW, there is a report.
JW after receiving discreet acknowledgement from WM gives one knock. IG drops sign and opens door.
IG (to T): Whom have you there?
Tyler: Bro (name,) on his return.
IG: Wait while I report to the WM (closes door, goes to NW corner and with s & s says): WM, Bro. (name,) on his return.
WM: Admit him Bro IG. Bro SD.
IG drops sign and when joined by SD admits Candidate and secures door SD places Candidate in NW corner.
SD: Salute the WM as a FcFm, first as an EA. (Done).
If Lecture is to be given WM will call on SD to place Bro (name) in the centre of Lodge.
The Lecture may be given by the WM or by any brother the WM calls upon. The WM may wish to request other brethren to move to centre of Lodge to attend Lecture, they must not, however, intervene between the Lecturer and the new Fc. When the Lecture is complete the brethren resume their seats and SD conducts the new Fc to his seat. If Lecture is not to be given WM should tell new Fc in appropriate words and direct SD to conduct him to his seat.
Lecture on the Second Tracing Board
When the Temple at Jerusalem was completed by King Solomon assisted by the strength of H K.T., and the skill of H A., its costliness and splendour became objects of admiration to the surrounding nations and its fame spread to the remotest parts of the then-known world. There was nothing, however, in connection with this magnificent structure more remarkable, or that more particularly struck the attention than the two great pillars that were placed at the porch-way entrance That on the l was called B..., which denotes s., that on the r., J…, which denotes to e.; and when conjoined s., for God said, In s, will I e. this Mine House to stand firm for ever.
The height of these pillars was seventeen cubits and half each, their circumference twelve, their diameter four; they were formed hollow, the better to serve as archives to Masonry, for therein were deposited the constitutional rolls. Being formed hollow, their outer rim or shell was four inches or a hand’s breadth in thickness. They were made of molten brass, and were cast in the plain of Jordan, in the clay ground between Succoth and Zeredathah, where King Solomon ordered them and all his holy vessels to be cast. The superintendent of the casting was H.A. These pillars were adorned with two chapiters, each five cubits high, the chapiters were enriched with network, lilywork and pomegranates; network, from the connection of its meshes, denotes unity, lily-work, from its whiteness, peace, and pomegranates, from the abundance of their seed, plenty. There were two rows of pomegranates, on each chapiter, one hundred in a row. These pillars were further adorned with two spherical balls, on which were delineated maps of the celestial and terrestrial globes, pointing out "Masonry universal". They were considered finished when the network or canopy was thrown over them.
They were set up as a memorial to the Children of Israel of that miraculous pillar of fire and cloud, which had two wonderful effects, the fire gave light to the Israelites during their escape from their Egyptian bondage, and the cloud proved darkness to Pharaoh and his followers when they attempted to overtake them. King Solomon ordered them to be placed at the entrance to the Temple as the most proper and conspicuous situation for the Children of Israel to have the happy deliverance of their forefathers continually before their eyes in going to and returning from Divine worship.
At the building of King Solomon’s Temple an immense number of Masons was employed, they consisted of EAs and Fcs. The EAs received a weekly allowance of corn, wine and oil; the Fcs were paid their wages in specie, which they went to receive in the middle chamber of the Temple; they got there by the porch-way entrance on the south side. After our Ancient Brethren had entered the porch, they arrived at the foot of the winding staircase which led to the middle chamber.
Their ascent was opposed by the ancient JW, who demanded of them the p.g. and p.w. leading from the first to the second degree
The p.g. you are all in possession of, and the p.w., I daresay you recollect, is S., S. denotes p. and is here depicted by an e. of c. near a f. of w.
The word S. takes its rise from the following remarkable fact. When the Children of Israel had repeatedly forsaken the laws of their forefathers and long persisted in their idolatrous ways the Almighty thought proper to afflict them with divers punishments, one of the most grievous of which was subjecting them to the in-roads and oppressions of neighbouring Gentile nations when, however, the people repented of their idolatry and humbled themselves before the true God, He never failed to raise them up a champion and deliverer
There lived in Israel a man of repute whose name was Gilead, who had many sons; but one in particular called Jephtha, whom he had by a concubine. Gilead dying, and his sons being grown up, they expelled Jephtha from his father’s house saying "Thinkest thou, who art the son of a bondwoman, to inherit with us who are free born?" Jephtha being thus treated in his native country, and being of a daring spirit, determined to try his fortune in a foreign one. He accordingly repaired to the land of Tob, where, by his great courage and skill, he soon raised himself to be the leader of a small army, with which he made excursions into the enemy’s country frequently returning laden with rich spoils. At that time the Ammonites made war with the Gileadites, invading them with a formidable army; and not content with ravaging their country, they threatened to lay siege to the city of Gilead itself. The Gileadites, on their part, raised a numerous army to oppose them, but were in great distress for want of an experienced general to lead their troops to battle. In this extremity they thought of their countryman, Jephtha, the fame of whose military exploits had by that time reached them. A deputation of the Elders repaired to that chieftain humbly soliciting him to take command of their army Jephtha was much surprised at this reverse of fortune and said to the Elders "It was but the other day I was expelled my father’s house, being deemed unworthy to inherit with the free born, but now in your distress you have recourse to me." Recollecting it was his native country and his brethren (although unworthy) who were in distress, he told the Elders that if they would consent to make him their Chief General or Governor for life, in case he returned victorious from the Ammonitish expedition, he would accept their offer. To this they readily assented, and Jephtha’s title was soon afterwards ratified in the city of Gilead in a full assembly of Chiefs and Elders.
Jephtha being thus vested with full powers, reinforced the Gileaditish army with those veteran troops he had so successfully commanded; but being desirous, if possible, to spare the effusion of blood, he sent messages to the King of the Ammonites requesting to know by what authority he invaded his country. That monarch haughtily answered that the country was not Jephtha’s but his, for the Israelites had taken it from his forefathers on their way from Egypt to Canaan, the land where the majority of the people then dwelt. Jephtha replied that it was not from the Ammonites but the Ammonites, the country had been taken, and that if the law of conquest or prescription could give a people proper title to a territory, the Gileadites had an undoubted one, having been in possession for three hundred years.
The King of the Ammonites still continuing obstinate, Jephtha drew out his army in battle array and marched against the invaders, who were totally defeated and put to flight with great slaughter. Following up their advantage, the Gileadites entered the enemy’s territory, where their late ravages were severely retaliated by the plunder of twenty Ammonitish cities.
On his return, Jephtha met with great molestation from his neighbours, the Ephraimites, who had crossed the river Jordan in a hostile manner The reason they assigned for this unfriendly visit was that they had not been called out to partake of the honours of the Aminonitish war, but their true aim was to partake of the rich spoils with which, in consequence of the war, Jephtha and his army were then laden.
The Ephraimites, who, had always been considered a clamorous and turbulent people, then broke out into open violence, and after many severe taunts to the Gileadites in general threatened to destroy their victorious commander and his house with fire. Jephtha, on his part, tried all lenient means to appease them, but finding these ineffectual, he had recourse to rigorous ones; he therefore drew out his army, gave the Ephraimites battle, defeated and put them to flight, and to render his victory decisive and to secure himself from a like molestation in future, he sent detachments of his army to secure the passages of the river Jordan, over which he knew the insurgents must, of necessity, attempt to go in order to regain their own country, giving strict orders to his guards that if a fugitive came that way, owning himself an Ephraimite, he should immediately be slain, but if he prevaricated, or said nay, a testword was to be put to him, to pronounce the word, S. they, from a defect in aspiration, peculiar to their dialect, could not pronounce it properly, but called it s., which variation discovered their country and cost them their lives, and Scripture informs us that there fell on that day, on the field of battle, and on the banks of the Jordan forty and two thousand Ephraimites
And as S. was then a test word to distinguish friend from foe, King Solomon afterwards caused it to be adopted as a p w. in a Fc. L, to prevent any unqualified person ascending the winding staircase which led to the middle chamber of the Temple.
After our ancient brethren had given those convincing proofs to the JW, he said: ‘Pass S." They then passed tip the winding staircase consisting of three, five, seven, or more steps, three rule a Lodge, five hold a Lodge, seven or more make it perfect, the three who rule arc the Master and his two Wardens, the five who hold a Lodge are the Master, two Wardens and two Fcs , the seven who make it perfect are two EAs. added to the former five. Three rule the Lodge, because there were but three Grand Masters who bore sway at the building of the first Temple at Jerusalem namely, S.K. of I., H.K. of T., and H.A. Five hold a Lodge in allusion to the five noble Orders of Architecture-namely: the Tuscan, Done, Ionic, Corinthian and Composite; seven or more make a perfect Lodge because King Solomon was seven years and upwards in building, completing and dedicating the Temple at Jerusalem to God’s service, they have likewise a further allusion to the seven liberal arts and sciences: namely Grammar, Rhetoric, Logic, Arithmetic, Geometry, Music, and Astronomy.
After our ancient Brethren had gained the summit of the winding staircase they arrived at the door of the middle chamber, which they found open but properly T’d against all under the degree of a Fc by the ancient SW who demanded of them the Sn., T, and W, of a Fc.
After they had given him those convincing proofs, he said, "Pass J....", they then passed into the middle chamber of the Temple, where they received their wages, which they did without scruple or diffidence; without scruple, well knowing they were justly entitled to them; and without diffidence, from the great reliance they placed on the integrity of their employers in those days when our ancient Brethren were in the middle chamber of the Temple, their attention was particularly drawn to certain Hebrew characters, which are here depicted by a letter; G. (WM gavels — all rise with s of r) denoting God, the Grand Geometrician of the Universe, to whom we must all submit, and whom we ought humbly to adore.
(All drop s and sit)
WM: Brethren, assist me to close the Lodge in the Second Degree. (All rise)
WM: Bro. JW, (JW s & s) what is the constant care of every Fellowcraft Freemason?
JW: To prove the Lodge close T.
WM: Direct that duty to be done.
JW. (cuts s): Bro. IG, (IG s & s) prove the Lodge close T. (Cuts, gives appropriate knocks.
When Tyler answers IG returns to NW and with s & s ): Bro JW the Lodge is close T.
JW (Gavel s & s): WM, the Lodge is close T (cuts s).
WM: Bro SW, (SW s & s ) the next care?
SW: To see that the Brethren appear to order as Craftsmen (SW cuts s).
WM: To order, Brethren, as Masons in the Second Degree (Done).
WM: Bro. JW, in this position, what have you discovered?
JW: The s. s.
WM: Bro. SW, where is it situated?
SW.: In the e. of the b.
WM: Bro JW, To whom does it allude?
JW: The Grand Geometrician of the Universe.
WM: Then Brethren, let us remember, that wherever we are and whatever we do, He is with us, His all-seeing eye observes us, and whilst we continue to act in conformity with the principles of the Craft, let us not fail to discharge our duty towards Him with fervency and zeal.
OMNES: So mote it be
WM.: Bro. SW., the labours of this Degree being ended you have my command to close the Lodge. (Gavel with l.h.)
SW: Brethren, in the name of the Grand Geometrician of the Universe and by command of the WM, I close this Fellowcraft Lodge (Gavel with r.h.)
All cut sign.
JW: Happy have we met, happy may we part, and happy meet again.
And it is closed accordingly.
(gives 1° knocks)
SD changes TB.
IPM arranges s. & c.
LG. gives 1° knocks
The Brethren resume their seats.
Ceremony of Opening the Lodge in the Second Degree