[It was Bro.Thomas Smith Webb, who standardized
the Masonic Rituals and the First Edition of his Book Freemason's Monitor or
Illustrations of Masonry was published in 1797. The book
was released at a time, when the variations in the rituals were enormous.
The book was therefore of great guidance to the Grand Lodges in
America and most of them adhere to his text, which is, of course, of the written
or exoteric work. The Installation of the Master of the Lodge in most Lodges was
rendered as per the ritual in his Monitor. The book had rearranged the
ritual to suit the conditions in America and had paved the way for easy
memorizing and word perfect
delivery of the rituals. In compliance with many requests from brethren, we are
posting Webb's Freemason's Monitor to be followed by some other Monitors. We are
posting the first four chapters in this Article to be followed by other Chapters
in subsequent articles. Please read on . . . . ]
Webb's Freemason's Monitor
Including the First Three Degrees,
Funeral Service and Other Public Ceremonies,
Together with many Useful Forms
Whole Squaring with
The National Work of the Baltimore
As Taught By the Late Bro.John Barney,
by Bro.James Fenton (P.M), Grand Secretary,
LODGE OF MICHIGAN.
Publisher- C. Moore.
At The Masonic Review Office
Table Of Contents.
1. Origin of Masonry and its General Advantages. Chapter-2. The
Government of the Fraternity Explained.
Importance of the Secrets of Masonry Demonstrated.
Ceremony of Opening and Closing a Lodge.
Charges and Regulations for the Conduct and Behaviour of Masons.
Prerequisities for a Candidate.
Remarks on the First Lecture.
Remarks on the Second Degree.
on the Third Degree.
Ceremony of Constitution and Consecration.
of laying the Foundation Stones of Public Structures.
most commonly required. Public Grand Honors.
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1865, by
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the Eastern
District of Michigan.
the Memory of
Brother John Barney,
That Good Man and True Mason
To Whose Instructive Tongue Freemasonry in the West is
much indebted for the transmission, unimpaired of the
National Work of the Baltimore Convention,
This Little Work is Respectfully Dedicated.
By His Early Pupil.
The only introduction the Compiler will give this little volume, may be found
in the following indorsements by distinguished Craftsmen:
"Having examined the Freemason's Monitor, compiled by Bro.
James Fenton, G. S. of the G. L. of Michigan, I take pleasure in recommending it
to the Fraternity. The arrangement of the first three degrees, corresponding
with the National Work and Lectures, as established in this jurisdiction, makes
it an invaluable auxiliary in a working Lodge.
W.M. M. Fenton,
P. G. M. of the G. L. of Michigan.
Flint, Mice, July, 1865.
It is arranged, seriatim, with our work and lectures in the first three
degrees, as we work and lecture in Michigan, and as we understand our Baltimore
or National Work and Lectures.
Clemens, Mich., July, 1865.
"I have presided over a Lodge in Baltimore for a
number of years, and am perfectly familiar with the National Work, as adopted by
the Baltimore Convention. I have examined the proof-sheets of the Monitor, by
Bro. FENTON, and believe it conforms to that work in every essential particular.
Robert Gwynn. P.M.,
Of Arcana Lodge, No. 110.
Cincinnati, July, 1865.
Origin of Masonry
and its General Advantages.
the commencement of the world, we may trace the foundation of Masonry.
and Geometry are sometimes used as synonymous terms]
Ever since symmetry began and
harmony displayed her charms, our Order has had a being. During many ages and in
many different countries, it has flourished. In the dark periods of antiquity,
when literature was in a low state and the rude manners of our forefathers
withheld from them, that knowledge we now so amply share, Masonry diffused its
influence. This science unveiled, arts arose, civilization took place and the
progress of knowledge and philosophy gradually dispelled the gloom of ignorance
and barbarism. Government being settled, authority was given to laws and the
assemblies of the Fraternity acquired the patronage of the great and the good,
while the tenets of the profession were attended with unbounded utility.
Masonry is a science confined to no
particular country, but diffused over the whole terrestrial globe. Wherever arts
flourish, there it flourishes too. Add to this, that, by secret and inviolable
signs, carefully preserved among the Fraternity throughout the world, Masonry
becomes an universal language. Hence, many advantages are gained. The distant
Chinese, the wild Arab, and the American savage will embrace a brother Briton,
Frank, or German and will know, that, besides the common ties of humanity, there
is still a stronger obligation to induce him to kind and friendly offices. The
spirit of the fulminating priest will be tamed and a moral brother, though of a
different persuasion, engage his esteem. Thus, through the influence of Masonry,
which is reconcilable to the best policy, all those disputes, which embitter
life and sour the tempers of men, are avoided, while the common good, the
general design of the Craft, is zealously pursued.
From this view of the system, its utility must be sufficiently obvious. The
universal principles of the art unite men of the most opposite tenets, of the
most distant countries and of the most contradictory opinions in one
indissoluble bond of affection, so that in every nation a Mason finds a friend
and in every climate a home.
The Government of the Fraternity Explained.
The mode of government observed by the Fraternity will best explain the
importance and give the truest idea of the nature and design of the Masonic
There are several classes of Masons, under different
appellations. The privileges of these classes are distinct and particular means
are adopted to preserve those privileges to the just and meritorious of each
Honor and probity are recommendations to the first, class, in which the
practice of virtue is enforced and
the duties of morality inculcated, while the mind is prepared for regular and
social converse in the principles of knowledge and philosophy.
Diligence, assiduity, and application are qualifications for the second
class, in which an accurate elucidation of science, both in theory and practice,
is given. Here human reason is cultivated by a due exertion of the rational and
intellectual powers and faculties, nice and difficult theories are explained,
new discoveries produced and those already known beautifully embellished.
The third class is composed of those whom truth and fidelity have
distinguished who, when assaulted by threats and violence, after solicitation
and persuasion have failed, have evinced their firmness and integrity in
preserving inviolate the mysteries of the Order.
The fourth class consists of those who have perseveringly studied the
scientific branches of the art and exhibited proofs of their skill and
acquirements and who have, consequently, obtained the honor of this degree as a
reward of merit.
The fifth class consists of those who, having acquired a proficiency of
knowledge to become teachers, have been elected to preside over regularly
constituted bodies of Masons.
The sixth class consists of those who, having discharged the duties of the
Chair with honor and reputation, are acknowledged and recorded as Excellent
The seventh class consists of a select few, whom years and experience have
improved, and whom merit and abilities have entitled to preferment. With this
class the ancient landmarks of the Order are preserved; and from them we learn
and practice the necessary and instructive lessons, which at once dignify the
art and qualify its professors to
illustrate its excellence and utility.
This is the established mode of the Masonic government when the rules of the
system are observed. By this judicious arrangement, true friendship is
cultivated among different ranks and degrees of men, hospitality promoted,
industry rewarded and ingenuity encouraged.
Chapter - 3.
The Importance of the Secrets of Masonry
If the secrets of Masonry are replete with such advantages to mankind, it may
be asked, why are they not divulged for the general good of society? To which it
may be answered, were the privileges of Masonry to be indiscriminately bestowed,
the design of the institution would be subverted and, being familiar, like many
other important matters, would soon lose their value and sink into disregard.
It is a weakness in human nature, that men are generally more charmed with
novelty than the real worth or intrinsic value of things. Novelty influences all
our actions and determinations. What is new, or difficult in the acquisition,
however trifling or insignificant, readily captivates the imagination and
insures a temporary admiration; while what is familiar, or easily obtained,
however noble and eminent for its utility, is sure to be disregarded by the
giddy and unthinking.
Did the particular secrets or peculiar forms prevalent among Masons
constitute the essence of the art, it might be alleged that our amusements were
trifling and our ceremonies superficial. But this is not the case. Having their
use, they are preserved and, from the recollection of the lessons, they
inculcate, the well informed Mason derives instruction. Drawing them to a near
inspection, he views them through a proper medium; adverts to the circumstances
which gave them rise, dwells upon the tenets they convey
and, finding them replete with useful information, adopts them as keys to
the privileges of his art and prizes them as sacred. Thus convinced of their
propriety, he estimates the value from their utility.
Many persons are deluded by their vague supposition, that our mysteries are
merely nominal, that the practices established among us are frivolous and that
our ceremonies might be adopted or waived at pleasure. On this false foundation,
we have found them hurrying through all the degrees, without adverting to the
propriety of one step they pursue, or possessing a single qualification
requisite for advancement. Passing through the usual formalities, they have
accepted offices, and assumed the government of Lodges, equally unacquainted
with the rules of the institution they pretended to support, or the nature of
the trust reposed in them. The consequence is obvious; wherever such practices
have been allowed, anarchy and confusion have ensued, and the substance has been
lost in the shadow.
Were the brethren, who preside over Lodges properly instructed previous to
their appointment, and regularly apprised of the importance of their respective
offices, a general reformation would speedily take place. This would evince the
propriety of our mode of government and lead men to acknowledge that our honors
were deservedly conferred. The ancient consequence of the Order would be
restored, and the reputation of the
Society preserved. Such conduct alone can support our character.
Unless prudent actions shall distinguish our title to the honors of Masonry,
and regular deportment display the influence and utility of our rules, the world
in general will not easily be led to reconcile our proceedings with the tenets
of our profession.
Chapter – 4.
Masonry is an art equally useful and extensive. In every art there is a
mystery, which requires a gradual progression of knowledge to arrive at any
degree of perfection in it. Without much instruction and more exercise, no man
can be skillful in any art. In like manner, without an assiduous application to
the various subjects treated of in the different lectures of Masonry, no person
can be sufficiently acquainted with its true value.
It must not, however, be inferred from this remark, that persons who labor
under the disadvantages of a confined education, or whose sphere of life
requires a more intense application to business or study, are to be discouraged
in their endeavors to gain a knowledge of Masonry.
To qualify an individual to enjoy the benefits of the Society at large, or to
partake of its privileges, it is not absolutely necessary, that he should be
acquainted with all the intricate parts of the science. These are only intended
for the diligent and assiduous Mason, who may have leisure and opportunity to
indulge such pursuits.
Though some are more able than others, some more eminent, some more useful,
yet all, in their different spheres, may prove advantageous to the community. As
the nature of every man's profession will not admit of that leisure, which is
necessary to qualify him to become an expert Mason, it is highly proper that the
official duties of a Lodge should be executed by persons, whose education and
situation in life enable them to become adepts, as it must be allowed that all
who accept offices and exercise authority should be properly qualified to
discharge the task assigned them, with honor to themselves and credit to their