Masonicpaedia.org - maintained by Sri Brahadeeswara Lodge Masonic Research Circle Masonicpaedia.org - by Sri Brahadeeswara Lodge Masonic Research Circle

About Articles Restricted Archives Register Guest Book Mailing List Awards Links Contact Us
SITE SEARCH
Register  |  Login  [Current Access: General Articles only] Articles
Previous ArticleGo BottomNext Article

Article # 32
Oration to the initiate- Part-1

Author: Chevalier de Ramsay    Posted on: Tuesday, July 23, 2002
General Article | 0 comments  | Post your comment

Oration to the Initiate

Oration to the Initiate— Chevalier de Ramsay

[Chevalier de Ramsay was initiated in the London Horn Lodge in March 1730. While in Paris he was the Orator of the Le Louis d'Argent Lodge in Paris. He had delivered a classical speech of welcome to new initiates and the said much published speech later came to be known as Oration to the Initiate. The oration had considerable influence on French Freemasonry of the eighteenth century and was the forerunner of the Charge after Initiation. It was even forwarded to Cardinal de Fleury, Minister to Louis XV, on March 20, 1737.The Oration consists of two parts. The first part relates to the qualities essential in every candidate for initiation and the aims of the Order. The second part links the history of Freemasonry to that of the Cruisaders, which the research shows is not historically correct. We are posting the first part in this article – Moderator.]

THE QUALITIES REQUIRED TO BECOME A FREEMASON AND THE AIMS, THE ORDER HAS SET FOR ITSELF.

The noble ardour which you, gentlemen, evince to enter into the most noble and very illustrious Order of Freemasons, is a certain proof that you already possess all the qualities necessary to become members, that is, humanity, pure morals, inviolable secrecy, and a taste for the fine arts.

PHILANTHROPY, OR LOVE OF HUMANITY IN GENERAL

Lycurgus, Solon, Numa, and all political legislators have failed to make their institutions lasting. However wise their laws may have been, they have not been able to spread through all countries and ages. As they only kept in view victories and conquests, military violence, and the elevation of one people at the expense of another, they have not had the power to become universal, nor to make themselves acceptable to the taste, spirit, and interest of all nations. Philanthropy was not their basis. Patriotism badly understood and pushed to excess, often destroyed in these warrior republics love and humanity in general. Mankind is not essentially distinguished by the tongues spoken, the clothes worn, the lands occupied, or the dignities with which it is invested. THE WORLD IS NOTHING BUT A HUGE REPUBLIC, OF WHICH EVERY NATION IS A FAMILY, AND EVERY INDIVIDUAL A CHILD. Our Society was at the outset established to revive and spread these essential maxims borrowed from the nature of man. We desire to reunite all men of enlightened minds, gentle manners, and agreeable wit, not only by a love for the fine arts, but much more by the grand principles of virtue, science, and religion, where the interests of the Fraternity shall become those of the whole human race, whence all Nations shall be enabled to draw useful knowledge, and where the subjects of all Kingdoms shall learn to cherish one another without renouncing, their own country. Our ancestors, the Crusaders, gathered together from all parts of Christendom in the Holy Land, desired thus to reunite into one sole Fraternity the individuals of all nations. What obligations do we not owe to these superior men who, without gross selfish interests, without even listening to the inborn tendency to dominate, imagined such an institution, the sole aim of which is to unite minds and hearts in order to make them better, and form in the course of ages a spiritual empire where, without derogating from the various duties which different States exact, a new people shall be created, which, composed of many nations, shall in some sort cement them all into one by the tie of virtue and science.

SOUND MORALS

The second requisite of our Society is sound morals. The religious orders were established to make perfect Christians, military orders to inspire a love of true glory, and the Order of Freemasons, to make men lovable men, good citizens, good subjects, inviolable in their promises, faithful adorers of the God of Love, lovers rather of virtue than of reward.

Polliciti servare fidem, sanctumque vereri Numen amicito, mores, non munera amare.

(To faithfully keep a promise, to honour the holiness of friendship
To love virtue, not its reward).

Nevertheless, we do not confine ourselves to purely civic virtues. We have amongst us three kinds of brothers: Novices or Apprentices, Fellows or Professed Brothers, Masters or Perfected Brothers. To the first are explained the moral virtues; to the second the heroic virtues; to the last the Christian virtues; so that our institution embraces the whole philosophy of sentiment and the complete theology of the heart. This is why one of our worshipful brothers ( the Count de Tressan.) had said

Free-Maçons, Illustre grand Maître,
Recevez mes premiers transports,
Dans mon coeur l'ordre les fait naître;
Heureux ! si de nobles efforts
Me font mériter votre estime,
M'élèvent à ce vrai sublime,
A la première vérité,
A l'essence pure et divine,
De l'âme céleste origine,
Source de vie et de clarté

(Freemason, illustrious Grand Master,
Receive my first transports,
In my heart the Order has given them birth,
Happy I, if noble efforts
Cause me to merit your esteem
By elevating me to the sublime,
The prim‘val Truth,
To the Essence pure and divine,
The celestial Origin of the soul,
The Source of life and love.)

Because a sad, savage, and misanthropic Philosophy disgusts virtuous men, our ancestors, the Crusaders, wished to render it lovable by the attractions of innocent pleasures, agreeable music, pure joy, and moderate gaiety. Our festivals are not what the profane world and the ignorant vulgar imagine. All the vices of heart and soul are banished there, and irreligion, libertinage, incredulity, and debauch are proscribed. It is in that spirit that one of our Poets, Procope had expressed as follows in his “Apologie des Francs-Macons”

Nous suivons aujourd'hui des sentiers peu battus,
Nous cherchons à bâtir, et tous nos édifices
Sont ou des cachots pour les vices,
Ou des temples pour les vertus.

(Our banquets resemble those virtuous symposia of Horace, where the conversation only touched what could enlighten the soul discipline the heart, and inspire a taste for the true, the good, and the beautiful.)

O! noctes, coenaeque Deum...
Sermo oritur non de regnis domibusque alienis;
...sed quod magis ad nos
Pertinet, et nescire malum est, agitamus; utrumne
Divitis homines, an sint virtute beati;
Quidve ad amicitias usus rectumve trahat nos,
Et quae sit natura boni, summumque quid ejus.

(O nights, o divine repasts !
Without troubling ourselves with things that do not matter
But to dwell on those which concern us
... and it would be bad to ignore :
If wealth or virtue give happiness to Man
What use do friendship or virtue bring us
What is the nature of good, and what is the highest good.
Horace, Satire VI du Livre II )

Ici l'amour de tous les désirs se fortifie. Nous bannissons de nos Loges toute dispute, qui pourrait altérer la tranquilité de l'esprit, la douceur des moeurs, les sentimes de l'amitié, et cette harmonie parfaite qui ne se trouve que dans le retranchement de tous les excès indécens, et de toutes les passions discordantes

.

Thus the obligations imposed upon you by the Order, are to protect your brothers by your authority, to enlighten them by your knowledge, to edify them by your virtues, to succour them in their necessities, to sacrifice all personal resentment, and to strive after an that may contribute to the peace and unity of society.

THE SECRET

We have secrets; they are figurative signs and sacred words, composing a language sometimes mute, sometimes very eloquent, in order to communicate with one another at the greatest distance, and to recognise our brothers of whatsoever tongue. These were words of war which the Crusaders gave each other in order to guarantee them from the surprises of the Saracens, who often crept in amongst them to kill them. These signs and words recall the remembrance either of some part of our science, or of some moral virtue, or of some mystery of the faith. That has happened to us which never befell any former Society. Our Lodges have been established, and are spread in all civilised nations, and, nevertheless, among this numerous multitude of men never has a brother betrayed our secrets. Those natures most trivial, most indiscreet, least schooled to silence, learn this great art on entering our Society. Such is the power over all natures of the idea of a fraternal bond! This inviolable secret contributes powerfully to unite the subjects of all nations, and to render the communication of benefits easy and mutual between us. We have many examples in the annals of our Order. Our brothers, travelling in divers lands, have only needed to make themselves known in our Lodges in order to be there immediately overwhelmed by all kinds of succour, even in time of the most bloody wars, and illustrious prisoners have found brothers where they only expected to meet enemies. Should any fail in the solemn promises which bind us, you know, gentlemen, that the penalties which we impose upon him are remorse of conscience, shame at his perfidy, and exclusion from our Society, according to those beautiful lines of Horace -

Est et fideli tuta silentio
Merces; vetabo qui Cereris sacrum
Vulgarit arcanae, sub isdem
Sit tragibus, fragilemque mecum
Solvat phaselum;..

(Loyal silence is surely rewarded But he who reveals the sacred secret of Ceres Him I will not allow to dwell under my roof Or to share my fragile skiff Horace, Odes, Livre III)

Yes, sirs, the famous festivals of Ceres at Eleusis, of Isis in Egypt, of Minerva at Athens, of Urania amongst the Phenicians, and of Diana in Scythia were connected with ours. In those places mysteries were celebrated which concealed many vestiges of the ancient religion of Noah and the Patriarchs. They concluded with banquets and libations, and neither that intemperance nor excess were known into which the heathen gradually fell. The source of these infamies was the admission to the nocturnal assembIies of persons of both sexes in contravention of the primitive usages. It is in order to prevent similar abuses that women are excluded from our Order. We are not so unjust as to regard the fair sex as incapable of keeping a secret. But their presence might insensibly corrupt the purity of our maxims and manners.

Si le sexe est banni, qu'il n'en ait point d'alarmes,
Ce n'est point un outrage à sa fidélité;
Mais on craint que l'amour entrant avec ses charmes,
Ne produise l'oubli de la fraternité.
Noms de frère et d'ami seroient de faibles armes
Pour garantir les coeurs de la rivalité.

THE TASTE FOR SCIENCES AND THE LIBERAL ARTS

The fourth quality required in our Order is the taste for useful sciences and the liberal arts. Thus, the Order exacts of each of you to contribute, by his protection, liberality, or labour, to a vast work for which no academy can suffice, because all these societies being composed of a very small number of men, their work cannot embrace an object so extended.

All the Grand Masters in Germany, England, Italy, and elsewhere, exhort all the learned men and all the artisans of the Fraternity to unite to furnish the materials for a Universal Dictionary of the liberal arts and useful sciences, excepting only theology and politics. The work has already been commenced in London, and by means of the union of our brothers it may be carried to a conclusion in a few years. Not only are technical words and their etymology explained, but the history of each art and science, its principles and operations, are described. By this means the lights of all nations will be united in one single work, which will be a universal library of all that is beautiful, great, luminous, solid, and useful in all the sciences and in all noble arts. This work will augment in each century, according to the increase of knowledge, and it will spread emulation and the taste for things of beauty and utility over all of Europe.



Click Here To Post Your Comment

Previous ArticleGo TopNext Article

© 2002-2017. MasonicPaedia.org. All Rights Reserved
Site designed by NetGross