Webb's Masonic Monitor

By Thomas Smith Webb,
1771-1819.

Edition 1865
 

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Remarks on the Second Degree

MASONRY is a progressive science, and is divided into two different classes or degrees, for the more regular advancement in the knowledge of its mysteries. According to the progress we make, we limit or extend our inquiries; and in proportion



 



 

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to our capacity, we attain to a less or greater degree of perfection.

Masonry includes within its circle almost every branch of polite learning. Under the vail of its mysteries is comprehended a regular system of science. Many of its illustrations, to the confined genius, may appear unimportant; but the man of more enlarged faculties will perceive them to be, in the highest degree, useful and interesting. To please the accomplished scholar and ingenious artist, Masonry is wisely planned, and, in the investigation of its latent doctrines, the philosopher and mathematician may experience equal delight and satisfaction.

To exhaust the various subjects of which it treats would transcend the powers of the brightest genius; still, however, nearer approaches to perfection may be made, and the man of wisdom will not check the progress of his abilities, though the task he attempts may at first seem insurmountable. Perseverance and application remove each difficulty as it occurs; every step he advances, new pleasures open to his view, and instruction of the noblest kind attends his researches. In the diligent pursuit of knowledge, the intellectual faculties are employed in promoting the glory of God and the good of man.

The first degree is well calculated to enforce the duties of morality, and imprint on the memory the noblest principles which can adorn the human mind. It is, therefore, the best introduction to the second degree, which not only extends the same plan, but comprehends a more diffusive system of knowledge. Here practice and theory join in qualifying the industrious Mason to share the pleasures which an



 



 

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advancement in the art must necessarily afford. Listening with attention to the wise opinions of experienced craftsmen on important subjects, he gradually familiarizes his mind to useful instruction, and is soon enabled to investigate truths of the utmost concern in the general transactions of life.

From this system proceeds a rational amusement; while the mental powers are fully employed, the judgment is properly exercised; a spirit of emulation prevails; and all are induced to vie, who shall most excel in promoting the valuable rules of the institution.

 

The First Section

 

Of the second degree accurately elucidates the mode of introduction into that particular class, and instructs the diligent craftsman how to proceed in the proper arrangement of the ceremonies used on the occasion. It qualifies him to judge of their importance, and convinces him of the necessity of strictly adhering to every established usage of the Order. Here he is entrusted with particular tests, to enable him to prove his title to the privileges of this degree, while satisfactory reasons are given for their origin. Many duties, which cement, in the firmest union, well-informed brethren, are illustrated in this section; and an opportunity is given to make such advances in Masonry as will always distinguish the abilities of those who have arrived at preferment. The knowledge of this section is absolutely necessary for all craftsmen, and, as it recapitulates the ceremony of initiation, and contains many other important particulars, no officer or member of a Lodge should be unacquainted with it.



 



 

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The following is introduced during the ceremonies:

"Thus he showed me; and, behold, the Lord stood upon a wall made by a plumbline, with a plumb-line in his hand. And the Lord said to me, Amos, what seest thou? And I said, A plumb-line. Then said the Lord, Behold, I will set a plumbline in the midst of my people Israel: I will not again pass by them any more." - Anmos, vii: 7, 8.

 

THE PLUMB, SQUARE, AND LEVEL,

 

Those noble and useful implements of a fellowcraft, are here introduced and moralized, and serve as a constant admonition to the practice of virtue and morality.

The plumb is an instrument made use of by operative Masons, to raise perpendiculars; the square, to square their work; and the level, to lay horizontals; but we, as Free and Accepted Masons, are taught to make use of them for more noble and glorious purposes; the plumb admonishes us to walk uprightly in our several stations before God and man, squaring our actions by the square of virtue, and remembering that we are traveling upon the level of time to that



 



 

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"undiscovered country from whose bourn no traveler returns."

 

The Second Section

 

Of this degree has recourse to the origin of the institution, and views Masonry under two denominations, operative and speculative. These are separately considered, and the principles on which both are founded particularly explained. Their affinity is pointed out by allegorical figures and typical representations. The period stipulated for rewarding merit is fixed, and the inimitable moral to which that circumstance alludes is explained; the creation of the world is described, and many particulars recited, all of which have been carefully preserved among Masons, and transmitted from one age to another by oral tradition.

Circumstances of great importance to the Fraternity are here particularized, and many traditional tenets and customs confirmed by sacred and profane record. The celestial and terrestrial globes are considered; and here the accomplished gentleman may display his talents to advantage, in the elucidation of the Orders of Architecture, the Senses of human nature, and the liberal Arts and Sciences, which are severally classed in a regular arrangement. In short, this section contains a store of valuable knowledge, founded on reason and sacred record, both entertaining and instructive.



 



 

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Masonry is considered under two denominations - operative and speculative.

 

OPERATIVE MASONRY.

 

By operative Masonry we allude to a proper application of the useful rules of architecture, whence a structure will derive figure, strength, and beauty, and whence will result a due proportion and a just correspondence in all its parts. It furnishes us with dwellings, and convenient shelters from the vicissitudes and inclemencies of the seasons; and, while it displays the effects of human wisdom, as well in the choice as in the arrangement of the sundry materials of which an edifice is composed, it demonstrates that a fund of science and industry is implanted in man for the best, most salutary, and beneficent purposes.

 

SPECULATIVE MASONRY.

 

By speculative Masonry we learn to subdue the passions, act upon the square, keep a tongue of good report, maintain secrecy, and practice charity. It is so far inter-



 



 

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woven with religion as to lay us under obligations to pay that rational homage to the Deity, which at once constitutes our duty and our happiness. It leads the contemplative to view with reverence and admiration the glorious works of the creation, and inspires him with the most exalted ideas of the perfections of his Divine Creator.

In six days God created the heavens and the earth, and rested upon the seventh day; the seventh, therefore, our ancient brethren consecrated as a day of rest from their labors, thereby enjoying frequent opportunities to contemplate the glorious works of the creation, and to adore their great Creator.

The doctrine of the spheres is included in the science of astronomy, and particularly considered in this section.

Here are introduced and explained emblems of

 

PEACE, UNITY, AND PLENTY.

 

 

B.    J.

 



 



 

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OF THE GLOBES.

 

THE globes are two artificial spherical bodies, on the convex surface of which are represented the countries, seas, and various parts of the earth, the face of the heavens, the planetary revolutions, and other particulars.

The sphere with the parts of the earth delineated on its surface is called the terrestrial globe; and that with the constellations and other heavenly bodies, the celestial globe.

 

THE USE OF THE GLOBES.

 

Their principal use, besides serving as maps to distinguish the outward parts of the earth, and the situation of the fixed stars, is to illustrate and explain the phenomena arising from the annual revolution and the diurnal rotation of the earth round its own axis. They are the noblest instruments for improving the mind, and giving it the most distinct idea of any problem or proposition, as well as enabling it to



 



 

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solve the same. Contemplating these bodies, we are inspired with a due reverence for the Deity and his works, and are induced to encourage the studies of astronomy, geography, navigation, and the arts dependent on them, by which society has been so much benefited.

The orders of architecture come under consideration in this section; a brief description of them may, therefore, not be improper.

 

OF ORDER IN ARCHITECTURE.

 

BY order in architecture is meant a system of all the members, proportions, and ornaments of columns and pilasters; or, it is a regular arrangement of the projecting parts of a building, which, united with those of a column, form a beautiful, perfect, and complete whole.

 

OF ITS ANTIQUITY.

 

From the first formation of society, order in architecture may be traced. When the rigor of seasons obliged men to contrive shelter from the inclemency of



 



 

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the weather, we learn that they first planted trees on end, and then laid others across to support a covering. The bands which connected those trees at top and bottom are said to have given rise to the idea of the base and capital of pillars; and from this simple hint originally proceeded the more improved art of architecture.

The five orders are thus classed: the Tuscan, Doric, Ionic, Corinthian, and Composite.

 

THE TUSCAN

 

Is the most simple and solid of the five orders. It was invented in Tuscany, whence it derives its name. Its column is seven diameters high; and its capital, base, and entablature have but few moldings. The simplicity of the construction of this column renders it eligible where ornament would be superfluous.

 

THE DORIC,

 

Which is plain and natural, is the most ancient, and was invented by the Greeks.



 



 

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Its column is eight diameters high, and has seldom any ornaments on base or capital, except moldings; though the frieze is distinguished by triglyphs and metopes, and triglyphs compose the ornaments of the frieze. The solid composition of this order gives it a preference in structures where strength and noble simplicity are chiefly required.

The Doric is the best proportioned of all the orders; the several parts of which it is composed are founded on the natural position of solid bodies. In its first invention it was more simple than in its present state. In after times, when it began to be adorned, it gained the name of Doric; for when it was constructed in its primitive and simple form, the name of Tuscan was conferred on it. Hence the Tuscan precedes the Doric in rank, on account of its resemblance to that pillar in its original state.

 

THE IONIC

 

Bears a kind of mean proportion between the more solid and delicate orders. Its



 



 

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column is nine diameters high; its capital is adorned with volutes, and its cornice has dentals. There is both delicacy and ingenuity displayed in this pillar, the invention of which is attributed to the Ionians, as the famous Temple of Diana at Ephesus was of this order. It is said to have been formed after the model of an agreeable young woman, of an elegant shape, dressed in her hair, as a contrast to the Doric order, which was formed after that of a strong, robust man.

 

THE CORINTHIAN,

 

The richest of the five orders, is deemed a masterpiece of art. Its column is ten diameters high, and its capital is adorned with two rows of leaves and eight volutes, which sustain the abacus. The frieze is ornamented with curious devices, the cornice with dentals and modillions. This order is used in stately and superb structures. It was invented at Corinth, by Callimachus, who is said to have taken the hint of the capital of this pillar from



 



 

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the following remarkable circumstance: Accidentally passing by the tomb of a young lady, he perceived a basket of toys, covered with a tile, placed over an acanthus root, having been left there by her nurse. As the branches grew up, they encompassed the basket, till, arriving at the tile, they met with an obstruction, and bent downward. Callimachus, struck with the object, set about imitating the figure: the base of the capital he made to represent the basket; the abacus the tile; and the volutes the bending leaves.

 

THE COMPOSITE

 

Is compounded of the other orders, and was contrived by the Romans. Its capital has the two rows of leaves of the Corinthian, and the volutes of the Ionic. Its column has the quarter-round, as the Tuscan and Doric order; is ten diameters high, and its cornice has dentals or simple modillions. This pillar is generally found in buildings where strength, elegance and beauty are displayed.



 



 

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OF THE INVENTION OF ORDER IN ARCHITECTURE.

 

The ancient and original orders of architecture, revered by Masons, are no more than three, the DORIC, IONIC, and CORINTHIAN, which were invented by the Greeks. To these the Romans have added two: the Tuscan, which they made plainer than the Doric; and the Composite, which was more ornamental, if not more beautiful, than the Corinthian. The first three orders alone, however, show invention and particular character, and essentially differ from each other; the two others have nothing but what is borrowed, and differ only accidentally: the Tuscan is the Doric in its earliest state; and the Composite is the Corinthian, enriched with the Ionic. To the Greeks, therefore, and not to the Romans, we are indebted for what is great, judicious, and distinct in architecture.



 



 

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OF THE FIVE SENSES

OF HUMAN NATURE.

 

AN analysis of the human faculties is next given in this section, in which the five external senses particularly claim attention; these are: hearing, seeing, feeling, smelling, and tasting.

 

HEARING

 

Is that sense by which we distinguish sounds, and are capable of enjoying all the agreeable charms of music. By it we are enabled to enjoy the pleasures of society, and reciprocally to communicate to each other our thoughts and intentions, our purposes and desires; while thus our reason is capable of exerting its utmost power and energy.

The wise and beneficent Author of Nature intended, by the formation of this sense, that we should be social creatures, and receive the greatest and most important part of our knowledge by the information of others. For these purposes we are endowed with hearing, that by a proper



 



 

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exertion of our rational powers, our happiness may be complete.

 

SEEING

 

Is that sense by which we distinguish objects, and in an instant of time, without change of place or situation, view armies in battle array, figures of the most stately structures, and all the agreeable variety displayed in the landscape of nature. By this sense we find our way in the pathless ocean, traverse the globe of earth, determine its figure and dimensions, and delineate any region or quarter of it. By it we measure the planetary orbs, and make new discoveries in the sphere of the fixed stars. Nay, more: by it we perceive the tempers and dispositions, the passions and affections of our fellow-creatures, when they wish most to conceal them; so that, though the tongue may be taught to lie and dissemble, the countenance would display the hypocrisy to the discerning eye. In fine, the rays of light, which administer to this sense, are the most astonishing



 



 

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parts of the animated creation, and render the eye a peculiar object of admiration.

Of all the faculties, sight is the noblest. The structure of the eye, and its appurtenances, evinces the admirable contrivance of Nature for performing all its various external and internal motions; while the variety displayed in the eyes of different animals, suited to their several ways of life, clearly demonstrates this organ to be the masterpiece of Nature's work.

 

FEELING

 

Is that sense by which we distinguish the different qualities of bodies; such as heat and cold, hardness and softness, roughness and smoothness, figure, solidity, motion, and extension.

These three senses, Hearing, Seeing, and Feeling, are deemed peculiarly essential among Masons.

 

SMELLING

 

Is that sense by which we distinguish odors, the various kinds of which convey



 



 

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different impressions to the mind. Animal and vegetable bodies, and, indeed, most other bodies, while exposed to the air, continually send forth effluvia of vast subtlety, as well in the state of life and growth, as in the state of fermentation and putrefaction. These effluvia, being drawn into the nostrils along with the air, are the means by which all bodies are smelled. Hence it is evident that there is a manifest appearance of design in the great Creator's having planted the organ of smell in the inside of that canal through which the air continually passes in respiration.

 

TASTING

 

Enables us to make a proper distinction in the choice of our food. The organ of this sense guards the entrance of the alimentary canal, as that of smelling guards the entrance of the canal for respiration. From the situation of both these organs it is plain that they were intended by Nature to distinguish wholesome food from



 



 

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that which is nauseous. Every thing that enters into the stomach must undergo the scrutiny of tasting; and by it we are capable of discerning the changes which the same body undergoes in the different compositions of art, cookery, chemistry, pharmacy, etc.

Smelling and tasting are inseparably connected, and it is by the unnatural kind of life men commonly lead in society, that these senses are rendered less fit to perform their natural offices.

On the mind all our knowledge must depend: what, therefore, can be a more proper subject for the investigation of Masons? By anatomical dissection and observation we become acquainted with the body; but it is by the anatomy of the mind alone we discover its powers and principles.

To sum up the whole of this transcendent measure of God's bounty to man, we shall add, that memory, imagination, taste, reasoning, moral perception, and all the active powers of the soul, present a vast



 



 

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and boundless field for philosophical disquisition, which far exceeds human inquiry, and are peculiar mysteries, known only to nature and to nature's God, to whom we and all are indebted for creation, preservation, and every blessing we enjoy.

 

OF THE SEVEN LIBERAL ARTS AND SCIENCES.

 

THE seven liberal ARTS and SCIENCES are next illustrated in this section: it may not, therefore, be improper to insert here a short explanation of them.

 

GRAMMAR

 

Teaches the proper arrangement of words, according to the idiom or dialect of any particular people; and that excellency of pronunciation which enables us to speak or write a language with accuracy, agreeably to reason and correct usage.

 

RHETORIC

 

Teaches us to speak copiously and fluently on any subject, not merely with propriety,



 



 

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but with all the advantages of force and elegance; wisely contriving to captivate the hearer by strength of argument and beauty of expression, whether it be to entreat or exhort, to admonish or applaud.

 

LOGIC

 

Teaches us to guide our reason discretionally in the general knowledge of things, and directs our inquiries after truth. It consists of a regular train of argument, whence we infer, deduce, and conclude, according to certain premises laid down, admitted, or granted; and in it are employed the faculties of conceiving, judging, reasoning, and disposing; all of which are naturally led on from one gradation to another, till the point in question is finally determined.

 

ARITHMETIC

 

Teaches the powers and properties of numbers, which is variously effected, by letters, tables, figures, and instruments. By this art, reasons and demonstrations



 



 

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are given for finding out any certain number, whose relation or affinity to another is already known or discovered.

 

GEOMETRY

 

Treats of the powers and properties of magnitudes in general, where length, breadth, and thickness are considered, from a point to a line, from a line to a superficies, and from a superficies to a solid.

A point is a dimensionless figure, or an indivisible part of space.

A line is a point continued, and a figure of one capacity, namely, length.

A superficies is a figure of two dimensions, namely, length and breadth.

A solid is a figure of three dimensions, namely, length, breadth, and thickness.

 

OF THE ADVANTAGES OF GEOMETRY.

 

By this science, the architect is enabled to construct his plans and execute his designs; the general to arrange his soldiers; the engineer to mark out ground



 



 

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for encampments; the geographer to give us the dimensions of the world, and all things therein contained; to delineate the extent of seas, and specify the divisions of empires, kingdoms, and provinces; by it, also, the astronomer is enabled to make his observations, and to fix the duration of times and seasons, years and cycles. In fine, geometry is the foundation of architecture, and the root of the mathematics.

 

MUSIC

 

Teaches the art of forming concords, so as to compose delightful harmony, by a mathematical and proportional arrangement of acute, grave, and mixed sounds. This art, by a series of experiments, is reduced to a demonstrative science, with respect to tones, and the intervals of sound. It inquires into the nature of concords and discords, and enables us to find out the proportion between them by numbers.



 



 

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ASTRONOMY

 

Is that Divine art by which we are taught to read the wisdom, strength, and beauty of the Almighty Creator, in those sacred pages, the celestial hemisphere. Assisted by astronomy, we can observe the motions, measure the distances, comprehend the magnitudes, and calculate the periods and eclipses of the heavenly bodies. By it we learn the use of the globes, the system of the world, and the preliminary law of nature. While we are employed in the study of this science, we must perceive unparalleled instances of wisdom and goodness, and, through the whole creation, trace the glorious Author by his works.

After this follows an emblem of PLENTY, which is symbolically explained:

CORN,
WINE,
OIL.

G

 



 



 

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OF THE MORAL ADVANTAGES OF GEOMETRY.

 

From this theme we proceed to illustrate the moral advantages of Geometry, a subject on which the following observations may not be unacceptable.

Geometry, the first and noblest of sciences, is the basis on which the superstructure of Masonry is erected. By geometry we may curiously trace nature, through het various windings, to her most concealed recesses. By it we discover the power, the wisdom, and the goodness of the Grand Artificer of the Universe, and view with delight the proportions which connect this vast machine. By it we discover how the planets move in their different orbits, and demonstrate their various revolutions. By it we account for the return of seasons, and the variety of scenes which each season displays to the discerning eye. Numberless worlds are around us, all framed by the same Divine Artist, which roll through the vast expanse, and are all conducted by the same unerring law of nature.



 



 

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A survey of nature, and the observation of her beautiful proportions, first determined man to imitate the Divine plan, and study symmetry and order. This gave rise to societies, and birth to every useful art. The architect began to design; and the plans which he laid down, being improved by experience and time, have produced works which are the admiration of every age.

The lapse of time, the ruthless hand of ignorance, and the devastations of war, have laid waste and destroyed many valuable monuments of antiquity on which the utmost exertions of human genius have been employed. Even the Temple of Solomon, so spacious and magnificent, and constructed by so many celebrated artists, escaped not the unsparing ravages of barbarous force. Freemasonry, notwithstanding, has still survived. The

ATTENTIVE EAR

receives the sound from the

INSTRUCTIVE TONGUE,



 



 

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and the mysteries of Masonry are safely lodged in the repository of

 

FAITHFUL BREASTS.

 

Tools and implements of architecture are selected by the Fraternity to imprint on the memory wise and serious truths; and thus, through a succession of ages, are transmitted unimpaired the excellent tenets of our institution.

Thus end the two sections of the second lecture; which, with the ceremony used at opening and closing the Lodge, comprehend the whole of the second degree of Masonry. This lecture contains a regular system of science, demonstrated on the clearest principles, and established on the firmest foundation.

 

CHARGE

At Initiation into the Second Degree.

 

BROTHER: Being advanced to the second degree of Masonry, we congratulate you on your preferment. The internal, and not the external, qualifications of a man are what Masonry regards. As you increase in knowledge, you will improve in social intercourse.



 



 

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It is unnecessary to recapitulate the duties which, as a Mason, you are bound to discharge, or enlarge on the necessity of a strict adherence to them, as your own experience must have established their value.

Our laws and regulations you are strenuously to support, and be always ready to assist in seeing them duly executed. You are not to palliate or aggravate the offenses of your brethren; but in the decision of every trespass against our rules you are to judge with candor, admonish with friendship, and reprehend with justice.

The study of the liberal arts, that valuable branch of education, which tends so effectually to polish and adorn the mind, is earnestly recommended to your consideration, especially the science of geometry, which is established as the basis of our art. Geometry or Masonry, originally synonymous terms, being of a Divine and moral nature, is enriched with the most useful knowledge: while it proves the wonderful properties of nature, it demon-



 



 

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strates the more important truths of morality.

Your past behavior and regular deportment have merited the honor which we have now conferred; and in your new character it is expected that you will conform to the principles of the Order, by steadily persevering in the practice of every commendable virtue.

Such is the nature of your engagements as a fellow-craft, and to these duties you are bound by the most sacred ties.



 

 

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