Webb's Masonic Monitor
Thomas Smith Webb,
Remarks on the Second
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
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
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
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
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.
The following is introduced during the
"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
"undiscovered country from whose bourn no
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
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
Masonry is considered under two
denominations - operative and speculative.
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.
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-
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
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
Here are introduced and explained emblems
PEACE, UNITY, AND PLENTY.
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
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
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
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.
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.
Which is plain and natural, is the most
ancient, and was invented by the Greeks.
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
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.
Bears a kind of mean proportion between
the more solid and delicate orders. Its
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 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
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.
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.
OF THE INVENTION OF ORDER IN
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.
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
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
exertion of our rational powers, our
happiness may be complete.
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
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.
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
These three senses, Hearing, Seeing,
and Feeling, are deemed peculiarly essential among Masons.
Is that sense by which we distinguish
odors, the various kinds of which convey
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
Teaches us to speak copiously and
fluently on any subject, not merely with propriety,
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.
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.
Teaches the powers and properties of
numbers, which is variously effected, by letters, tables, figures, and
instruments. By this art, reasons and demonstrations
are given for finding out any certain
number, whose relation or affinity to another is already known or
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
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
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.
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.
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
After this follows an emblem of PLENTY,
which is symbolically explained:
OF THE MORAL ADVANTAGES OF
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.
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
receives the sound from the
and the mysteries of Masonry are safely
lodged in the repository of
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.
At Initiation into the
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.
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
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-
strates the more important truths of
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
Such is the nature of your engagements as
a fellow-craft, and to these duties you are bound by the most sacred