The Charge In The Entered Apprentice Degree
As presented at the Senior Warden’s pedestal.
It commences as follows:-
Brother, as you have passed through the ceremony of your initiation, let me congratulate you on being admitted a member of our ancient and honourable institution.
Ancient no doubt it is, as having subsisted from time immemorial, and honourable it must be acknowledged to be, as by a natural tendency it conduces to make those so, who are obedient to its precepts. Indeed, no institution can boast a more solid foundation than that on which Freemasonry rests – the practice of every moral and social virtue. And to so high an eminence has it’s credit been advanced that in every age monarchs themselves have been promoters of the art, have not thought it derogatory to their dignity to exchange the Scepter for the Trowel, have patronized our mysteries and joined in our assemblies.
This is reasonably self-explanatory, in that it clearly states Freemasonry is a great leveller, and social or economic status outside of the Craft is totally irrelevant within it.
Note that the picture in the Lodge room is that of King George VI & that in the small Lodge Room is that of King George V. both of whom were Grand Masters of the United Grand Lodge of England. To my knowledge neither the Duke of Edinburgh OR Prince Charles are members of the craft.
As a Freemason, let me recommend to your serious contemplation the V of the SL, charging you to consider it as the unerring standard of truth and justice and to regulate your actions by the divine precepts it contains. Therein, you will be taught the important duties you owe to God, to your neighbour and yourself. To God, by never mentioning HIS name but with that awe and reverence which are due from the creature to his Creator, by imploring HIS aid in all your lawful undertakings, and by looking up to HIM in every emergency for comfort and support. To your neighbour, by acting with him on the square, by rendering him every kind office which justice or mercy may require, by relieving his necessities and soothing his afflictions, and by doing to him as in similar cases you would wish him to do to you. And to yourself, by such a prudent and well-regulated course of discipline as may best conduce you to the preservation of your corporeal and mental faculties to their fullest energy, thereby enabling you to exert those talents wherewith GOD has blessed you, as well to HIS glory as the welfare of your fellow creatures.
Think about the Ten Commandments as related to Moses, and adopted by the Christian Faith, and the Golden Rule, which knows no denomination. I am certain that all faiths have similar admonitions regarding our dealings with our fellow man. Corporeal & mental faculties ==Means to be of sound body and mind.
The wording may appear old and stuffy however, when you take your time and examine what is being said and how it is being said, it becomes truly beautiful. Were it not so, how could it have lasted all these years without change.
As a citizen of the world, I am to enjoin you to be exemplary in the discharge of your civil duties, by never proposing or at all countenancing any act that may have a tendency to subvert the peace and good order of society; by paying due obedience to the laws of any state which may, for a time, become the place of your residence or afford you it’s protection, and above all, by never losing sight of the allegiance due to the sovereign of your native land, ever remembering that Nature has implanted in your breast a sacred and indissoluble attachment to the country whence you derived your birth and infant nature.
When I read this I am reminded that Freemasonry is NON POLITICAL and will not comment on any political matter NOR takes part in a political debate at ANY level.
Having said that, it does not mean that we as individuals are not permitted to participate in matters of a political nature BUT we may not to do so in our capacity as a Freemason.
What do we mean by that?. Simply that we are not permitted to voice our views having identified ourselves as Freemasons NOR to speak as a representative or spokesperson on behalf of Freemasonry and there are no exceptions to that rule.
As an individual, let me recommend the practice of every domestic as well as public virtue, let Prudence direct you, Temperance chasten you, Fortitude support you, and Justice be the guide to all your actions. Be especially careful to maintain in their fullest splendour those truly Masonic ornaments, which have already been amply illustrated; Benevolence & Charity.
This I believe to be self explanatory and prompts us all to live a truly balanced life with the care & welfare of our fellow creatures ever in our minds and actions.
Still, as a Freemason, there are other excellences of character to which your attention may be peculiarly and forcibly directed; amongst the foremost of these are Secrecy, Fidelity and Obedience.
Secrecy consists in an inviolable adherence to the Obligation you have entered into—never improperly to disclose any of those Masonic secrets which have now been, or may at any future period, be entrusted to your keeping, and cautiously to avoid all occasions which may inadvertently lead you to do so.
What is a secret?. To me a Masonic secret is limited to those SIGNS; TOKENS & WORDS by which we identify each other by night as well as by day.
Your Fidelity must be exemplified by a strict observance of the Constitutions of the Fraternity, by adhering to the ancient Landmarks of the Order, by never attempting to extort or otherwise unduly obtain the secrets of a superior Degree, and refraining from recommending anyone to a participation of our secrets unless you have strong grounds to believe that by a similar fidelity he will ultimately reflect honour on your choice
Totally self explanatory, however, The Grand Lodge of British Columbia & Yukon does not list “Landmarks” in its Constitution and that could be a subject for a further issue.
Your Obedience must be proved by a strict observance of our laws and regulations, by a prompt attention to all signs and summonses, by modest and correct demeanour in the Lodge, by abstaining from every topic of political or religious discussion, by a ready acquiescence in all votes and resolutions duly passed by a majority of the Brethren, and by a perfect submission to the Master and his Wardens whilst acting in the discharge of their respective offices.
We are NOT a Democratic body and the Worshipful Master, by Masonic Law, has the final say. We in Victoria Columbia #1 hold General Purpose Meetings at least 4 times per year and, in that all members of the Lodge are entitled to attend and voice their opinions, the Master has the benefit of knowing the wishes of the Brethren of the Lodge. Obviously this can only happen if the Brethren exercise this opportunity to make their opinions known.
And as a last recommendation, let me exhort you to dedicate yourself to such pursuits as may at once enable you to be respectable in life, useful to mankind, and an ornament to the society of which you have today become a member; to study more especially such of the Liberal Arts and Sciences as may lie within the compass of you attainment, and without neglecting the ordinary duties of your station, to endeavour to make a daily advancement in Masonic knowledge.
The advancement of Masonic Knowledge is and always has been a challenge, in that it is always difficult to know where to go, what to read, who to ask etc.
It was with these challenges in mind that I decided to create “The Educator” and in that way be able to share my own personal research with others.
In meeting this challenge I have, over the years, accumulated my own personal library on Masonry & related topics and recommend that process to students of the Craft. In that way you can always have ready access to quality information.
Have a Wonderful day & God Bless Norm