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VARIATIONS IN THE RITUAL | Secret Societies

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A LECTURE ON THE VARIOUS – RITUALS OF FREEMASONRY FROM THE TENTH CENTURY

on Aug 5, 2008 in Masons

Delivered in the Witham Lodge, LincoIn, 1863, by
THE REV. G. OLIVER, D.D.
PAST D.P.G.M. FOR LINCOLNSHIRE;
Honorary Member of numerous Lodges and Literary Societies in various parts of the World.

 

BRETHREN,
It is rather late in life for me to appear before a Lodge of intelligent Masons in the capacity of a
lecturer; and it is only the respect I entertain for Masonry that could induce me to do so. And even
under the influence of that feeling, I should scarcely have ventured to solicit your attendance this
evening, if I had not been under an impres sion that I could tell you something which is not
generally known to the Fraternity. Indeed, I am satisfied, from the general tenor of my Masonic
correspondence, that there are many Brethren in England who would travel over half the island,
and think themselves well paid for their trouble, to acquire the information I am now about to
communicate to you; not only on the ancient Rituals, but on various signs, tokens; and
observances used by the
Fraternity ‘many years ago, and now entirely forgotten.
During the last century, several revisions of the Ritual took place, each being an improvement on
its predecessor, and all based on the primitive Masonic Lecture which was drawn up in the tenth
century, and attached to the York Constitutions. This Lecture, to which I shall first call your
attention, was in doggerel rhyme; a kind of composition which was very popular amongst our
Saxon ancestors in the time of Athelstane. About the latter end of the fourteenth century, it was
carefully translated from the Saxon for the use of the York Grand Lodge; and the MS. of that date
is now in the British Museum. This invaluable document contains copious rules and regulations
for the observance of the Craft, and is so curious, that I shall give you a specimen of it, to show
the unchangeable character of the Order. It thus describes the duty of.the Master:-
The first article of good Masonry
Shows that the Master must surely be

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