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PHILACTERIA

For such Gentlemen, as may be inclined to become Free-Masons,

GENTLEMEN,

IF the love of knowledge, interest, company, or dear curiosity, should take possession of any corner of your heads or hearts, and work you up to a desire of becoming free-masons; in such case, I beg leave to offer my service as your guide to the lodge door: this proposal, will not [I hope] be disagreeable to you, considering that I am the first person that ever offered assistance in this manner. But, before we set out, it is necessary that you carefully examine whether you are properly equipt for such an undertaking.

To this end, be it known to you gentlemen, that in every warranted lodge they have the following order, viz.

"Any person desirous of being made a free mason in the lodge, shall be proposed by a member thereof, that is to say, his name, age, description: of his person, title or trade and place of residence; that such proposal shall be made in lodge hours* at least one lodge-night before the initiation, in order, that the brethren may have sufficient time and opportunity to make a strict enquiry into the morals, character and circumstances of the candidate; and the brother that proposes him shall at

* That is from the vernal to the autumnal equinox between seven and ten o'clock in the evening, and from the autumnal to the vernal equinox following, between six and nine o'clock.

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the same time deposit such a sum [of the candidate's money] as the majority shall think sufficient. [not less than one crown] to insure the lodge that the candidate will attend according to the proposal. And if the lodge approve his person, age, character and circumstances, and therefore initiate him into the mystery, &c. he shall pay whatsoever sum the brethren shall think proper [not less than two guineas] and cloath the lodge* if required. But if the lodge think the candidate unworthy, and refuse to make him, his money shall be faithfully returned to him; but, in case the lodge approve his person and character, &c. and he refuse to be made, then he shall forfeit his money for the benefit of distressed free-masons. And it is hereby ordered and declared, that no person is capable of becoming a member of the lodge, but such as are of mature age, upright in body and limbs, free from bondage, has the senses of a man, and is endowed with an estate, office, trade, occupation, or some visible way of acquiring an honest and reputable livelihood, as becomes the members of this most ancient and honourable fraternity.†

By cloathing is meant white aprons and gloves, not only for every member in the lodge, but also for all their wives and sweethearts, if they require them.

To this I beg leave to add a word or two: The persons to whom I now speak, are the men of some education and an honest character, but in low circumstances; I say, let them first consider their income and families, and know, that free masonry requires ability, attendance, and a good appearance to maintain and support its ancient and honourable grandeur. Be it also remembered, that they have no title to the general charity, until they prove, that they have been formerly in reputable, at least, in tolerable cir

cumstances.

By this regulation you see that the free-masonr will make a strict, though private, enquiry into your character and ability: and therefore I advise you to be as circumspect on your side. Perhaps, you may think that it will be impossible for you to distinguish the good from bad, amongst a people. who make it their peculiar study to keep all things secret. Let not such a thought discourage you, when I assure you, that you have a faithful guide who has made free-masonry, both ancient and modern, his constant study for thirty three years past, and thinks it a duty incumbent on him to give you these instructions.

In the first place, when you intend to be made a free-mason, go with your friend to the lodge, and desire him to shew you the warrant or dispensation by which the lodge is held? that is to say, an instrument printed or written upon parchment, and signed by some noble grand master, his deputy and grand wardens, and grand secretary, and sealed with their grand lodge seal, &c. constituting and appointing particular persons [therein named] as master and wardens, with full power to congregate and hold a lodge at such a place, and therein make and admit free-masons, according to the most ancient and honorable custom of the royal craft, in all ages and nations throughout the. known world, with full power and authority to nominate, chuse and instal their successors, &c. When they produce this authority or warrant, then call for the bye-laws, and, having seriously perused them, consider whether your natural disposition will incline you to be conformable to them. Next call for the roll or list of the members, where you may find the names of some of your intimate and most esteemed friends, or perhaps the names of such [other of your acquaintances] as you would not chuse to associate with

If these researches prove agreeable, then you may venture to lay down the deposit money, [as it is called] but if they do not produce the grand-master's authority by warrant or dispensation, you are to look upon them not only as the magma of free masons, but the very dregs of mankind, who, under the cloak of brotherly love, are ever upon the watch for an opportunity to pick your pockets, and make you contemptible into the bargain.* Doubtless you will wonder how, or by what means, such abandoned wretches got admittance into a fraternity which boast of so much honour and virtue, as to rank themselves with kings and princes, especially if they adhere strictly to the foregoing regulation. To this I answer, that some of the Landlords,† where the lodges are held, do often recommend persons to be made free-masons, and that the lucrative view takes place [too often] where impartiality, honesty and virtue ought to be the points of sight. That others have stood the test of the strictest scrutiny, behaved well for many years, and afterwards fell into all manner of vices, which serves to shew the instability and weakness of mankind, and that all the doctrine and laws upon earth, without the grace of God, is not sufficient to make men wise or deter them

* For a confirmation hereof read the eighth regulation, (page 63) where it is ordered, that no perfon fo made, nor any concerned in making him, fhall be a grand officer, nor an officer of any particular lodge, nor fhall any fuch partake of the general charity, if they fhould come to want it.

+I do not charge landlords in general with such evil proeeedings, because I know many of them that abhor finifter views, and would facrifice all pecuniary intereft, before they would break through any of the facred rules or orders of the craft neverthelefs much reformation is ftill wanted in this quarter.

from evil. Nevertheless, in the system of free-masonry, there are many ways to mend the manners, polish the disposition, correct the judgment and refine the taste of a soul virtuously inclined. And as the number of good and wise free-masons have always greatly exceeded that of the foolish and wicked, it would be as absurd to condemn the whole for part, as it would be in the Jews to condemn Shem and Japhet for the curse brought upon Ham; or the Christians, to condemn the eleven apostles, because Judas turned traitor. But this is not altogether the business of a guide, therefore I beg leave to resume my proper character, and earnestly desire you to shun mason clubs, that is to say, lodges formed without authority, for you may rest fully assured, that such clubs are generally composed of excluded nfembers, or persons clandestinely made by them, and consequently incapable of giving proper instructions to their pupils. Or admit them capable of giving proper instructions, even then, the new brethren will be led in the dark, because it is the interest of the rebel party to conceal the essentials of the craft, which, if revealed, must of course prove themselves to be villians. Therefore, in order to avoid falling into such hands, I earnestly beg of you, to have no communication with any lodge or set of men under the denomination of a free masons lodge, until they produce the grand master's authority, signed and sealed as before mentioned. But having produced such authority, you may then enter in the name of God! where you will be acquainted with mysteries, which are not permitted to be revealed. by a guide, especially out of the lodge: And if after such entrance or admission you find that I have misled you, I do hereby give you full liberty to expose me as a blind guide, &c. but if experience teach you, that my instructions (as well as

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