Independent Order of Workingmen
Ritual of the Second, or Master Workmanís Degree


1876


The candidate is blindfolded, the lights turned down low, to represent a night scene. Everything must be perfectly still in the Lodge. The Outside Guardian gives four light raps on the door; the Inside Guardian returns four light raps, opens the wicket, and in a rather low but distinct tone of voice says:
I.G.:
Brother Outside Guardian, what of the night?
O.G.:
The night weareth away, and the hour for the Masters to assemble to transact the usual morning business will soon arrive.
I.G. opens door:
Whom have you there?
O.G.:
A brother in waiting, who has been elected to the Masterís Degree.
I.G.:
Can you vouch for the brother, and that he has been lawfully elected to the Masterís Degree.
O.G.:
I can, and do vouch for him that he has been lawfully elected.
I.G.:
I will place him in charge of our Worthy Conductor, who will bring him into the Lodge where he can wait for the brothers to assemble.
The Conductor takes the candidate in charge and walks near the side of the hall, and comes in contact with the obstructions.
CON.:
We must pass to the right around the obstruction, for this is the passage to the Masterís Lodge.
Turns and walks onward, and again finds obstacles in the path.
CON.:
Let us again turn to the right and then we can pass onward to the Lodge. Be patient, my brother, and of good courage; we shall yet overcome all these obstacles and arrive in good time at the Lodge.
Passes on around the hall, and comes at last to the east side of the altar, and are seated with their faces to the west.
CON.:
We will await here the arrival of the brothers of the Lodge.
The brothers soon commence to come in, one after another, and seat themselves in silence. The president comes in and takes his chair. Then the blind is raised a little and a little light turned on in the east; the blind raised a little more and more light turned on, increasing fastest in the east.
P.:
Brothers, the morning dawns, the hour for business has arrived. Let us first ask the Divine favour to rest upon us this day.
The Conductor instructs the candidate to kneel at the altar and kneels with him. The Lordís Prayer is then repeated by the Chaplain; then the lights are all turned on, and the candidate is fully restored to light.
P.:
Brothers, what business for this Lodge before engaging in our individual duties for the day?
CON.:
Worthy President, here is in waiting a brother workman who desires to advance to the Masterís Degree.
P.:
Let the brother present his credentials to show that he is entitled to this Degree, and worthy and well qualified.
Conductor advances to the Presidentís chair and gives him the papers.
CON.:
These are the brotherís testimonials and recommendations for the rank of Master Workman.
P. reads:
"This is to certify that brother Ö is a faithful member of Ö Lodge, and has attained to that knowledge and skill in workmanship that we can recommend him to the brothers of the Masterís Degree as being qualified for a Master Workman, and has been duly elected for the same."
P.:
Brothers, are you satisfied with the certificate and recommendations this brother brings to you?
All:
We are.
P.:
Brother Ö, I am hereby authorized to proceed to instruct you in the work of the Masterís Degree, but before this can be done you will be required to take a solemn obligation, which all have taken who have passed before you. Are you willing to take such an obligation?
CAN.:
I am.
P.:
Brother Conductor, you will take the brother to the altar, where he will receive the obligation from our Worthy Vice President.
CON.:
Worthy Vice President, by order of our President, I present you this brother for obligation.
V.P.:
My brother, you will please kneel at the altar upon your right knee, and, with your right hand on the Holy Bible, you will repeat after me the obligation of all Master Workmen of this Order.
I, Ö, of my own free will and accord, in the presence of God, and the Master Workmen here present, do solemnly promise, declare, and say, that I will ever conceal and never reveal, any portion of the work of this Lodge of Master Workmen, which has been or may be, communicated to me, unless it be a brother of this Degree, or until I shall be permitted to do so, in the lawful discharge of official duties, in this Degree. I further promise, to be true and faithful, to all brothers of this Degree; that I will not wrong a brother, or any member of his family knowingly, or see him or them wronged, if in my power to prevent the same; I furthermore promise, that I will strive to promote Honesty, Sobriety and Virtue among all the members of this Order; that I will assist all worthy brothers, in need of distress, if in my power to do so.
All this I promise to do upon my most sacred honor, so help me God and keep me steadfast. Amen.
All repeat:
Amen.
V.P.: Conductor, you will take the brother to the chair of our Worthy President for further instruction.
CON.:
Worthy President, I again present this brother for further instruction.
P.:
My brother, you have voluntarily taken upon yourself a solemn obligation; one more binding than a mere promise, more solemn than the oath of our judiciary courts, and taken under circumstances calculated to appeal to every sense of manhood and gentlemanly integrity to keep inviolate. I will now instruct you in the signs peculiar to this Degree. 1. Enter Sign; 2. Salutation; 3. Grip; 4. Pass-word.
The Conductor will invest the brother with the proper regalia, and present him to our Worthy Chaplain for further instruction.
While passing to Chaplain, sing ode.
CON.:
Worthy Chaplain, by order of our Worthy President, I present our brother for further instruction.
CHAP.:
My brother, we now greet you as a member of the Masterís Degree of the Independent Order of Workingmen. With each step of advancement in this Order does your duties and responsibilities increase. We trust you now feel pleasure in assuming these additional obligations. Then, as you go forth to labor, in the discharge of your duties, the heart will be happy, and the burden will be light. The ceremonies observed in advancing you to this Degree of the Master Workman are to teach you important lessons and truths. The darkness surrounding you illustrates the mental condition of a large number of the working classes in our country, who do not discover their need of improvement, or the means to obtain for themselves or their fellows, the knowledge and practice of those virtues which give individual and social happiness to a life of toil.
The dawning light will illustrate the truth that light is now breaking upon the minds of some who are now making progress un the pathway that leads onward and upward to knowledge, that means of improving the mind and heart. The obstacles encountered in your pathway to the Masterís Lodge will teach you that the road to eminence in all departments of skilful workmanship is a toilsome way, and many difficulties and obstacles must be encountered and overcome; feeling confidence in your guide and reliance upon him you came safely through.
This is but an example of faith, and emblematical of a stronger and higher feeling of reliance and confidence in a Supreme Being. We are constantly passing blindfold over obstacles and dangers in our journey of life, yet we confidently believe we shall ultimately arrive at the bright and happy abode of the Paradise above. Therefore difficulties should never discourage us in so noble a work as the elevation of men who have long toiled by day and by night upon the great and manifold improvements of our country. Let us labor on with enlarged ideas and strong purpose, until our beloved country shall be restored to primitive virtue and integrity, and while with just pride we may view the result of skilful labor in works of art and science, we shall ever look with greater wonder upon the workmanship of the Great Master Builder of the Universe, knowing that the heavens declare his glory, and the firmament showeth forth his handiwork. My brother, may you be faithful in the good work in which you with us have angaged, and when your toil is ended, your labor finished, may you hear the welcome plaudit, "Well done good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord."
The Conductor will present the brother to our Worthy President.
CON.:
Worthy President, by order of our Worthy Chaplain, I again present you brother Ö.
P.:
My brother, the instruction in the Master Workmanís Degree is finished. It only remains for you to retire with our Conductor to the ante-room where he will inform you how to work your way into the Lodge of this Degree.


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