Order of Lincoln
The President takes his station, gives *, and says:
President: We are about to open this Lodge of the Order of Lincoln. If any present are not entitled to remain, they will please retire. Mr. Vice-President, proceed to satisfy yourself that all present are members of the Order of Lincoln, and entitled to take part in this meeting.
Vice-President: The Messenger and Assistant Messenger will ascertain if all present are members of the Order of Lincoln, and entitled to take part in this meeting.
The Messenger will examine all on the right, and the Assistant Messenger all on the left of the President, securing from each, except the President and Vice-President, the Permanent Word and the S. A. Pass-Word. They will meet in front of the Vice-President, when the Assistant Messenger will communicate both Pass-Words to the Messenger; he in turn to the Vice-President, who says:
Vice-Pres.: Mr. President, all present are members of the Order of Lincoln, and entitled to take part in this meeting.
The President will then direct the Inner Guard to inform the Outer Guard that the Lodge is about to be opened, and that he admit no one until directed. When he has done this the Inner Guard will resume his station, and report:
Inner Guard: Mr. President, the Outer Guard has received your instructions.
Pres.: It is well. Mr. Ex-President, what is the first lesson taught by the Order of Lincoln to its members?
Ex-Pres.: The lesson of manhood, Mr. President.
Pres.: Mr. Vice-President, what is the second lesson taught?
Vice-Pres.: The lesson of Patriotism; the duty of man to his country, Mr. President.
Pres.: Chaplain, what is the third of its teachings?
Chaplain: The lesson of Charity, "that never faileth," but "suffereth long and is kind." The duty of man to his fellow man.
Pres.: Let all rise and give with me the Salutation Sign. I now declare this Lodge open in due form. Inner Guard, you will please inform the Outer Guard that this Lodge is now open.
The President seats the Lodge with one *.
President: I now declare this lodge open for the reception of candidates. Assistant Messenger, you will retire to the ante-room and ascertain if any are in waiting.
The Assistant Messenger will go to the center of the room, give the Salutation Sign and, on being recognized by the President, retire to the ante-room. Having taken the names of the candidates on a slip of paper, he will re-enter the lodge room, approach the altar, give the Salutation Sign, and report as follows:
Assistant Messenger: Mr. President, I find Mr, … waiting to be received in this Order.
Pres.: You will retire and return with the candidate.
The Assistant Messenger retires and, returning with the candidate to the lodge room door, gives one knock.
Messenger: Mr, President, there is a knock at the door,
Pres.: Ascertain the cause and report.
The Messenger leaves his station, goes to the door and opening it says:
Mes.: Who is it that desires admission to this room?
Assist. Mes.: The Assistant Messenger with a candidate, (or candidates) who seeks membership in our Order.
The Messenger closes the door and, turning to the President, says:
Mes.: The Assistant Messenger is without with a candidate who seeks to be admitted to membership in our Order,
Pres.: Let them be admitted.
The Assistant Messenger conducts the candidate into the room and halts. If there is but one, the Messenger will place himself at the candidate's left side, and the Assistant Messenger at the candidate's RIGHT side. If there are two, the Messenger will conduct one and the Assistant Messenger the other. If there are more than two, the Messenger will march ahead on the left side of the first, the others will be marshalled in twos, and the Assistant Messenger will march on the RIGHT side of the last one. In this order they will march around the room to the President's station, and there execute a "twos right" and face him. The Messenger then says:
Mes.: Mr. President, I present before you Mr. … or if there are more than one designating them
as 'these candidates' who seeks to be admitted into our Order.
Pres.: Mr. …, our Order finds its inspiration in the life of one of the most remarkable men the world has ever known. The place of Abraham Lincoln in the annals of history is unique. His right to be ranked among the great men of all time few will dispute. Among the historic characters of his own time he stands pre-eminent. That preeminence was attained by innate qualities, and not by adventitious aids. He started in life at the foot of the ladder. Unaided, he climbed to its top-most round. To every station to which destiny or duty called him, he filled the utmost measure of its requirements.
Every quality wdiich makes true manhood found expression in him. When his country's life trembled in the balance of fate, his great personality cast into the scale gave us victory. While he led his nation's host in the most desperate of struggles for national existence, the rage of battle left his great heart untinged with the bitterness of hate. As he headed his victorious legions in the last charge which should sweep disunion into oblivion, he, in earnestness and sincerity, exhorted his country-men to cherish "malice toward none" and to have "charity for all." He gave his life to his country and with his own blood helped to cement a great people into eternal unity. We would make his career an object lesson for all men. The object of our Order is to inspire in our members a noble ardor to emulate the example set by Lincoln, the Man, Lincoln, the Patriot, and Lincoln the broad-minded Humanitarian. As you pass through its ceremonies may you catch this true spirit; may your life be made stronger, better and purer because of it; may your example, like that of Lincoln, be an inspiration and a guide to your fellows.
Messenger, you will conduct the candidate to the ex-President for the lesson of Manhood.
This is done, and they halt and face that officer.
Messenger: Mr. Ex-President, I am directed by the President to present before you this candidate for the lesson of Manhood.
Ex-Pres.: What do you know of him?
Mes.: That he is a man of good repute among his fellow men.
Ex-Pres: You say he is a man of good repute.
That is well, if that reputation be also his true character.
Vice-President, what were some of the qualities that marked the true manhood of Abraham Lincoln?
Vice-Pres.: He was scrupulously honest, just and upright in all things.
Ex-Pres.: Chaplain, will you name some other expression of that manhood?
Chap.: He was truthful and sincere in his professions and practices; open, frank and candid; never treacherous or revengeful.
Ex-Pres.: Mr. President, will you suggest some additional characteristics of his perfect manhood?
Pres.: He was strong and fearless; standing ever and without wavering for that which he believed to be right.
Ex-Pres.: True. And he was generous and merciful while he was just; magnanimous as well as brave; gentle as well as strong; and faithful, even unto death. He ever stood for the right, as God gave him to see the right. Mr. …, one of the objects of our Order, and especially of this lesson, is to aid in the cultivation and development of true and honorable manhood. In seeking admission to its membership you seek to couple your name with that of the immortal Lincoln. The story of his life should be an inspiration to all men. Though dead, he speaks to us in tones our souls can understand across the abyss of death, and the stillness of the grave.
May you strive to attain to that manliness which was his, that the world may be better because you have lived.
At this point the Chaplain should repeat the following lines from Longfellow's "Psalm of Life."
"Lives of great men all remind us
We may make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Foot-prints on the sands of time.
Foot-prints that perhaps another,
Sailing o'er life's solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother
Seeing, may take heart again."
Ex-Pres.: Messenger, you will now conduct the candidate to the Vice-President for the lesson of Patriotism.
This is done, and they halt and face that officer.
Mes.: Mr. Vice-President, I am directed by the Ex-President to present before you this candidate for the lesson of Patriotism.
Vice-Pres.: You have Hstened with attention to the lesson of Manhood, as given you by the Ex-President.
The life of Lincoln is in itself an inspiration to the highest conception of true manhood. There was, however, another side to his life in which is revealed to us Lincoln the Patriot. As we study him from this point of view his figure grows greater and more heroic. From this phase of his character we would have you gather inspiration for the duty you owe to your country and your country's flag. Infinitely above the rights and liberties of the individual are the freedom and welfare of the whole people; and the true patriot is he who, clearly seeing his country's highest good, has the firmness to declare it, the courage to defend it, and the devotion to die for it. Sublime are the examples of this patriotism, that our country's history affords. Her future was consecrated and dedicated to freedom by our fathers.
Her place as peer of the best of all the nations of the earth was carved for her by men who feared no earthly power. The glory of her flag has been dearly bought by the life-blood of earth's bravest upon unnumbered fields. The past we cannot change. What has been done will endure until time shall end, but we can and must shape the future. Let our acts be worthy of the glorious past. Let duty to country always control our actions as partisans. Never allow the spirit of Patriotism to slumber, but ever remember that "Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty." Let us ever be ready and willing to give ourselves and all that we possess, if necessary, to save our country or to uphold her honor. Adopting the language of Lincoln upon the field of Gettysburg, let us now and here say: "It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us, that from those honored dead we take increased devotion to the cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion; that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that the nation shall, under God, have a new birth of freedom, and that Government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth."
"Among the nations bright beyond compare
What were our lives without thee?
What all our lives to save thee?
We reck not what we give thee.
We will not dare to doubt thee,
But ask whatever else, and we will dare."
All sing: My country, 'tis of thee
Sweet land of liberty,
Of thee I sing.
Land where my fathers died,
Land of the Pilgrim's pride,
From every mountain side
Let Freedom ring.
Vice-Pres.: Messenger, you will now conduct the candidate to the Chaplain for the lesson in Charity.
This is done, and they halt and face that officer.
Mes.: Chaplain, I am directed by the Vice-President to present this candidate before 3'ou for the lesson of Charity.
Chap.: The lesson of Charity embraces all that you have heard this night of duty to self and duty to country, for it stands for your duty to your fellowman. He will be true to self and true to his country in the highest sense who is true to his neighbor. Life is a solemn responsibility. We may not shirk it, if we would. The higher the position to which one has attained in life, the weightier is his responsibility.
The wider the circle of one's influence, the more of humanity stands within its marking. The loftier the eminence from which we look, the wider our plane of vision. We cannot narrow it, if we would. One may perchance close his eyes and say "I will not see," but still it is there, his duty to his fellow man, Charity. For nearly nineteen centuries has gone unchallenged as a definition of true, living Charity, the words of one who said:
"Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels and have not Charity, I am become as sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not Charity, it profiteth me nothing. Charity suffereth long and is kind; Charity envieth not; Charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth. And now abideth Faith, Hope, Charity, these three; but the greatest of these is Charity."
For it is the motive that stamps the act, and not the doing. The giving that finds acceptance is not of things perishable, but the giving of self. When with singleness of purpose and purity of heart man gives to humanity himself, he alone exemplifies the true conception of the Charity we would teach this night.
Hourly the great world stands at the door of self and selfishness and knocks, holding out suppliant hands, seeking for help; help to beat back the encroachments of the strong upon the weak; help to right the wrongs that need righting; help to make the most out of existence; help to make to cease "man's inhumanity to man," How fully did the life of Abraham Lincoln respond to these demands. Humanity in its humblest form had but to cry out to him, and he lent a listening ear. Statesmen, politicians and diplomats must stand aside and wait when'er a suppliant for mercy stood without his door. Great heart that thus did beat in sympathy with the lowliest. So in your relation to the members of this Order and to humanity at large we would have you highly resolve to banish from your heart any canker of selfishness, and to nourish in its stead that your aspiration expressed by him when he said: "I want it said of me by those who know me best, that I always plucked a thistle and planted a flower, when I thought a flower would grow."
You will place your hand upon your left breast, raise your right hand, and assent to, or dissent from the following obligation:
Declaring my belief in my accountability for my actions, I do in the presence of these witnesses promise and agree on my honor as a man, that I will ever be in all things faithful and loyal to the principles of the Order and obedient to all its laws, where they do not contravene my religious convictions. That I will endeavor to cultivate in my life all that is manly and true; to be just, truthful and sincere, generous, magnanimous, and merciful, and strong for the right as God gives me to see the right. That I will, as a patriot, love my country and my country's flag; that I will at all times be true and loyal to her. That I will cherish the memory of her founders; of those who in their lives and achievments have added to her glory; and of those who have offered their lives that she might live. And I now solemnly pledge all that I am, and all that I hope to be, even life itself, to my country's defence and the maintenance of her honor.
That I will not in any way seek to turn my connection with this Order to political advancement or party ends. That I will adopt and try to follow as the rule of my life, in my relations to the members of this Order and humanity at large, the Royal law, "Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them." And may the contempt of all honorable men ever follow me should I violate my vow.
Do you assent to this?
Messenger, you will conduct the candidate to the President for final instructions.
This is done, ard they halt and face that officer.
Mes.: Mr. President, I am directed by the Chaplain to present this candidate before you for final instruction.
Pres.: In the secret work of the Order we have a Salutation Sign, a Grip, a Permanent Word and a S. A. Pass-Word.
The Salutation Sign is given thus: …
The Grip is given thus: …
The Permanent Word is …, and is used at the inner door, when the Lodge is in session, and is also taken up, together with the S. A. Pass-Word at the opening of the Lodge.
The S. A. Pass-Word for the current term is …. It is used at the outer door.
The voting is viva voce by aye and no.
Admission to the lodge is gained by any alarm at the outer door. When the wicket is raised, you give the S. A. Pass-Word. This admits you to the ante-room. At the inner door you will give: … raps as follows instructs candidate by illustration.
When the wicket is opened you will give the permanent word of the Order. If you should not be recognized, or if seeking admission to a lodge other than your own, you would also give, in addition, your name, rank and the number of your lodge. The inner guard will report the same to the Vice-President, who will order you to be admitted, if he is satisfied. On being admitted to the lodge in session, you will approach the center of the room, face the President and give the Salutation Sign, who will acknowledge the same. Should you desire to retire before adjournment, you will give the same sign.
The gavel is used to aid in the government of the lodge. One rap calls to order, two raps calls up the officers, three raps calls up the lodge, and one rap seats them. Obedience is enjoined; disobedience is an offence, which will subject the offender to discipline, in the discretion of the Lodge.
Pres.: You have now become a member in good standing in the Order of Lincoln, and we welcome you into its ranks. The practical objects of the Order are to acquire the ownership and control of the places and articles which are of special interest from their relation to the life of the great American, whose name we bear; to authenticate and verify the words and incidents in his life; to erect and care for monuments and tablets to his memory; but especially to create and foster in our members the broad spirit of patriotism which dominated his life. Its objects are high and worthy, and must appeal to every man.
We would know more of him, of whom it has been said: "Born as lowly as the Son of God, reared in penury and squalor, with no gleam of light or fair surrounding, it was reserved for this strange being, late in life, without name or fame or seeming preparation, to be snatched from obscurity, raised to a supreme command at a supreme moment, and entrusted with the destiny of a nation. Where did Shakespeare get his genius? Where did Mozart get his music? Whose hand smote the lyre of the Scottish, plowman and stayed the life of the German priest?
God alone, and as surely as these were raised by God, inspired of God was Abraham Lincoln; and a thousand years hence no story, no tragedy, no epic poem will be filled with greater wonder than that which tells of his life and death. The martyr to liberty, the emancipator of a race, the saviour of the only free government among men may be buried from sight, but his deeds live in human gratitude forever."
"Great captains with their guns and drums,
Disturb our judgment for the hour,
But at last silence comes;
These are all gone, and, standing like a tower,
Our children shall behold his fame;
The kindly-earnest, brave, far-seeing man;
Sagacious, patient, dreading praise, not blame.
New birth of our new soil, the First American."
You will now take your seat.
I now declare this lodge closed for the reception of members, and open for the transaction of business in regular form.
President: We are about to close this Lodge.
What we have done here tonight will not only be written in the records of this Lodge, but on the tablets of our hearts, and on the great scroll of time, where it will endure through eternity. What has been done is done, and no power can blot out that eternal and enduring record.
Before parting, let us meditate together in silence upon our responsibility for our thoughts and acts.
The President calls up the Lodge with ***. All bow their heads and maintain absolute silence for at least a minute; then the President gives * and says:
Pres.: The Lodge is closed.