Grand United Order of True Reformers
Ritual of the Sixth, or Reformersí Degree
Conductor examines the members and reports.
W. G. M.: The members will rise while the D. G. M. opens the Lodge in the Sixth Degree.
D. G. M.: By the desire of W. G. M., I declare the Lodge opened in the Sixth Degree, for the purpose of conferring its honors.
W. G. M.: I declare it so opened.
A. C. gives six loud knocks upon the door.
D. G. M.: Who comes there?
A. C.: Those of Samaria, who come to perform vows and enter into a more solemn covenant with us.
C.: W. G. M, those of Samaria, come to perform vows, and enter into a more solemn covenant.
They enter with the C. A curtain being drawn across the Lodge room, where a skeleton figure hangs upon the wall, or a transparency with a skeleton figure on it, the room being darkened; as the C. enters he says:
C.: Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return; a man that is born of a woman, is of a few days and full of trouble. He cometh forth like a flower and is cut down, he fleeth also like a shadow and continueth not.
W. G. M.: When the ear heard me, then it blessed me, because I delivered the poor that cried, and the fatherless, and him that hath none to help him, the blessing of him that was ready to perish came upon me, and I caused the widow's heart to sing for joy. I put on righteousness and it clothed me; I was eyes to the blind, and feet was I to the lame. I was a father to the poor, and the cause which I knew not I searched out.
D. G. M.: This figure, my friends, points us to the grave, the place prepared for all the living; it is designed to remind us of the frailties of human nature, and we, though now in the vigor of life, must soon die, and our bodies become food for worms, It is a fit emblem of man's mortality. The language to which you have been listening is the language of the dead to the living, It comes to us as it were from the grave. We shall do well to take heed to its teachings.
At this point of the ceremony, a person placed in a corner of the room for the express purpose, gives a sudden groan.
C.: Hark ! there is some one in distress, let us look after him; it is our duty to find him out, and if possible, relieve his necessities.
The C. leads on the candidates till they come to the person, when the C. says :
C.: Here he is, poor fellow, he seems to be much injured, and in great distress; assist him to rise.
The candidates take hold of the person and assist him up.
C.: We have here an asylum for the poor and afflicted, and we will conduct this stranger to this asylum where his wants will be relieved.
C.: This is the place where all our solemn records are kept, and where we vow before God and each other to be faithful to the cause of suffering humanity. The person sitting at the end of the room in a robe and cap, is our Grand Master, and those are our brethren and sisters. Let us take a walk around the room and see what further progress we can make in these solemn rites and ceremonies.
And as they proceed the W. G. M. reads: Whoso stoppeth his ears at the cry of the poor, he also shall cry himself and not be heard.
He that oppresseth the poor to increase his riches, and he that giveth to the rich shall surely come to want.
D. G. M.: Rob not the poor because he is poor, neither oppress the afflicted in the gate, for the Lord will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of those that spoil them.
Better is the poor that walketh in his uprightness, than he that is perverse in his ways, though he be rich. If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink, for thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head, and the Lord shall reward thee.
D. G. M.: He that giveth to the poor shall not lack, but he that hideth his eyes shall have many a curse; withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it.
C. leads the candidates on to the chair of the W. G. M. before whom a looking-glass is placed and covered, and when the C. comes around again to the chair of the W. G. M. the covering is taken off, and the candidates are required to look in the glass, and while they thus look the W. G. M. reads:
W. G. M.: Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves, for if any he a hearer of the word and not a doer also, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass, for he beholdeth himself and goeth away, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.
The Lodge responds: May we never forget the lesson.
C. conducts the candidates once around the room, while the Lodge sings:
How helpless guilty nature lies,
Unconscious of its load;
The heart unchanged can never rise
To happiness and God.
The will perverse, the passions blind,
In paths of ruin stray;
Reason debased can never find,
The safe, the narrow way.
Can aught beneath a power divine,
The stubborn will subdue;
'Tis thine, Almighty Saviour, Thine,
To form the heart anew.
W. G. M.: Brothers, (or sisters,) we are now approaching the most solemn part of this important Degree, for we are about to enter into a solemn covenant with each other, to aid each other in time of affliction and distress; to comfort by our sympathies the widow and orphan in their affliction, and to be ever ready to engage in acts of benevolence and mercy, a duty Brother (or sister,) as well as a privilege, which I trust you will cheerfully improve. O, now joyful the task, when the heart is inspired by the spirit of Him who spent his life in doing good. How much like the Samaritan in the Scriptures. How readily did he engage in works of benevolence to his fellow men. May that same spirit inspire us in this noble work. You will now receive the obligation, thus: Bring both hands together upon the breast, interlocking the fingers, thus:
In the presence of the members of the Reformers' Degree here assembled, I, ..., do solemnly pledge myself to keep inviolate all the secrets of this Degree. I will, as far as possible, obey its instructions, and live according to its precepts. I further promise, that neither pride nor worldly ambition shall prevent me from rendering those acts of kindness to a poor and afflicted brother or sister, which their necessities require, if within my power so to do; and that I will, as far as possible, overlook the foibles and seeming inconsistences of my fellow brother or sister, knowing that I may have in me that which is equally difficult to overcome. All this I promise to perform with a full determination to keep my pledge unbroken.
W. G. M.: Brother, (or sister,) pride and worldly ambition are among the fruitful sources of the hardness of heart which prevails to such au extent among the rich and fashionable of this world. A few there are, it is true, who have trained their minds to the virtue of benevolence and mercy. But to be a True Reformer in deed and in truth the heart must be imbued with the spirit of kindness and forbearance. The disposition to forgive an injury must have a lodgment in the affections; and the desire to alleviate the suffering of our fellow men must be the crowning desire of our hearts. We are to mortify or subdue those feelings which have hitherto refused to yield to these holy principles, and humble ourselves to the severest tests of kindness and charity.
You will now be conducted to the D. G. M. for further instructions.
C. conducts the candidates around the room to the chair of the D. G. M. while the Lodge sings:
Strong in the Lord of host,
And in his mighty power,
Who in the strength of Jesus trusts,
Is more than conqueror.
That having all things done,
And all your conflicts past;
Ye may behold your victory won,
And stand complete at last.
D. G. M.: Brother, (or sister:) the cause of humanity, the cause of the poor, and the cause of temperance are among the most noble that ever inspired the heart of the philanthropist; and among those named is the cause of temperance. This glorious cause has always wrought wonders in our land, under the providence of God it has prevented the earth from ingulfing thousands of our fellowcitizens in untimely and inglorious graves. It has prevented many a delicate female from dreary want, and from suffering widowhood. It has kept many innocent ones from poor-houses and prevented crime, which would have plunged the wretched offenders into gloomy prisons, or exposed them on the hangman's disgraceful stage. But, my brother, (or sisters,) though this great cause has spread its hallowed influence over the length and breadth of our otherwise happy land: yet the work is not complete; it is, as it were, but just begun. The evils of intemperance are still great and threatening, and boast of herculean strength; the foes to temperance meet us everywhere, and the signs of invitation are conspicuous at every corner, amid the light of reason and reformation. The deluding and bewitching poison is spread abroad, and murder, plagues and woe are sold by wholesale and retail, and thousands are actively engaged by day and night throughout our land with their hands defiled with this unhallowed traffic. Thousands of parents still weep over their prodigal children; widows are seen in sable mourning around the tombs of husbands who have fallen by this fell destroyer; and children are crying for bread because their fathers or mothers are drunkards. It is indeed a sad picture to look upon, and should wake up the dormant feelings of every benevolent heart to action. And now, my brethren, (or sisters,) in conclusion, allow me to state that it was to dry up this occasion of liquid fire, and turn the hearts of the people from intemperance and crime to virtue and sobriety; to wipe away the tear from the widow's eye; to succor the orphan children; to restore the lost husband to his broken hearted wife, and the lost wife to her husband; and to cheer the desolate hearth where the little ones were wont to gather around and to comfort their weeping mother, that this Association was instituted, and we depend on you as a part of our organization, to help forward this glorious cause.
Be faithful to the cause that you have this night espoused, and the blessings of those who are ready to perish shall rest upon you.
The C. will present you again to the W. G. M. for further instructions.
The C. leads the candidates to the chair of the W. G. M.
W. G. M.: There are six signs to this Degree:
The countersign is given thus, by raising the right hand to the shoulder twice and let it fall to your side, and at the same time using these words, "It is finished."
The token is the word "Mystic.''
The grip is a grasp of the whole hand, and it is the grip of all grips.
The word is the word "Diety," and is to be given as in all other degrees.
Grand hailing sign op distress.
W. G. M.: In the name of the Grand Fountain, I declare you fully instructed in the Sixth Degree. You will salute the chairs and be seated.
The members will rise while the D. G. M. closes the Lodge in this Degree.
D. G. M.: By the desire of the W. G. Master, I declare this Lodge closed in the Sixth Degree.
W. G. M.: I declare it so closed.
Conductor examines the members and reports.