RITUAL. This word imports how a lodge ought to be opened and closed, and how an initiation, passing, or raising ought to be conducted; this may also be called the liturgy of the lodge. The ritual is not the same in all lodges, nay, there are nearly as many different rituals as there are Grand Lodges. Many of those rituals are of quite modern origin, especially that of the Grand Lodge Royal York, Berlin, and that of the Grand Lodge of Hamburgh. The English ritual is the most ancient, and extended itself into every part of the earth but was afterwards superseded in many places by the French, Swedish, and others. Those outward forms and cere monies, although they differ, yet they do not divide the brethren amongst themselves, but each lodge and its members is tolerant with the members of other lodges ; and all lodges are allowed to endeavour and strive to obtain their object by what way they think best. Neither is there any real difference whether some ceremonies are to be performed in this manner, or in that, according to the different rituals, or whether the officers are called this or that. Time and various circumstances have made
those alterations in the rituals principally to produce a more lasting impression upon the mind of the candidate at his initiation, and to advance with the improved spirit of the times. Fragments from some of the rituals have been published, especially from the old ones ; but there must be more than a dozen rituals published before an uninitiated person could learn how an initiation was con ducted, or how a lodge was held. The end to which the ritual leads us is the principal object, or the real secret of Freemasonry, and it would require an adept to discover this from any ritual. There only ought to be one ritual, as was the case in former ages ; and the unlucky word system ought never to have been introduced into the Craft.— Gadicke.