Square & Compasses

Emulation -- Preface to the Eighth Edition

Those responsible for the conducting of Emulation Lodge of Improvement have, from its earliest days, taken the view that their duty was to ensure the practice of an approved Ritual form without permitting alteration. While no claim could possibly be made that the present Emulation Ritual is in the exact verbal form practised one hundred and seventy years ago, the Ceremonies for use in those days had been specifically approved by Grand Lodge. This seems to the Committee to place the authority for deliberate alteration with Grand Lodge alone. It may well be thought that our ritual procedures should, periodically, be brought up to date. But this poses the question as to whom licence is to be given to make alterations when the original approval came from Grand Lodge -- even if it is not certain what, precisely, was approved. For this reason the Committee has always considered that, as a matter of trust, it should maintain without alteration the complete ritual forms handed down to it by its predecessors, and that it is outside its authority to make any alterations unless officially sanctioned by resolution or acceptance of Grand lodge itself. Grand Lodge, obviously, can alter and adjust a form of ritual which derives its authority from having been originally approved by Grand Lodge.

On 11th June 1986, Grand Lodge resolved "that all references to physical penalties be omitted from the obligations taken by Candidates in the threee Degrees and by a Master Elect at his Installation but retained elsewhere in the respective ceremonies".

That resolution is mandatory in its terms, and represents the most momentous single change made to our ceremonies since they were approved by Grand Lodge following the Union in 1813. As a consequence, a new edition of the Emulation Ritual Book has become necessary less than a year after the publication of the Seventh Edition. The Committee has, however, in accordance with its established principle stated above, kept to a minimum the changes to the ritual wording necessary to comply with the method of procedure recommended by the Board of General Purposes in its Report to Grand Lodge on 11 June 1986.

I would like to reiterate that the book is compiled and sponsored by the Committee of the Emulation Lodge of Improvement to provide an authentic record of the Emulation Ritual, and although it is intended to be useful to officers learning the work, it can in no sense take the place of attendance at Lodge of Instruction where the procedures can be thoroughly rehearsed.

The Committee wishes to thank all those who, over the 17 years that this sponsored Ritual Book has been published, have commented on it and, wherever practical, the suggestions made have been implemented. The fact that this book has gone through so many editions demonstrates that there is still a need for it and the Committee is happy to present this new edition in its revised form.

The Committee wishes to stress again that it is concerned with a book which sets out Emulation Working and that alone. The Appendix contains a number of additional and alternative forms which may be found useful; they are included by arrangement with the publishers but are not in any way a part of the Emulation Working for which the Committee is responsible.

Alan S. Trapnell, PJGW
Senior Member of the Committee of the Emulation Lodge of Improvement

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