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Hours, Masonic

The language of Freemasonry, in reference to the hours of labor and refreshment, is altogether symbolical. The old lectures contained a tradition that our ancient Brethren wrought six days in the week and twelve hours in the day, being called off regularly at the hour of high twelve from labor to refreshment. In the French and German systems, the Craft were said to be called from labor at low twelve, or midnight, which is therefore the supposed or fictitious time at which a French or German Lodge is closed. But in the English and American systems the Craft are supposed to be called off at high twelve, and when called on again the time for recommencing labor is said to be "one hour past high twelve": all this refers to Ancient Craft Freemasonry. In some of the advanced Degrees the hours designated for labor or rest are different. So, too, in the different Rites: thus, in the system of Zinnendorf, it is said that there are in a Mason's Lodge five hours, namely, twelve struck, noon, high noon, midnight, and high midnight; which are thus explained: Twelve struck, is before the Lodge is opened and after it is closed; noon is when the Master is about to open the Lodge; high noon, when it is duly open; midnight, when the Master is about to close it; and high midnight, when it is closed and the uninitiated are permitted to draw near.

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