A prescribed mode or form of doing or saving anything. The word is derived from the technical language of the Roman law, where, after the old legal actions had been abolished, suits were practiced according to certain prescribed forms called formulae. Formulas in Freemasonry are very frequent. They are either oral or monitorial. Oral formulas are those that are employed in various parts of the ritual, such as the opening and closing of a Lodge, the investiture of a candidate, etc. From the fact of their oral transmission they are frequently corrupted or altered, which is one of the most prolific sources of nonconformity so often complained of by Masonic teachers. Monitorial formulas are those that are committed to writing, and are to be found in the various Monitors and Manuals. They are such as relate to public installations, to laying foundation stones, to dedications of halls, to funerals! etc. Their monitorial character ought to preserve them from change; but uniformity is not even here always attained, owing to the whims of the compilers of manuals or of monitors, who have often unnecessarily changed the form of words from the original standard.
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