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From the earliest times the oral instructions of Freemasonry have been communicated in a catechetical form.

Each degree has its peculiar catechism, the knowledge of which constitutes what is called a bright Freemason.

The catechism, indeed, should be known to every Freemason, for every aspirant should be thoroughly instructed in that of the degree to which he has attained before he is permitted to make further progress.

The rule, however, is not rigidly observed; and many Freemasons, unfortunately, are very ignorant of all but the rudimentary parts of their catechism, which they derive only from hearing portions of it communicated at the opening and closing of the Lodge, or from careless Brethren freely using Masonic expressions publicly.

- Source: Mackey's Encyclopedia of Freemasonry

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