The ritual is undoubtedly not to be neglected, inasmuch as it is the medium through which we convey our lessons of symbolism, and by means of which we separate ourselves from the rest of the world, and obtain the means of mutual recognition. But it is after all, the weakest part of Masonry.

The ritual alone will no more make a true Masons than the manual exercise will man a true soldier. Too many Masons assume a high position among the teachers of the Order, simply because they can open and close a lodge, or confer a degree, with a strict adherence to, or a ready renunciation of, the exact phraseology of the ritual, and yet who, taken from the beaten track of old routine, are as completely ignorant of the history, the nature and design, and the true symbolism of the Order, as if they had never entered within its portals.

Masonry has its science and its literature, and to these the attention of the Masonic student should be directed. The ritual is its alphabet, and a knowledge of it is indispensable to a full comprehension of its language; but he who has gone no farther than the alphabet, however competent he may be to instruct others in the same rudiments, can hardly discharge the duty of a teacher of the sciences.”

– extract from Miscellanea Latomorum, London: Feb – March 1914, p. 95-96; originally printed in Masonic Record of Western India, 1865.