Duncan's Masonic Ritual and Monitor

by Malcolm C. Duncan

[1866]


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ROYAL ARCH, OR SEVENTH DEGREE.

THE Royal Arch Degree seems not to have been known to what are called modern Masons as late as about 1750. That portion of the old Freemasons who met at the famous Apple-Tree Tavern, in 1717, and formed the society upon somewhat new principles, that is, so far as to admit into fellowship, indiscriminately, respectable individuals of all professions, were denominated, by the non-adherents to this plan, modern Masons. This affair caused the division of the Masonic Society into two parties, which continued till 1813, nearly one hundred years. To the rivalry occasioned by this schism, Masonry, it is presumed, is mainly indebted for the great celebrity it has obtained in the world.

It appears that the non-conformists to this new scheme, who considered themselves the orthodox party, by rummaging among the old records of the Order, first discovered the Royal Arch Degree, which had probably lain dormant for centuries; during which time, it would appear, the society had been confined almost exclusively to operative masons; who continued the ceremonies only of the apprentice, fellow-craft or journeyman, and master mason, these being deemed appropriate to their occupation.

A society of Royal Arch Masons is called a Chapter, and not a Lodge, as in the previous Degrees. All Chapters of Royal Arch Masons are "dedicated to Zerubbabel," and the symbolic color of this Degree is scarlet. The several Degrees of Mark Master, Present or Past Master, and Most Excellent Master, are given only under the sanction of the Royal Arch Chapter; and a Master Mason who applies for these Degrees usually enters the Chapter also, and sometimes the four degrees are given at once. If he takes the four, he is only balloted for once, viz.: in the Mark Master's Degree. Candidates receiving this Degree are said to be "exalted to the most sublime Degree of the Royal Arch."

It is a point of the Royal Arch Degree not to assist, or be

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present, at the conferring of this Degree upon more or less than three candidates at one time. If there are not three candidates present, one or two companions, as the case may be, volunteer to represent candidates, so as to make the requisite number, or a "team," as it is technically styled, and accompany the candidate or candidates through all the stages of exaltation.

At the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, three Most Excellent Masters were carried captives to Babylon, where they remained seventy years, and were liberated by Cyrus, King of Persia. They returned to Jerusalem to assist in rebuilding the Temple, after travelling over rugged roads on foot. They arrived at the outer veil of the Tabernacle, which was erected near the ruins of the Temple. This Tabernacle was an oblong square, enclosed by four veils, or curtains, and divided into separate apartments by four cross veils, including the west end veil or entrance. The veils were parted in the centre, and guarded by four guards, with drawn swords.

At the east end of the Tabernacle, Haggai, Joshua, and Zerubbabel usually sat in grand council, to examine all who wished to be employed in the noble and glorious work of rebuilding the Temple. Since that time, every Chapter of Royal Arch Masons, if properly formed, represents the Tabernacle erected by our ancient brethren, near the ruins of King Solomon's Temple, and our engraving shows the interior arrangement of a Chapter of the Royal Arch Degree.  (See Fig. 31.)

These three Most Excellent Masters, on their arrival, were introduced to the Grand Council, and employed, furnished with tools, and directed to commence their labors at the northeast corner of the ruins of the old Temple, and to clear away and remove the rubbish, in order to lay the foundation of the new. The Grand Council also gave them strict orders to preserve whatever should fall in their way (such as specimens of ancient architecture, &c.,) and bring it up for their inspection.

Among the discoveries made by the three Masters was a secret vault in which they found treasures of great benefit to the craft, &c. The ceremony of exalting companions to this Degree, is a recapitulation of the adventures of these three Most Excellent Masters, and hence it is that three candidates are necessary for an initiation.

 

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The Grand Council consists of the Most Excellent High Priest, King, and Holy Scribe. The High Priest is dressed in a white robe, with a breastplate of cut glass, consisting of twelve pieces, an apron, and a mitre. The king wears a scarlet robe, apron, and crown. The mitre and crown are generally made of pasteboard; sometimes they are made of most splendid materials, gold and silver velvet; but these are kept for public occasions. The mitre has the words, "Holiness to the Lord," in gold letters, across the forehead. The scribe wears a purple robe, apron, and turban.

A Chapter of Royal Arch Masons consists of nine officers, as follows:

1. High Priest, or Master. (Joshua.)

2. King, or Senior Grand Warden. (Zerubbabel.)

3. Scribe, or Junior Grand Warden. (Haggai.)

4. Captain of the Host (as Marshal, or Master of Ceremonies). or Senior Deacon.

5. Principal Sojourner, who represents the Junior Deacon.

6. Royal Arch Captain, who represents the Master Overseer.

7. Grand Master of the Third Veil, or Senior Overseer.

8. Grand Master of the Second Veil, or Junior Overseer.

9. Grand Master of the First Veil.

In addition to these, three other officers are usually present, viz., Secretary, a Treasurer, and a Tyler, or sentinel.

The officers and companions of the Chapter being stationed as in the engraving (see Fig. 31), the High Priest proceeds to business as follows:

High Priest--Companions, I am about to open a Chapter of Royal Arch Masons in this place, for the dispatch of business, and will thank you for your attention and assistance. If there is any person present who is not a companion Royal Arch Mason, he is requested to retire from the room.

After waiting for any stranger or brother not of this degree to retire, he gives one rap with the gavel, which brings up the Captain of the Host.

High Priest--Companion Captain, the first care of congregated Masons?

 


FIG. 31. ROYAL ARCH CHAPTER.

1. Treasurer. 2. Secretary. 3. King. 4. High Priest. 5. Scribe. 6. Captain of the Host. 7. Principal Sojourner. 8. Royal Arch Captain. 9. Grand Master of the Third Veil. 10. Grand Master of the Second Veil, 11. Grand Master of the First Veil. 12. Burning Bush. 13. Altar.

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Captain (placing the palm of his right hand to his forehead, as if to shade his eyes.)--To see the Tabernacle duly guarded, Most Excellent. (For this sign, see Fig. 36.)

High Priest--Attend to that part of your duty, and inform the Guard that we are about to open a Chapter of Royal Arch Masons in this place for the dispatch of business; direct him to guard accordingly.

The Captain of the Host stations the Guard at the outside of the door, gives him his orders, closes the door, and makes an alarm of three times three (• • •  • • •  • • •) on the inside, to ascertain that the Guard is on his post; the Guard answers by nine corresponding raps. The Captain of the Host then gives one, and Guard does the same. The Captain then returns to his post.

Captain (to High Priest.)--The Chapter is duly guarded, Most Excellent.

High Priest--How guarded?

Captain--By a companion of this Degree at the outer avenue, with a drawn sword in his hand.

High Priest--His duty there?

Captain--To observe the approach of all cowans and eavesdroppers, and see that none pass or repass but such as are duly qualified.

High Priest--Companions, we will be clothed.

The companions place the furniture of the Chapter in proper order, clothe with their various jewels, robes, and badges of this Degree, and draw aside the veils, which brings the hall into one apartment, and resume their seats. The High Priest then gives two raps with the gavel, which brings all the officers on their feet, while the following lecture is given, or questions asked, by the High Priest, and answered by the Captain of the Host.

High Priest--Companion Captain of the Host, are you a Royal Arch Mason?

Captain--I am, that I am.

High Priest--How shall I know you to be a Royal Arch Mason?

Captain--By three times three.

High Priest--Where were you made a Royal Arch Mason?

Captain--In a just and legally constituted Chapter of Royal Arch Masons, consisting of Most Excellent High Priest, King and Scribe, Captain of the Host, Principal Sojourner, Royal Arch Captain, and the three Grand Masters of the veils, assembled in a room or place representing the Tabernacle erected by our ancient brethren near the ruins of King Solomon's Temple.

High Priest--Where is the High Priest stationed, and what are his duties?

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Captain--He is stationed in the sanctum sanctorum. His duty, with the King and Scribe, is to sit in the Grand Council, to form plans, and give directions to the workmen.

High Priest--The King's station and duty?

Captain--Station, at the right hand of the High Priest; duty, to aid him by his advice and counsel, and in his absence to preside.

High Priest--The Scribe's station and duty?

Captain--Station, at the left hand of the High Priest; duty, to assist him and the King in the discharge of their duties, and to preside in their absence.

High Priest--The Captain of the Host's station and duty?

Captain--Station, at the right hand in front of Grand Council; duty, to receive orders, and see them duly executed.

High Priest--The Principal Sojourner's station and duty?

Captain--Station, at the left hand in front of Grand Council; duty, to bring the blind by a way that they know not; to lead them in paths they have not known; to make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight.

High Priest--The Royal Arch Captain's station and duty?

Captain--Station, at the inner veil, or entrance to the sanctum sanctorum; duty, to guard the same, and see that none pass but such as are duly qualified, and have the proper pass-words, and the signet of truth.

High Priest--What is the color of his banner?

Captain--White, and is emblematical of that purity of heart and rectitude of conduct which are essential to obtain admission into the divine sanctum sanctorum above.

High Priest--The stations and duties of the three Grand Masters of the veils?

Captain--Station, at the entrance of their respective veils; duty, to guard the same, and see that none pass but such as are duly qualified, and in possession of the proper pass-words and tokens.

High Priest--What are the colors of their banners?

Captain--That of the third, scarlet; which is emblematical of fervency and zeal, and the appropriate color of the Royal Arch Degree. It admonishes us to be fervent in the exercise of our devotions to God, and zealous in our endeavors to promote the happiness of men. Of the second, purple; which being produced by a due mixture of blue and scarlet, the former of which is the characteristic color of the symbolic, or three first Degrees, it teaches us to cultivate and improve that spirit of harmony between the brethren of the symbolic Degrees and the companions of the sublime Degrees, which should ever distinguish the members

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of a society founded upon the principles of everlasting truth and universal philanthropy. Of the first, blue; the peculiar color of the three ancient, or symbolical Degrees. It is an emblem of universal friendship and benevolence, and instructs us that in the mind of a Mason those virtues should be as expansive as the blue arch of heaven itself.

High Priest--The Treasurer's station and duty?

Captain--Station, at the right hand in rear of the Captain of the Host; his duty, to keep a just and regular account of all the property and funds of the Chapter placed in his hands, and exhibit them to the Chapter when called upon for that purpose.

High Priest--The Secretary's place in the Chapter?

Captain--Station, at the left in rear of the Principal Sojourner; his duty, to issue the orders and notifications of his superior officers, record the proceedings of the Chapter proper to be written, to receive all moneys due the Chapter, and pay them over to the Treasurer.

High Priest--Guard's place and duty?

Captain--His station is at the outer avenue of the Chapter; his duty, to guard against the approach of cowans and eaves-droppers, and suffer none to pass or repass, but such as are duly qualified.

High Priest (addressing the Chapter.)--Companions, you will assemble round the altar, for the purpose of assisting me in opening a Chapter of Royal Arch Masons.

All the members present (except the Grand Council) approach the altar, and, forming a circle, kneel, each upon his right knee. An opening in the circle is left for the High Priest, the King, and the Scribe. The High Priest rises and reads from the Second Epistle of Paul to the Thessalonians, chap. iii., vs. 6 to 18:--

"Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which ye have received of us. For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us; for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you; neither did we eat any man's bread for naught; but wrought with labor and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you; not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an example unto you to follow us," &c.

After the reading, the High Priest, the King, and the Scribe approach the altar and take their places in the circle, kneeling with the rest, the King on the right, and the Scribe on the left of the High Priest. Each one now crosses his arms and gives his right hand to his left-hand companion, and his left hand to his right-hand companion. This constitutes the living arch under

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which the Grand Omnific Royal Arch Word must be given, but it must also be given by three times three, as hereafter explained.

The High Priest now whispers in the King's ear the pass-word RABBONI.

The King whispers it to the companion on his right, and he to the next one, and so on until it comes round to the Scribe, who whispers it to the High Priest.

High Priest--The word is right.

The companions now all balance three times three with their arms; that is, they raise their arms and let them fall upon their knees three times in concert--after a short pause, three times more, and after another pause, three times more. They then rise and give all the signs, from the Entered Apprentice up to this Degree, after which they join in squads of three for giving the Grand Omnific Royal Arch Word, as follows:

Each one takes hold with his right hand of the right wrist of his companion on the left, and with his left hand takes hold of the left wrist of his companion on the right. Each one then places his right foot forward with the hollow in front, so that the toe touches the heel of his companion on the right. This is called "three times three;" that is, three right feet forming a triangle, three left hands forming a triangle, and three right hands forming a triangle. In this position each repeats the following:

 

As we three did agree,
In peace, love, and unity,
The Sacred Word to keep,
So we three do agree,
In peace, love, and unity,
The Sacred Word to search;
Until we three,
Or three such as we, shall agree
To close this Royal Arch.

 

They then balance three times three, bringing the right band with some violence down upon the left. The right hands are then raised above their heads, and the words, Jah-buh-lun, Jehovah, G-o-d, are given at low breath, each companion pronouncing the syllables or letters alternately, as follows:

 

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FIG. 32 THREE TIMES THREE.
FIG. 32 THREE TIMES THREE.

 

1st. 2nd. 3d.
Jah buh lun.
  Jah buh
lun    
    Jah
buh lun.  
Je ho vah.
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  Je ho
vah    
    Je
ho vah.  
G o d.
  G o
d    
  G  
o d.   

After the word is thus given, the High Priest inquires if the word is right.

Each squad replies that it is right.

The officers and companions resume their seats. The High Priest raps three times with his gavel, the King repeats it, as also the Scribes; this is done three times (• • •  • • •  • • •).

High Priest (rising.)--I now declare this Chapter of Royal Arch Masons opened in due and ancient form; and I hereby forbid all improper conduct whereby the peace and harmony of this Chapter may be disturbed, under no less penalties than the by-laws, or a majority of the Chapter, may see fit to inflict.

High Priest (to Captain of the Host.)--Companion Captain, please to inform the Guard that the Chapter is open.

The Captain proceeds on this duty, while the Secretary reads the minutes of the last meeting. Should there be any candidates to be balloted for, this is the first business in order. If one or more candidates are waiting without, the Principal Sojourner goes to the preparation-room to get them ready. If there are not three of them, a companion or companions volunteer to make the trio, as not less than three can perform the ceremonies. The three take off their coats, when the Principal Sojourner ties bandages over their eyes, and, taking a long rope, coils it seven times round the body of each, leaving about three feet slack between.

 

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[paragraph continues] He then proceeds with them to the door of the Chapter and gives seven distinct knocks.

Captain (rising.)--There is an alarm at the door, Most Excellent.

High Priest--Attend to the cause of it, and see who comes there.

The Captain of the Host goes to the door and raps on it nine times. The Principal Sojourner, outside, answers this by three times three, and then gives one rap, which the Captain answers by one, and then partly opens the door.

Captain--Who comes there?

Principal Sojourner--Three worthy brothers, who have been initiated, passed, and raised to the sublime Degree of Master Masons, advanced to the honorary Degree of Mark Master, presided as Master in the chair, and, at the completion and dedication of the Temple, were received and acknowledged Most Excellent Masters; and now wish for further light in Masonry, by being exalted to the august sublime Degree of the Holy Royal Arch.

Captain (to candidates.)--Is it of your own free-will and accord you make this request?

First Candidate (prompted.)--It is.

Captain (to Principal Sojourner.)--Are they duly and truly prepared?

Principal Sojourner--They are.

Captain--Have they made suitable proficiency in the preceding Degrees?

Principal Sojourner--They have.

Captain--By what further right or benefit do they expect to gain admission to this Chapter of Royal Arch Masons?

Principal Sojourner--By the benefit of a pass.

Captain--Have they that pass?

Principal Sojourner--They have it not; but I have it for them.

Captain--Advance and give it.

Principal Sojourner whispers in his ear the word RABBONI.

Captain--The word is right; you will wait a time, until the Most Excellent High Priest be informed of their request, and his answer returned.

The Captain of the Host closes the door, and returns to his Place in the Chapter, gives the alarm, which is answered by the High Priest, who asks the same questions, and receives the same answers from the Captain of the Host, as were asked and given at the door.

High Priest--Since this is the case, you will let them enter this Chapter of Royal Arch Masons, and be received under a giving Arch.

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The Captain of the Host goes to the door, opens it, and says;

Captain--It is our Most Excellent High Priest's order, that the candidates enter this Chapter of Royal Arch Masons, and be received under a Living Arch.

Principal Sojourner (leading the candidates by the rope.)--Companions, you will follow me. (Leads them in.) I will bring the blind by a way they know not: I will lead them in paths they have not known; I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and will 'not forsake them Stoop low, brethren: he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

Meantime the brethren, or companions of the Chapter, form two lines facing each other, from the door to the centre of the room, and each one takes hold and locks his fingers with those of his opposite companion. As the candidates pass under this Living Arch, each couple place their knuckles upon the necks and backs of the candidates, kneading them pretty hard sometimes, and prostrating them on the floor. Thus they have a good deal of difficulty in forcing their way through. When they do get through, they are first conducted round the Chapter, and then to the altar, where they must kneel to receive the obligation.

Principal Sojourner (to the candidates.)--Brethren, as you advance in Masonry, your obligation becomes more binding. You are now kneeling at the altar for the seventh time; and about to take a solemn oath, or obligation, which, like your former obligations, is not to interfere with the duty you owe to your country, or Maker. If you are willing to proceed, you will repeat your Christian and surname, and say after me:

I, Peter Gabe, of my own free-will and accord, in presence of Almighty God, and this Chapter of Royal Arch Masons, erected to God, and dedicated to Zerubbabel, do hereby and hereon most solemnly and sincerely promise and swear, in addition to my former obligations, that I will not reveal the secrets of this Degree to any of an inferior Degree, nor to any being in the known world, except it be to a true and lawful Companion Royal Arch Mason, or within the body of a just and legally constituted Chapter of such and never unto him, or them, whom I shall hear so to be, but to him and them only whom I shall find so to be, after strict trial and due examination, or lawful information given.

I furthermore promise and swear, that I will not wrong this Chapter of Royal Arch Masons, or a companion of this Degree, out of the value of any thing, myself, nor suffer it to be done by others, if in my power to prevent it.

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I furthermore promise and swear, that I will not reveal the key to the ineffable characters of this Degree, nor retain it in my possession, but will destroy it whenever it comes to my sight.

I furthermore promise and swear, that I will not speak the Grand Omnific Royal Arch Word, which I shall hereafter receive, in any manner, except in that in which I shall receive it, which will be in the presence of three Companions Royal Arch Masons, myself making one of the number; and then by three times three, under a Living Arch, and at low breath.

I furthermore promise and swear, that I will not be at the exaltation of candidates in a clandestine Chapter, nor converse upon the secrets of this Degree with a clandestine-made Mason, or with one who has been expelled or suspended, while under that sentence.

I furthermore promise and swear, that I will not assist or be present at the exaltation of a candidate to this Degree, who has not received the Degrees of Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft, Master Mason, Mark Master, Past Master, and Most Excellent Master.

I furthermore promise and swear, that I will not be at the exaltation of more nor less than three candidates at one and the same time.

I furthermore promise and swear, that I will not be at the forming or opening of a Chapter of Royal Arch Masons unless there be present nine Royal Arch Masons, myself making one of that number.

I furthermore promise and swear, that I will not speak evil of a Companion Royal Arch Mason, behind his back nor before his face, but will apprise him of all approaching danger, if in my power.

I furthermore promise and swear, that I will support the Constitution of the General Grand Royal Arch Chapter of the United States of America; together with that of the Grand Chapter of this State, under which this Chapter is holden; that I will stand to and abide by all the by-laws, rules, and regulations of this Chapter, or of any other Chapter of which I may hereafter become a member.

I furthermore promise and swear, that I will answer and obey all due signs and summonses handed, sent, or thrown to me from a Chapter of Royal Arch Masons, or from a Companion royal Arch Mason, if within the length of my cable-tow.

I furthermore promise and swear, that I will not strike a Companion Royal Arch Mason, so as to drew his blood, in anger.

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I furthermore promise and swear, that I will employ a Companion Royal Arch Mason in preference to any other person of equal qualifications,

I furthermore promise and swear, that I will assist a Companion Royal Arch Mason when I see him engaged in any difficulty, and will espouse his cause so far as to extricate him from the same, whether he be right or wrong.

I furthermore promise and swear, that I will keep all the secrets of a Companion Royal Arch Mason (when communicated so me as such, or I knowing them to be such), without exceptions.

I furthermore promise and swear, that I will be aiding and assisting all poor and indigent Companions Royal Arch Masons, their widows and orphans, wheresoever dispersed around the globe; they making application to me as such, and I finding them worthy, and can do it without any material injury to myself or family.

To all which I do most solemnly and sincerely promise and swear, with a firm and steadfast resolution to keep and perform the same, without any equivocation, mental reservation, or self-evasion of mind in me whatever; binding myself under no less penalty, than to have my skull smote off, and my brains exposed to the scorching rays of the meridian sun, should I knowingly or wilfully violate or transgress any part of this my solemn oath or obligation of a Royal Arch Mason. So help me God, and keep me steadfast in the due performance of the same.

Principal Sojourner--Kiss the book seven times.

The candidate kisses the book as directed.

Principal Sojourner--Companions, you will arise and follow we. For although you are obligated Royal Arch Masons, yet, as the secrets of this Degree are of infinitely more importance than any that precede it, it is necessary that you should travel through rough and rugged ways, and pass through many trials, 'm testimony of your fidelity to the Order, before you can be instructed in the more important secrets of this Degree.

The candidates are conducted once around the Chapter, and then again directed to kneel, while the Principal Sojourner reads the following prayer:

Supreme and inscrutable Architect of universal Nature, who, by thine Almighty word didst speak into being the stupendous arch of heaven, and, for the instruction and pleasure of thy rational creatures, didst adorn us with greater and lesser lights, thereby magnifying thy power, and endearing thy goodness unto the sons of men, we humbly adore and worship thine unspeakable perfection. We bless thee, that, when man had fallen from his

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innocence and his happiness, thou didst leave him the powers of reasoning, and capacity of improvement and pleasure. We thank thee, that, amid the pains and calamities of our present state, so many means of refreshment and satisfaction are reserved to us, while travelling the rugged path of life; especially would we, at this time, render thee our thanksgiving and praise for the institution, as members of which we are at this time assembled, and for all the pleasures we have derived from it. We thank thee, that the few here assembled before thee have been favored with new inducements, and been laid under new and stronger obligations of virtue and holiness. May these obligations, O blessed Father! have their full effect upon us. Teach us, we pray thee, the true reverence of thy great, mighty, and terrible Name. Inspire us with a firm and unshaken resolution in our virtuous pursuits. Give us grace diligently to search thy word in the book of nature, wherein the duties of our high vocation are inculcated with Divine authority. May the solemnity of the ceremonies of our institution be duly impressed on our minds, and have a happy and lasting effect on our lives! O Thou, who didst aforetime appear unto thy servant Moses in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush, enkindle, we beseech thee, in each of our hearts, a flame of devotion to thee, of love to each other, and of charity to all mankind! May all thy miracles and mighty works fill us with thy dread, and thy goodness impress us with a love of thy holy name! May holiness to the Lord be engraven upon all our thoughts, words, and actions! May the incense of piety ascend continually unto thee from the altar of our hearts, and burn day and night, as a sacrifice of a sweet-smelling savor, well-pleasing unto thee! And since sin has destroyed within us the first temple of purity and innocence, may thy heavenly grace guide and assist us in rebuilding a second temple of reformation, and may the glory of this latter house be greater than the glory of the former! Amen, so mote it be.

Principal Sojourner--Companions, arise and follow me.

He now conducts them once around the Chapter, during which time he reads from the text-book the first six verses of the third chapter of Exodus:--

"Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian; and he led the flock to the back side of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb. And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush; and he looked, and behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed." &c.

The reading of these verses is so timed, that just when they

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are finished the candidates have arrived in front of a representation of the burning bush, placed in a corner of the Chapter; when the Principal Sojourner directs them to halt, and slips up the bandages from their eyes.

One of the members now personates the Deity, behind the bush, and calls out, Moses! Moses!

Principal Sojourner (answering for candidates.)--Here I am.

Companion behind the bush--Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. I am the God of thy fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.

Principal Sojourner directs the candidates to kneel, and he covers their faces again, and then says--And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look upon God.

Principal Sojourner (to candidates.)--Arise, and follow me.

He then leads them three times around the Chapter, during which time he reads from the text-book 2 Chronicles, ch. xxxvi., vs. 11 to 20:

'Zedekiah was one-and-twenty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord his God, and humbled not himself before Jeremiah the prophet, speaking from the mouth of the Lord. And he also rebelled against King Nebuchadnezzar, and stiffened his neck, and hardened his heart from turning unto the Lord God of Israel. Moreover, all the chief of the priests and the people transgressed very much, after all the abominations of the heathen, and polluted the house of the Lord, which he had hallowed in Jerusalem. And the Lord God of their fathers sent to them by his messengers, because he had compassion on his people, and on his dwelling-place. But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his Word, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose against his people, till there was no remedy. Therefore he brought upon them the King of the Chaldees, who slew their young men with the sword, in the house of their sanctuary, and had no compassion upon young men or maidens, old men, or him that stooped for age; he gave them all into his hand. And all the vessels of the house of God, great and small, and the treasures of the house of the Lord, and the treasures of the king, and his princes; all these he brought to Babylon. And they burnt the house of God, and brake down the wall of Jerusalem, and burnt all the palaces thereof with fire, and destroyed all the goodly vessels thereof. And them that had escaped from the sword carried he away to Babylon; where they were servants to him and his sons, until the reign of the kingdom of Persia."

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When the Principal Sojourner arrives at that part of the above reading which alludes to the Chaldees killing the young men with the sword, the companions of the Chapter begin to make all sorts of queer and unearthly noises, such as rolling cannon-balls on the floor, clashing old swords, shouting, groaning, whistling, stamping, throwing down benches, &c. This noise continues during the remainder of the reading, the object being to represent the siege and destruction of Jerusalem. During this confusion the three candidates are seized, thrown upon the floor, bound hand and foot, and carried bodily into the preparation-room, when the door is closed.

In a few minutes the companions begin to shout: "Hurra for the captives!" repeating it several times.

Captain of the Host goes and opens the door, and says--Come forth! you are at liberty to return! for Cyrus has issued his proclamation to build a second Temple at Jerusalem.

Principal Sojourner (who is with the candidates.)--Will you read the proclamation?

Captain of the Host reads the first three verses of the first chapter of Ezra, as follows:

"Now in the first year of Cyrus, King of Persia, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus, King of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying:

PROCLAMATION

"Thus saith Cyrus, King of Persia, the Lord God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all his people? His God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the Lord God of Israel, which is in Jerusalem."

Captain of the Host--What say you to the proclamation? Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem?

Principal Sojourner (consulting candidates.)--Yes, we are willing to go, but we have no pass-word whereby to make ourselves known to the brethren when we get there. What shall we say to them?

Captain of the Host reads verses 13 and 14 of the third chapter of Exodus:

"And Moses said unto God, Behold! when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you, end they shall say to me, What is his name? What shall I say to them?

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"And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and thus thou shalt say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you."

We were directed to use the words, "I AM THAT I AM," as a pass-word.

Principal Sojourner--We will go up. Companions, you will follow me; our password is, I AM THAT I AM.

As they enter the Chapter, they again pass under the Living Arch.

Principal Sojourner--Stoop low, brethren. He that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

On one side of the hall or Chapter, the Living Arch is formed, as before described; on the other side is what is called the rugged road. This is generally made of blocks and logs of wood, old chairs, benches, &c.

The companions who form the Living Arch press harder on the candidates each time they go through, and they now go through three times. While passing through, the Principal Sojourner says:

Principal Sojourner--This is the way many great and good men have travelled before you, never deeming it derogatory to their dignity to level themselves with the fraternity. I have often travelled this road from Babylon to Jerusalem, and generally find it rough and rugged. However, I think I never saw it much smoother than it is at the present time.

The candidates, after passing the Living Arch, stumble over the rugged road, and arrive again at the entrance of the arch.

Principal Sojourner--Companions, here is a very difficult and dangerous place ahead, which lies directly in our way. Before we attempt to pass it, we must kneel down and pray. (Reads Psalm cxii. )

"Lord, I cry unto thee; make haste unto me; give ear unto my voice.

"Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense, and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.

"Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips.

'Incline not my heart to any evil thing, to practice wicked works with men that work iniquity.

"Let the righteous smite me; it shall be a kindness: and let him reprove me; it shall be an excellent oil.

"Mine eyes are unto thee, O God the Lord: in thee is my trust; leave not my soul destitute.

"Keep me from the snare which they have laid before me, and the gins of the workers of iniquity.

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"Let the wicked fall into their own nets, whilst that I withal escape."

The candidates rise and again pass under the Living Arch and over the rugged road. They then kneel again.

Principal Sojourner--Let us pray. (Reads from text-book Psalm cxlii.)

"I cried unto the Lord with my voice; with my voice unto the Lord did I make my supplication," &c.

They then pass round the third time as before, when the candidates again kneel.

Principal Sojourner reads Psalm cxliii. from the text-book:

"Hear my prayer, O Lord, give ear to my supplications; in thy faithfulness answer me, and in thy righteousness," &c.

Principal Sojourner--We have now arrived in sight of the ruins of the old Temple, near the outer veil of the Tabernacle.

The veils are now pushed apart to admit the candidates, but as soon as they enter, the veils are closed again, and the officers (except the Principal Sojourner) take their seats.

Principal Sojourner makes an alarm by stamping nine times on the floor, which brings out the Master from the First Veil. (See Note  O, Appendix.)

Master of First Veil--Who comes there? Who dares approach this outer Veil of our sacred Tabernacle? Who are you?

Principal Sojourner--Three weary travellers from Babylon.

Master of First Veil--What are your intentions?

Principal Sojourner--We have come to assist in the noble and glorious work of rebuilding the house of the Lord, without the hope of fee or reward. (See Note M, Appendix.)

Master of First Veil--How do you expect to enter here?

Principal Sojourner--By a pass-word that .we received in Babylon.

Master of First Veil--Give it to me.

Principal Sojourner--I AM THAT I AM.

Master of First .Veil--The pass is right. You have my per. mission to enter.

The candidates now enter the First Veil, when the bandages are removed from their eyes.

Master of First Veil--You surely could not have come thus far unless you were three Most Excellent Masters; but farther You cannot go without my words, sign, and word of exhortation. My words are Shem, Ham, and Japhet; my sign is this (holding out a cane), in imitation of one given by God to Moses, when he commanded him to cast his rod upon the ground thus (casting down the cane), and it became a serpent; but putting forth

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his hand and taking it up by the tail, it became a rod in his hand as before. My word of exhortation is explanatory of this sign, and is to be found in the writings of Moses, viz.: the first verses of the fourth chapter of Exodus. (See Note  N, Appendix.)

"And the Lord said unto Moses, What is that in thy hand? And he said, A rod. And the Lord said, Cast it on the ground; and he cast it, and it became a serpent, and Moses fled from before it," &c.

FIG. 33. SIGN OF THE MASTER OF THE FIRST VEIL.
FIG. 33. SIGN OF THE MASTER OF THE FIRST VEIL.

 

Principal Sojourner--Companions, we have passed the first guard, and will make an alarm at the Second Veil. (Stamps on the floor, as before.)

Master of Second Veil--Who comes there? Who dares approach this Second Veil of our sacred Tabernacle?

Principal Sojourner--Three weary sojourners from Babylon, who have come to assist in rebuilding the house of the Lord, without the hope of fee or reward.

Master of Second Veil--How do you expect to enter the second Veil?

Principal Sojourner--By the words, sign, and word of exhortation of the Master of the First Veil.

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Master of Second Veil--Give them.

Principal Sojourner--Shem, Ham, and Japhet. (Gives the sign of casting down a cane and taking it up by the end, as before explained.)

Master of Second Veil--They are right. You have my permission to enter the Second Veil.

The candidates, led by the Principal Sojourner, pass in.

FIG. 34. SIGN OF THE MASTER OF THE   SECOND VEIL.
FIG. 34. SIGN OF THE MASTER OF THE SECOND VEIL.

 

FIG. 35. SIGN OF THE MASTER OF THE   THIRD VEIL.
FIG. 35. SIGN OF THE MASTER OF THE THIRD VEIL.

 

Master of Second Veil--Three Most Excellent Masters you Must have been, or thus far you could not have come; but farther you cannot go without my words, sign, and word of exhortation. My words are Shem, Japhet, and Adoniram; my sign is this: (thrusting his hand in his bosom); it is in imitation of one given by God to Moses, when He commanded him to thrust his hand into his bosom, and, taking it out, it became as leprous as snow. My word of exhortation is explanatory of this sign, and is found in the writings of Moses, viz., fourth chapter of Exodus:

"And the Lord said unto Moses, Put now thine hand into thy

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bosom. And he put his hand into his bosom; and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous as snow," &c.

Principal Sojourner--Companions, we will pass on, and make an alarm at the Third Veil. (Stamps nine times.)

Master of the Third Veil--Who comes there? Who dares approach this Third Veil of our sacred Tabernacle?

Principal Sojourner--Three weary sojourners from Babylon, who have come to assist in the rebuilding of the house of the Lord, without the hope of fee or reward.

Master of Third Veil--How do you expect to enter?

Principal Sojourner--By the words, sign, and word of exhortation of the Master of the Second Veil.

Master of Third Veil--Give them.

Principal Sojourner--Shem, Japhet, and Adoniram. (Thrusts his hand into his bosom as Master of Second Veil had done.)

Master of Third Veil--They are right. You can enter the Third Veil.

The candidates enter.

Master of Third Veil (to candidates.)--Three Most Excellent Masters you must have been, or thus far you could not have come. But you cannot go farther without my words, signs, and word of exhortation. My words are, Haggai, Joshua, and Zerubbabel. My sign is this: (holds out a tumbler of water, and pours out a little on the floor.) It is in imitation of one given by God to Moses, when he commanded him to pour water upon the dry land, and it became blood. My word of exhortation is explanatory of this sign, and is found in the writings of Moses, viz., the fourth chapter of Exodus:

"And it shall come to pass, if they will not believe in the two former signs, thou shalt take of the water of the river and pour it upon the dry land; and the water shall become blood upon the dry land."

Master of Third Veil--I also present you with the Signet of Truth, which is that of Zerubbabel. (Presents a triangular piece of metal, with ZER-UBBA-BEL engraved on it.)

Principal Sojourner (to candidates.)--Companions, we have now passed the Third Veil: let us make an alarm at the Fourth. (Stamps as before.)

Royal Arch Captain--Who comes there? Who dares approach the Fourth Veil of our sacred Tabernacle, where incense burns, day and night, upon the holy altar? Who are you, and what are your intentions?

Principal Sojourner--Three weary sojourners from Babylon, who have come up thus far to aid and assist in the noble and

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glorious work of rebuilding the house of the Lord, without the hope of fee or reward.

Royal Arch Captain--How do you expect to enter this Fourth Veil of our sacred Tabernacle?

Principal Sojourner--By the words, sign, and word of exhortation of the Master of the Third Veil.

Royal Arch Captain--Give them.

Principal Sojourner--Haggai, Joshua, and Zerubbabel (Pours a little water from a tumbler, or cup, upon the floor, foe the sign.)

Royal Arch Captain--They are right. You have my permission to enter the Fourth Veil.

The Veils are now drawn aside, and the candidates enter amid a dazzling light, and behold the High Priest, King, and Scribe sitting in Grand Council. The light is usually made by igniting gum camphor in an urn upon the altar

Royal Arch Captain--Three Most Excellent Masters you must have been, or thus far you could not have come. I will present you to the Grand Council. (Stamps his foot nine times.)

High Priest--Who comes here?

Principal Sojourner--Three weary sojourners from Babylon, who have come up thus far to aid and assist in rebuilding the house of the Lord, without the hope of fee or reward.

High Priest--Have you the signet of Zerubbabel?

Principal Sojourner--We have. (Presents the signet given him by Master of Third Veil.)

High Priest takes it, and reads from the second chapter of Haggai:

"In that day will I take thee, O Zerubbabel, my servant, the son of Shealtiel, saith the Lord, and will make thee a signet: for I have chosen thee."

High Priest (to King, showing him the signet.)--Companion, are you satisfied that this is the signet of Zerubbabel?

King (taking the signet, and scrutinizing it.)--I am satisfied. Most Excellent, that it is.

High Priest (showing signet to Scribe.)--Companion Scribe, think you this is the true signet of Zerubbabel?

Scribe (looking shrewdly at it.)--I am satisfied that it is. Most Excellent.

High Priest (drawing signet across his forehead, in imitation of the penalty, see Fig. 36.)--Signet of Truth, and Holiness to the Lord!

The King and the Scribe, each in turn, puts his hand to his forehead, repeating--Holiness to the Lord.

High Priest (to candidates.)--It is the opinion of the Grand

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[paragraph continues] Council, that you have presented the true signet of Zerubbabel. But, owing to difficulties having arisen from the introduction of strangers among the workmen, none are allowed to undertake in the noble and glorious work, but the true descendants of the twelve tribes. It is necessary you should be very particular in tracing your genealogy. Who are you, and what are your intentions?

Principal Sojourner--We are your own kindred, the descendants of those noble families of Giblemites, who wrought so hard at the building of the first Temple. We have been regularly initiated as Entered Apprentice Masons, passed to the Degree of Fellow Craft, raised to the sublime Degree of Master Mason, advanced to the honorary Degree of Mark Master, presided as Master in the chair, and at the completion and dedication of the Temple were acknowledged as Most Excellent Masters. We were present at its destruction by Nebuchadnezzar, and by him were carried away captives to Babylon; where we remained servants to him and his successors until the reign of Cyrus, King of Persia, by whose proclamation we were liberated, and have come up thus far to aid and assist in the noble and glorious work of rebuilding the house of the Lord, without the hope of fee or reward.

High Priest--Let the captives be unbound, and brought to light. Companion King, I think we had better employ these sojourners. They look like good hardy men; just such men as we want about the building. What say you?

King--It is my opinion, Most Excellent, that they are very expert workmen. I wish they might be examined.

High Priest--What is your opinion, Companion Scribe?

Scribe--If they can satisfy us they are Free Masons, I shall be in favor of employing them immediately.

High Priest--You say you are entered Apprentice Masons. Satisfy the Grand Council.

The three candidates give the signs of Entered Apprentice. (See Figs. 1 and 2, pp. 17, 18.)

High Priest (to King and Scribe.)--Companions, are you satisfied?

The King bows gracefully, and the Scribe answers, We are satisfied, Most Excellent.

High Priest (to candidates.)--The Grand Council are satisfied that you are Entered Apprentice Masons. Have you been advanced to the Fellow Craft's Degree?

Candidates give the Fellow Craft signs (see Figs. 3 and 4, p. 17), when the High Priest asks his companions of the Grand Council if they are satisfied, as before, and then informs the

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candidates that the Grand Council approves them as true Fellow Crafts, &c.

The same questions and answers are given in like manner as to each Degree, up to and including that of Most Excellent Master, and the candidates give all the signs of those Degrees to the Grand Council in detail.

High Priest (after consultation with the King and Scribe.)--Companions, we are satisfied that you are three worthy Most Excellent Masters. As such, we will employ you on the Temple. What part of the work will you undertake?

Principal Sojourner--We will take any service, however servile or dangerous, for the sake of forwarding so great and noble an undertaking.

High Priest (to Royal Arch Captain.)--You will furnish them with the working tools, and direct them to repair to the northeast corner of the ruins of the old Temple, with orders to remove the rubbish, preparatory to laying the foundation of the new Temple. Advise them to carefully preserve every thing of service to the craft that falls in their way, and bring it to the Grand Council.

The candidates are presented, one with a pickaxe, one with a crow, and the other with a shovel, which are generally made of wood, and kept for the purpose in the Lodge or Chapter.

WORKING TOOLS OF A ROYAL ARCH MASON.
WORKING TOOLS OF A ROYAL ARCH MASON.

 

Principal Sojourner (to the candidates.)--Follow me.

Each candidate shoulders his working tools and follows the Principal Sojourner, going single file to a corner of the room where a quantity of blocks or bricks are scattered around. These they stir up a little, when they come to a ring in a trap-door, which they pull up, and find it shaped like a keystone of an arch. Each one examines it, and then looks down the trap, when the Principal Sojourner suggests that it be at once taken up to the Grand Council. He then leads the candidates back.

High Priest--Companion King, have you further business to lay before this Grand Council?

King--I have nothing, Most Excellent.

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High Priest (to Scribe.)--Have you any thing, worthy companion?

Scribe--I know of nothing, Most Excellent.

High Priest--I know of nothing, unless the workmen from the ruins have articles for inspection. The workmen will please come forward and give an account of their labors.

Principal Sojourner--Most Excellent, in pursuance of orders of this Grand Council, we repaired to the ruins and commenced our labors. After laboring several days, we discovered what seemed a rock, but on striking it with a crow it gave a hollow sound, and upon closer examination we discovered in it an iron ring, by help of which we succeeded in removing it from its place, when we found it to be the keystone of an arch, and through the aperture there appeared to be an immense vault, curiously arched. We have brought this keystone up, that it may be examined by the Grand Council.

High Priest--You will present it.

Principal Sojourner presents the keystone, or trap.

High Priest (looking closely at it.)--Companion King, this is a very valuable discovery indeed. It must be a keystone of a Mark Master Mason.

King--I think that is the stone wrought by our Grand Master, Hiram Abiff.

High Priest--What think you of it, Companion Scribe? Scribe--It is undoubtedly the stone wrought by our Grand Master, Hiram Abiff.

High Priest (drawing the keystone across his forehead, and giving the sign.)--The keystone of a Mark Master! Holiness to the Lord.

King and Scribe do and say the same.

High Priest (to candidates.)--This is a very valuable discovery indeed. No doubt it will lead to some important treasure, of inestimable value to the craft. Are you willing to pursue your labors, and endeavor to penetrate this secret vault?

Principal Sojourner (after consulting candidates.)--We are, even to the risk of our lives.

High Priest--Go; and may the God of your fathers be with you. Preserve every thing that falls in your way.

The Principal Sojourner returns with the candidates to the place where they lifted the trap, and they there consult together as to who shall descend into the vault. One of the candidates agreeing to go, they put a rope seven times around his body, leaving two long ends. 

 

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Principal Sojourner (to candidate who is about to descend.)--Companion, it is necessary you should take a little precaution. Should you wish to descend still lower, pull the rope in your left hand: if you wish to ascend, pull that in your right hand.

Two companions take hold of each end of the rope, letting the candidate down eight or ten feet, to another trap-door, where he finds three small trying squares; and, giving the signal of ascending, is drawn up. 

Each candidate taking a square, they repair to the Grand Council. As they present themselves, the High Priest reads the following passage from the fourth chapter of Zechariah:

"This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit. Who art thou, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain, and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it. Moreover, the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also finish it; and thou shalt know that the Lord of hosts hath sent me unto you. For who hath despised the day of small things? For they shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel with those seven."

High Priest (to the King.)--Companions, have you any further business for the Grand Council?

King--I have nothing, Most Excellent.

High Priest (to Scribe.)--Have you any thing, worthy companion?

Scribe--Nothing, Most Excellent.

High Priest--I know of nothing, unless the workmen from the ruins have something for our inspection.

Principal Sojourner--We have examined the secret vault, Most Excellent, and here is what we have found in it. (Presenting the three trying squares.)

High Priest (drawing one of the squares across his forehead.)

The jewels of our ancient Grand Masters, King Solomon, Hiram, King of Tyre, and Hiram Abiff! Holiness to the Lord.

The King and the Scribe each take one and imitate the High Priest.

High Priest (to candidates.)--Are you willing to continue your labors, and still further penetrate this secret vault?

 

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Principal Sojourner--We are, even to the risk of our lives.

High Priest--Go; and may the God of your fathers be with you; and remember that your labors shall not go unrewarded.

The Principal Sojourner leads the candidates back as before, and winds the rope round one of them, who is let down the trap, still further down than before, where he finds the Ark, when he gives the signal and is drawn up

The party immediately return to the Grand Council, two of them carrying the Ark, where they present themselves in the same manner as before, and the High Priest directs them to come forward and give an account of their labors.

Principal Sojourner--Most Excellent, in pursuance of your orders, we repaired to the secret vault, and let down one of our companions. The sun at this time was at its meridian height, the rays of which enabled him to discover a small box, or chest, standing on a pedestal, curiously wrought, and overlaid with gold. On discovering it, he involuntarily found his hand raised in this position (giving the sign as shown in Fig. 36), to guard his eyes from the intense light and heat reflected from it. The air becoming offensive, he gave the signal for ascending, and was immediately drawn out. We have brought this chest up for the examination of the Grand Council.

High Priest (looking with surprise at the Ark)--Companion King, this is the Ark of the Covenant of God.

King (looking at it)--It is undoubtedly the true Ark of the Covenant, Most Excellent.

Scribe (looking at the Ark)--That is also my opinion.

High Priest (taking the Ark)--Let us open it, and see what valuable treasure it may contain. (Opens the Ark, and takes out a book.)

High Priest (to King)--Companion, here is a very ancient-looking book; what can it be? Let us read in it. (Reads first three verses of first chapter of Genesis:)

"In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth," &c.

After reading these verses, the High Priest turns over to Deuteronomy xxxi., and reads from the 24th to the 26th verses, as follows:

"And it came to pass, when Moses had made an end of writing the words of this law in a book, until they were finished, that Moses commanded the Levites, which bare the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord, saying, Take this book of the law, and put it in the side of the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord your God, that it may be there for a witness against thee."

The High Priest then turns back to Exodus xxv., and reads the 21st verse, as follows:

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EMBLEMS OF THE ROYAL ARCH DEGREE.
 

 

1. The Keystone 2. The Three Jewels of the Ancient Grand Masters. 3. The Ark. 4. The Book of the Law. 5. Pot of Manna. 6. Aaron's Rod. 7. The Key. 8. Grand Omnific Word.

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"And thou shalt put the mercy-seat above upon the Ark; and in the Ark thou shalt put the testimony that I shall give thee."

High Priest--This is a book of the law--long lost, but now found. Holiness to the Lord. (He repeats this again, twice.)

King--A book of the law--long lost, but now found. Holiness to the Lord!

Scribe repeats the same.

High Priest (to candidates.)--You now see that the world is indebted to Masonry for the preservation of this sacred volume. Had it not been for the wisdom and precaution of our ancient brethren, this, the only remaining copy of the law, would have been destroyed at the destruction of Jerusalem. 

 

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High Priest (taking a little pot out of the Ark.)--Companion King, what can this be? a pot of manna? We will read in the book of the law, and see what that says: (Reads, Exodus xvi. 32-34.)

"And Moses said, This is the thing which the Lord commandeth: Fill an omer of the manna to be kept for your generations, that they may see the bread wherewith I have fed you in the wilderness, when I brought you forth from the land of Egypt. And Moses said unto Aaron, Take a pot, and put an omer full of manna therein, and lay it up before the Lord, to be kept for your generations. As the Lord commanded Moses, so Aaron laid it up before the testimony, to be kept for a token."

High Priest--A Pot of Manna! Holiness to the Lord!

King--A Pot of Manna! Holiness to the Lord!

Scribe repeats the same.

High Priest--Companions, we read in the book of the law, that he that overcometh, will I give to eat of the hidden manna. Come forward, Companions, you are entitled to it. (Each one receives a small lump of sugar.) But how it came deposited here, we cannot now particularly speak. You must go higher in Masonry before you can know.

The High Priest looks again into the Ark, and finds a stick with some buds upon it, which he shows to the King and Scribe, and after a consultation, they decide that it is Aaron's Rod, and the fact is thus proclaimed in the same manner as the discovery of the manna.

High Priest then reads the following passage, Numbers xvii. 10:

"And the Lord said unto Moses, Bring Aaron's rod again before the testimony, to be kept for a token."

And also, Hebrews ix. 2-5:

"For there was a tabernacle made: the first, wherein was the candlesticks, and the table, and the shew-bread, which is called the sanctuary: and after the second veil, the tabernacle, which is called the Holiest of all; which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant, overlaid round about with gold; wherein was the golden pot that had manna; and Aaron's rod, that budded, and the tables of the covenant; and over it the cherubim of glory, shadowing the mercy seat; of which we cannot now speak particularly."

Looking again into the Ark, the High Priest takes out four pieces of paper, which he examines closely, consults with the

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[paragraph continues] King and Scribe, and then puts together, so as to show a key to the ineffable characters of this Degree:

KEY TO THE INEFFABLE CHARACTERS.
KEY TO THE INEFFABLE CHARACTERS.

 

The key to the ineffable characters, or Royal Arch Cipher, alluded to above, consists of right angles, in various situations, with the addition of a dot. By transposition, it forms twenty-six distinct characters, corresponding with the twenty-six letters of the English alphabet. There are two methods of combining these characters for secret correspondence: One method is to call the first sign, , a; the second, , b; the third, , c; and so on, reading from left to right, thus:

Masonic Cryptogram 1

 

The second way to read the alphabet is as follows:

Masonic Cryptogram 2

 

The upper left angle without a dot is a; the same with a dot is b, &c.

High Priest then reads Exodus vi. 2, 3:

"And God spake unto Moses, and said unto him, I am the Lord: and I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty; but by my name Jehovah was I not known to them."

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After examining the Key, he proceeds to read, by the aid of it, the characters on the four sides of the Ark.

High Priest (reading first side.)--Deposited in the year three thousand. Second side--By Solomon, King of Israel. Third side--Hiram, King of Tyre, and Hiram Abiff. Fourth side--For the good of Masonry, generally, but the Jewish nation in particular. 

High Priest (to candidates.)--Companions, here are three mysterious words, in a triangular form, upon the Ark, which, when first found, were covered with three squares, the jewels of our three ancient Grand Masters; and from this circumstance, we supposed it to be the long-lost Master Mason's word; and, on applying our Key to it, it proved our suspicions to be correct. It is the name of Deity in three languages, viz., Chaldaic, Hebrew, and Syriac, which is the long-lost Master Mason's word, or Logos, and has now become the Grand Omnific Royal Arch word.

It is the divine Logos, or Word, to which reference is had in John (i. 1-5):

"In the beginning was the word (Logos), and the word was with God, and the word was God; the same was in the beginning with God: all things were made by him, and without him was not any thing made that was made; in him was life, and the life was the light of men: and the light shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not."

This word was anciently written only in these sacred characters, and thus preserved from one generation to another. It was lost by the death of Hiram Abiff, was found again at the building of the Temple, and will now be given to you; and you will re-member the manner you receive it, and that you have sworn never to give it to others except in that particular manner.

The candidates, instructed by the Principal Sojourner, now learn the Grand Omnific Royal Arch Word, as follows:

Each one takes hold with his right hand of the right wrist of his companion on the left, and with his left hand takes hold of the left wrist of his companion on the right. Each one then

 

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places his right foot forward with the hollow in front, so that the toe touches the heel of his companion on the right. This is called "three times three;" that is, three right feet forming a triangle, three left hands forming a triangle, and three right hands forming a triangle. They balance in the same manner, and then, with hands raised, repeat the words Jah-buh-lun, Jehovah, G-o-d, at low breath, as described before. (See pp. 224-25, Fig. 32.) 

 

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The signs of this Degree are now given to the candidates, as follows:

First, raise the right hand to the forehead, the hand and arm horizontal, the thumb toward the forehead; draw it briskly across the forehead, and drop it perpendicularly by the side. This constitutes the duegard and sign of this Degree, and refers not only to the penalty of the obligation, but alludes also to the manner in which the brother who descended into the vault, and found the Ark, found his hands involuntarily placed, to protect

FIG. 36. ROYAL ARCH DUEGARD AND   SIGN.
FIG. 36. ROYAL ARCH DUEGARD AND SIGN.

 

FIG. 37. ROYAL ARCH GRAND HAILING   SIGN.
FIG. 37. ROYAL ARCH GRAND HAILING SIGN.


 

 

his head from the rays of the meridian sun. (See Fig. 36.) This sign must be given to the High Priest, upon entering and retiring from a Chapter.

High Priest (placing crowns upon the heads of candidates.)--Companions, you are now invested with all the important secrets

 

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of this Degree, and crowned and received as worthy Companions Royal Arch Masons.

The High Priest then reads to them from a book the charge in this Degree, informing them that the Degree owes its origin to Zerubbabel and his associates, who rebuilt the Temple by order of Cyrus, King of Persia. He likewise informs them that the discovery of the secret vault and the inestimable treasures, with the long-lost word, actually took place in the manner represented in conferring this Degree, and that it is the circumstance upon which the Degree is principally founded.

The initiation being over, the High Priest begins the closing lecture, which is a repetition, by questions and answers, of the opening of a Chapter, and the advancement of a companion of this Degree. It begins as follows:

High Priest (to Captain of the Host.)--Are you a Royal Arch Mason?

Captain--I am that I am.

High Priest--How shall I know you to be a Royal Arch Mason? Captain of Host--By three times three.

High Priest--Where were you made a Royal Arch Mason?

Captain of the Host--In a just and legally constituted Chapter of Royal Arch Masons, consisting of Most Excellent High Priest, King and Scribe, Captain of the Host, Principal Sojourner, Royal Arch Captain, and the three Grand Masters of the Veils, assembled in a room or place representing the Tabernacle erected by our ancient brethren, near the ruins of King Solomon's Temple.

The High Priest continues his questions as to the station and duties of each officer of the Chapter, and every particular relative to the organization thereof, the initiation or advancement of candidates, &c. The Captain of the Host rehearses or describes  the whole precisely as we have given it. These closing lectures are intended to perfect members in the full understanding of each Degree.

After the lecture, the Chapter is closed in the same manner as the opening, up to the raising of the Living Arch. The companions join hands by threes, in the same manner, and say in concert:

 

As we three did agree
  The Sacred Word to keep--
As we three did agree
  The Sacred Word to search;
So we three do agree
  To close this Royal Arch.

 

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They then break, and the High Priest reads the following prayer:

"By the wisdom of the Supreme High Priest may we be directed, by his strength may we be enabled, and by the beauty of virtue may we be incited to perform the obligations here enjoined upon us, to keep inviolable the mysteries here unfolded to us, and invariably to practise all those duties out of the Chapter which are inculcated in it."

Companions--So mote it be. Amen.

High Priest--I now declare this Chapter of Royal Arch Masons closed. 1

It is generally conceded by Masonic writers, that ancient Masonry closes with the Royal Arch. In an edition of "The Illustrations of Masonry," by Mr. Preston, published in London, 1829, the editor, Mr. Oliver, observes:

"All Degrees beyond the Royal Arch ought to be carefully separated from genuine Masonry, as they are mostly founded on vague and uncertain traditions, which possess not the shadow of authority to recommend them to our notice." 

 

 

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The additional Degrees, including those considered legitimate, amount to upward of fifty. These are founded partly upon astronomical principles, agreeing with the ancient worship of the Egyptians, and partly upon the Hebrew and Christian doctrines.

It may be remarked in general, that many of the degrees of knights are founded on the Christian knighthoods got up in the time of the Crusades, in the twelfth century; and that the ceremonies thereof are an imitation of those superstitious establishments. A former Grand High Priest of the Chapters in the State of New York informs me, that he initiated a French gentleman into the Degree of Knight of Malta, who told him he was a member of the ancient order of that name, and that the ceremonies were very similar.

At the time those old knighthoods were founded, "superstition mingled in every public and private action of life; in the holy wars it sanctified the profession of arms; and the order of chivalry was assimilated in its rights and privileges to the sacred orders of priesthood. The bath and the white garment of the novice were an Indecent copy of the regeneration of baptism; his sword, which he offered on the altar, was blessed by the ministers of religion; his solemn reception was preceded by fasts and vigils; and he was created a knight in the name of God, of St. George, and of St. Michael the archangel."--Rees's Cycl.

The emblem of the Royal Arch Degree is called the Triple Tau, and is a figure consisting of three tau crosses. It was adopted at Chicago, 1859, by the General Grand Chapter of the United States, and is worn printed on all aprons of the Royal Arch Degree.

LECTURE ON THE SEVENTH, OR LOYAL ARCH DEGREE.--SECTION FIRST.

Question. Are you a Royal Arch Mason?

Answer. I am that I am.

Q. How shall I know you to be a Royal Arch Mason? A. By three times three.

Q. Where were you exalted to the most sublime Degree of a Royal Arch Mason?

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A. In a regularly and duly constituted Chapter of Royal Arch Masons assembled in a place representing a Tabernacle, erected by our ancient brethren near the ruins of King Solomon's temple.

Q. How many constitute a Chapter of Royal Arch Masons?

A. Nine Regular Royal Arch Masons--consisting of Most Excellent High Priest, Excellent King, and Scribe, Captain of the Host, Principal Sojourner, Royal Arch Captain, and three Masters of the veils.

Q. Who do the three former represent?

A. Those of our ancient brethren who formed the first Most Grand Council at Jerusalem, and held their meetings in a tabernacle.

Q. Who did the three latter represent?

A. Those of our ancient brethren, who directed and brought to light the principal secrets of this Degree, after they had lain buried in darkness from the death of our Grand Master Hiram Abiff, until the erection of the second temple, and as a reward for their zeal, fortitude and attachment to Masonry, were exalted to become the three Grand Masters of the veils.

Q. How many veils were they?

A. Four.

Q. What were their colors?

A. Blue, purple, scarlet and white.

Q. What does blue denote?

A. Friendship, and is the principal color of a Master Mason.

Q. What does purple denote?

A. It being composed of blue and scarlet, it is placed before the first and third veils of the colors, to denote the intimate connection between this most sublime degree, and ancient Craft Masonry.

Q. What does scarlet denote?

A. That fervency and zeal which should actuate all Royal Arch Masons, and is the peculiar color of this Degree.

Q. What does white denote?

A. That purity of life and rectitude of conduct which should govern all those who seek to gain admission into that Sanctum Sanctorum, or Holy of Holies.

Q. To whom do the four veils allude?

A. To the four tribes of the children of Israel, who bore the banners through the wilderness, viz.: Judah, Reuben, Ephraim and Dan, emblematically represented by the strength of the Lion, the intelligence of the Man, the patience of the Ox and the swiftness of the Eagle.

Q. Where were the veils placed?

A. At the outer courts of the tabernacle.

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Q. Why there?

A. To serve as a covering for the tabernacle and stations for the guards.

Q. Why were guards stationed there?

A. To take special pains that none pass or repass, except such as were duly qualified, as none were permitted to enter the presence of the Most Excellent High Priest, Excellent King, and Scribe, except the true descendants of the twelve (12) tribes of the children of Israel.

Q. How did the children of Israel make themselves known to the several guards?

A. By the same words and signs given by God to Moses. He was commanded to conduct the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt from the bands of bondage.

SECOND SECTION.

Q. Where were you prepared to be exalted to the Most Sublime degree of a Royal Arch Mason?

A. In a room adjoining a regular and duly constituted Chapter of Royal Arch Masons.

Q. How were you prepared.

A. I was divested of my outward apparel, in a working posture, hoodwinked, and a cable tow seven times around my body, accompanied by two (2) brethren possessed of like qualifications, in which condition we were conducted to the door of the Chapter, where a regular demand was made by seven (7) distinct knocks.

Q. To what do the seven (7) distinct knocks allude?

A. To the seventh Degree of Masonry, it being that upon which I was about to enter.

Q. What was said to you from within?

A. Who comes here?

Q. Your answer?

A. Three worthy brothers (or brethren) who have been duly initiated, passed to the Degree of Fellow Craft, raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason, advanced to the Degree of Mark Master Mason, regularly passed the Chair--have been received and acknowledged as Most Excellent Masters, and now wish further promotion in Masonry, by being exalted to the Most Sublime Degree of a Royal Arch Mason.

Q. What were you then asked?

A. If it was an act of my own free will and accord, if I was worthy and well qualified, duly and truly prepared, if I had made suitable proficiencies in the preceding Degree, and was properly vouched for--all of which being answered in the affirmative,

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I was asked by what further right or benefit I expected to obtain this important privilege.

Q. Your answer?

A. By the benefit of the pass.

Q. Give the pass?

A. Rabboni.

Q. What does it signify?

A. Good Master, or Most Excellent Master.

Q. What was then said to you?

A. We were directed to wait until the Captain of the Host could be informed of our request, and his answer returned.

Q. What was his answer when returned?

A. Let the candidates enter and be received in due and ancient form.

Q. How were you received in a Chapter of Royal Arch Masons?

A. Under a living arch.

Q. Why under a living arch?

A. To imprint upon my mind in the most solemn manner that the principal secrets of this Degree should be communicated only under a living arch.

Q. How were you then disposed of?

A. We were conducted once around the outer courts of the tabernacle, there caused to kneel at the altar and invoke a blessing from Deity.

Q. After invoking a blessing from Deity, how were you then disposed of?

A. We were again conducted around the outer courts of the tabernacle, where we were met by the Captain of the Host, who demanded of us who comes here, and what were our intentions.

Q. Your answer?

A. As at the door.

Q. Of what did the Captain of the Host inform you?

A. Treat in pursuing our intentions, we should be under the disagreeable necessity of travelling those rough and rugged paths, which all Royal Arch Masons have done before us, but before pursuing further it would be necessary for us to kneel at the altar in due form, and take upon ourselves the solemn oath or obligation of a Royal Arch Mason.

Q. What was that due form?

A. Kneeling upon both knees, both hands covering the Holy Bible, square and compasses, in which due form I took upon myself the solemn oath or obligation of a Royal Arch Mason.

Q. Have you that oath?

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A. I have.

Q. Will you give it?

A. I will with your assistance.

Q. Proceed. (I, A. B., etc., etc.)

Q. After the oath how were you then disposed of?

A. We were again conducted around the outer courts of the tabernacle, where was exhibited the symbol of the burning bush.

Q. Why was the symbol of the burning bush exhibited to you at this point of your exaltation?

A. To impress upon my mind in the most solemn manner, that the words and signs following were of divine origin, and as such were regarded sacred by the children of Israel--by them transmitted to their posterity, as words and signs by which they should make themselves known and be distinguished by each other for ever after.

Q. How were you then disposed of?

A. We were again conducted around the outer courts of the tabernacle, where a representation of the destruction of the temple took place.

Q. By whom was it destroyed?

A. By Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, who in the eleventh year of Zedekiah, King of Jerusalem, went up, beseiged and took the city, seized on all the holy vessels, together with the two brazen pillars; and the remnant of the people who escaped the sword, he carried away captives to Babylon.

Q. What was the period of their captivity?

A. Seventy (70) years.

Q. By whom were they delivered?

A. By Cyrus, King of Persia, who in the first year of his reign issued his yearly proclamation saying: "Thus says Cyrus, King of Persia," etc., etc. (See Monitor.)

Q. Who did you then represent?

A. Those of our ancient brethren being released from their captivity.

Q. In that case what answer did you make Cyrus, King of Persia?

A. But behold when I come unto the children of Israel, etc., etc. (Monitorial.)

Q. What answer did you receive from the Captain of the Host?

A. I am that I am, I am hath sent me unto you.

Q. Did you pursue your journey?

A. We did, the rough and rugged paths.

Q. What do the rough and rugged paths denote?

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A. The sojourning of the children of Israel through the wilderness.

Q. Did you meet with any obstructions?

A. We did, several.

Q. Where did you meet with the first obstruction?

A. At the first veil, where on making the regular demand, we heard the Master of that veil exclaim, "Who dares approach this first veil of our sacred tabernacle?" and he, supposing an enemy to be approaching, hailed his companions, who on being assembled demanded, "Who comes here?"

Q. Your answer?

A. We are of your own brethren and kin--children of the captivity--descendants of those noble Giblemites, we were received and acknowledged Most Excellent Masters at the completion and dedication of the first temple--were present at the destruction of that temple by Nebuchadnezzar, by whom we were carried captives to Babylon, where we remained servants to him and his successors, until the reign of Cyrus, King of Persia, by whose order we have been liberated, and have now come up to help, aid, and assist in rebuilding the house of the Lord, without the hope of fee or reward.

Q. What were you then asked?

A. By what further reward or benefit we expected to obtain this important privilege.

Q. Your answer?

A. By the benefit of the pass.

Q. Give it? (I am that I am, I am hath sent me unto you.)

Q. Did this give you admission?

A. It did within the first veil.

Q. What was then said to you?

A. Good men and true you must have been, to have come thus far to promote so noble and good an undertaking; but further you cannot go without my word, sign, and word of explanation.

Q. What was the word of the Master of the first veil?

A. I am that I am, I am hath sent you unto us, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

Q. What is his sign?

A. It is in imitation of that given by God to Moses when he was commanded to cast his rod upon the ground, and it be-came a serpent.

Q. What was his word of explanation?

A. It was explanatory of the sign as recorded by Moses, and is as follows. "And Moses answered and said, But behold they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice, for they will say,

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[paragraph continues] The Lord hath not appeared unto thee; and the Lord said unto him, What is that in thine hand, and he said, A rod; and He said, Cast it on the ground. And he cast it on the ground and it became a serpent, and Moses fled from before it; and the Lord said, Put forth thine hand and take it by the tail; and he put forth his hand and caught it, and it become a rod in his hand, that they may believe that the God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob hath appeared unto thee.

Q. Where did you meet with the next obstruction?

A. At the second veil, where, on making the regular demand, we heard the master of that exclaim as before.

Q. Your answer?

A. As before.

Q. What were you then asked?

A. By what further right or benefit we expected to obtain that important privilege.

Q. Your answer?

A. By the word and sign given us by the master of the first veil.

Q. Did this gain you admission?

A. It did within the second veil.

Q. What was then said to you?

A. Good men and true you must have been, to have come thus far to engage in so noble and glorious an undertaking, but further you cannot go without my word and sign, and word of explanation.

Q. What was the word of the master of the second veil?

A. I am that I am, I am hath sent me unto you, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

Q. What is his sign?

A. It is in imitation of that given by God to Moses, when he commanded him to put his hand into his bosom, and when he took it out, behold it was as leprous as snow.

Q. What is his word of explanation?

A. It is explanatory of that sign, is recorded by Moses, and is as follows: And the Lord said unto Moses, Put now thine hand into thy bosom, and he put his hand into his bosom, and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous as snow. And He said, Put thine hand into thy bosom again, and he put his hand into his bosom again, and plucked it out of his bosom, and behold it was turned again as his other flesh. And it shall come to pass if they will not believe thee, neither hearken to the voice of the first sign, that they will believe the voice of the latter sign.

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Q. Where did you meet with the next obstruction?

A. At the third veil, where, on making the regular demand, we heard the master of that veil exclaim as before.

Q. Your answer?

A. As before.

Q. What were you then asked?

A. By what further right or benefit we expected to obtain this important privilege.

Q. Your answer?

A. By the benefit of the word and sign given us by the masters of the first and second veils.

Q. Did they gain you admission?

A. They did within the third veil.

Q. What was then said to you?

A. Good men and true you must have been, to have come thus far to promote so noble and good an undertaking, but further you cannot go without my sign and word of explanation and signet.

Q. What was his sign?

A. It is in imitation of that given by God to Moses, when he commanded him to take of the water of the river and pour it upon the dry land.

Q. What is his word of explanation?

A. It is explanatory of that sign, is recorded by Moses, and is as follows: And it shall come to pass if they will not believe also these two signs, neither hearken unto thy voice, that thou shalt take of the water of the river and pour it upon the dry land, and the water which thou takest out of the river shall become blood upon the dry land.

Q. Where did you meet with the next obstruction?

A. At the fourth veil or sanctuary, where on making the regular demand, we heard the Royal Arch Captain exclaim, "Who dares approach the fourth veil or sanctuary, where incense burns upon our holy altar both day and night? Who comes here?"

Q. Your answer?

A. Three worthy sojourners, who have come up to help, aid, and assist in the rebuilding of the house of the Lord, without the hope of fee or reward.

Q. What were you then asked?

A. Whence came you?

Q. Your answer?

A. From Babylon.

Q. Of what were you then informed.

A. That by a decree of the Grand Council, then in session,

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made in consequence of difficulties having arisen by the introduction of strangers among the workmen, none are permitted to enter the presence of the Most Excellent High Priest, Excellent King, and Scribe, while sitting in council, excepting the true descendants of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel; it was therefore necessary that we be more particular in tracing our genealogy, and demanded who we were.

Q. Your answer?

A. We are of your brethren and kin--children of the captivity--we have been received as Most Excellent Masters, and as such have made ourselves known to the several guards, and now wait permission to enter the presence of the Grand Council.

Q. What were you then asked?

A. By what further right or benefit we expected to obtain this important privilege.

Q. Your answer?

A. By the benefit of the words and signs given us by the masters of the first, second and third veils, together with the signet.

Q. What was then said to you?

A. We were directed to wait until the Captain of the Host could be informed of our request and his answer returned.

Q. What answer did he return?

A. Let them be admitted

Q. By whom were you received?

A. By the Captain of the Host, who conducted us into the presence of the Grand Council, who examined us as to our proficiency in the preceding degree, and expressed satisfaction at our meeting, after which we were asked what part of the work we were willing to undertake.

Q. Your answer?

A. Any part, even the most servile, to promote so noble and glorious an undertaking.

Q. Of what were you then informed?

A. That from the specimens of skill which we had exhibited, the Grand Council had confidence and belief that we were able to undertake any part, even the most difficult, but that it was necessary that some more of the rubbish he removed from the northeast part of the ruins, and they instructed us to observe and preserve everything that we might discover of value, for they had no doubt that there were many valuable monuments of art there which would be essential to the craft.

Q. What followed?

A. The Captain of the Host furnished us with the necessary working tools, and we repaired to the place as directed, where

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we wrought diligently four days without discovering anything of interest, excepting passing the ruins of several columns of the order of architecture; on the fifth, still pursuing our labors, we experienced that which we at first supposed to be an impenetrable rock, but on my companion striking it with his crow, it reverberated a hollow sound, upon which we redoubled our assiduity, and removing some more of the rubbish, we found it to resemble the top of an arch, in the apex of which was a stone having on it certain characters which by length of time were nearly effaced. Night now drawing on, we repaired with it to the Grand Council.

Q. What was their opinion of the stone?

A. That it was the keystone to the principal arch of King Solomon's Temple, and from the place in which it was found, they had no doubt it would lead to important discoveries; upon which we were asked if we were willing on the morrow to descend the arch in search of them.

Q. Your answer?

A. That the task would be attended with difficulties and dangers, yet we were willing even at the risk of our lives to promote so noble and glorious an undertaking.

Q. What followed?

A. We repaired to the place as before, and removed some more of the rubbish, after which we placed a cable tow seven times around the body of one of my companions to assist him in descending, and it was agreed, should the place become offensive, either to health or sight, he should swing it to the right as a signal to ascend; but should he wish to descend he should, swing it to the left. In this manner he descended and found three squares, which they had no doubt had long been concealed; he gave the signal and ascended, and with them we repaired to the Grand Council.

Q. What was their opinion of the squares?

A. That they were masters' jewels, most probably worn by our ancient Grand Masters, Solomon, King of Israel, Hiram, King of Tyre, and Hiram Abiff, and from the place in which they were found they had no doubt they would lead to still further and more important discoveries, upon which we were asked if willing again to descend the arch in search of the treasures.

Q. Your answer? (As before.)

Q. What followed?

A. We repaired to the place as before, which I descended as before. The sun shone forth with such redoubled splendor that I was enabled to descend; in the eastern-most part thereof was

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a trunk of curious form, overlaid with gold, having on its top and sides certain mysterious characters; availing myself of this I gave the signal, and ascended; on arriving at the top of the arch I found my hands involuntarily placed in this position to guard my eyes from the intense light and heat that arose therefrom above; with the trunk we repaired to the Grand Council.

Q. What was their opinion of the trunk?

A. That it was the Ark of the Covenant.

Q. What were its contents?

A. A pot, a rod, and a book.

Q. What was their opinion of the pot?

A. That it was the pot of manna, which Moses by divine command, laid up in the side of the ark as a memorial of the miraculous manner in which the children of Israel were supplied with that article of food for forty years in the wilderness.

Q. What was their opinion of the rod?

A. That it was Aaron's rod„ that budded and blossomed, and bore fruit in a day, which Moses also, by divine command, laid in the side of the ark as a testimony, to be kept for a token.

Q. What was their opinion of the book?

A. That it was the book of the law in which it is written, I am the Lord, I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac and Jacob by the name of God Almighty, but by my great and sacred name was I not known unto them.

Q. What does it contain?

A. A key to the mysterious characters upon its top and sides, by which they found those upon its sides to be the initials of our three ancient Grand Masters, S. K. of I., H. K of T., and H. Abiff. Those upon its top, the Grand Omnific or Royal Arch word, which we as Royal Arch Masons should never give except in the presence of three Royal Arch Masons, we first agreeing by three times three, and under a living arch.

Q. How were your merits rewarded?

A. The Grand Council descended and invested us with the secrets of the Degree

Q. How were they communicated?

A. The Grand Omnific Royal Arch word in the presence of three regular Arch Masons, we first agreeing by three times three, and under a living arch.

Q Have you a sign in this Degree?

A. I have several.

Q. Show me a sign? (Hand to forehead. See sign.)

Q What is that called?

A. The duegard.

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Q. To what does it allude?

A. To the way and manner in which my hands were involuntarily placed on arriving at the arch, to guard my eyes from the intense light and heat that arose therefrom above.

Q. Show me another sign? (Give sign.)

Q. What is that called?

A. The sign

Q. To what does it allude?

A. To the penalty of my obligation, that I would sooner have my skull struck off than divulge any of the secrets of this Degree unlawfully,

Q. Give me another sign? (Give sign.)

Q. What is that called?

A. The grand hailing sign, or sign of distress of a Royal Arch Mason.

Q. To what does it allude?

A. To the additional portion of the penalty of my obligation, that I would sooner have my skull clove off, and have my brain exposed to the scorchings rays of a noonday sun, than divulge any of the secrets of this Degree unlawfully.

Q. What are the working tools of a Royal Arch Mason?

A. The pick, spade, and crow.

Q. What does the spade teach us as Royal Arch Masons? (Monitorial. )

Q. What is the use of the crow?

A. It is used by operative masons to describe circles--every part of the circumference of which is equally near and equally distant from its centre; so is every creature whom God hath made equally near and equally dear.

Q. What is the equilateral or perfect triangle upon which the word is formed emblematical of?

A. The three certain attributes of Deity--namely, Omniscience, Omnipotence, and Omnipresence, for as the three equal legs or angles form but one triangle, so the three attributes constitute but one God.

Footnotes

218:1 In America, we find an essential variation from any other system of the Royal Arch. The names of the officers vary materially, as also do the ceremonies. As in Ireland, it constitutes the Seventh Degree, although the intermediate steps are different. In Ireland they are: 1. E. A. P.; 2. F. C.; 3. M. M.; 4. P. M.; 5. Excellent; 6. Super-Excellent: 7. Royal Arch: while in America the Fourth is Mark Master; 5. P. M.; 6. Most Excellent Master; 7. Royal Arch.--Origin of the English Royal Arch, p. 58.

219:1 The members of this Degree are denominated companions, and are "entitled to a full explanation of the mysteries of the Order"; whereas in the former Degrees they are recognized by the common, familiar appellation of brothers, and kept in a state of profound ignorance of the sublime secret which is disclosed in this Chapter. This accords with the custom of Pythagoras, who thus distinguished his pupils. After a probation of five years, as before stated, they were admitted into the presence of the preceptor, called his companions, and permitted freely to converse with him. Previously to the expiration of that term he delivered his instructions to them from behind a screen.--Fellows's Inquiry into the Origin, History, and Purport of Freemasonry, p. 321.

224:1  Cole adopts the following sentiment of a brother Mason: "In the R. A. (Royal Arch) Mason's Degree I beheld myself exalted to the top of Pisgah, an extensive scene opened to my view of the glory and goodness of the M. E. H. P. (Most Excellent High Priest) of our salvation. I dug deep for hidden treasures, found them, and regained the omnific word."

"If we pass on to the Royal Arch," says the Rev. G. Oliver, in his p. 225 Lectures on Freemasonry, "we receive a wonderful accession of knowledge, and find every thing made perfect; for this is the ne plus ultra of Masonry, and can never be exceeded by any human institution."--Fellows's Inquiry into the Origin, History, and Purport of Freemasonry, p. 322.

A Degree indescribably more august, sublime, and important than any which precede it, and is, in fact, the summit and perfection of ancient Masonry. It impresses on our minds a belief in the being of a God, without beginning of days or end of years, the great and incomprehensible Alpha and Omega, and reminds us of the reverence which is due to His Holy NAME.--Historical Landmarks, vol. i. p. 86.

226:1  This ineffable name (in INDIA) was Aum, which, in its triliteral form, was significant of the creative, preservative, and destroying power, that is, of Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva.--Lexicon, p. 146.

JEHOVAH. Of the varieties of this sacred name in use among the different nations of the earth, three particularly merit the attention of Royal Arch Masons:

1. JAH. This name of God is found in the 68th Psalm, v. 4.

2. BAAL OR BEL. This word signifies a lord, master, or possessor, and hence it was applied by many of the nations of the East to denote the Lord of all things, and the Master of the world.

3. ON. This was the name by which JEHOVAH was worshipped among the Egyptians.

I have made these remarks on the three names of God in Chaldaic, Syriac and Egyptian, Baal, Jah, and On, in the expectation that my Royal Arch Companions will readily recognize them in a corrupted form.--Lexicon.

242:1 Candidates at the present day usually descend the vault by means of a ladder.

243:1 A candidate is said to be EXALTED when he receives the Degree of Holy Royal Arch, the Seventh in York Masonry. Exalted means elevated or lifted up, and is applicable both to a peculiar ceremony of the Degree, and to the fact that this Degree, in the rite in which it is practised, constitutes the summit of ancient Masonry.--Lexicon.

246:1 The foundations of the Temple were opened and cleared from the accumulation of rubbish, that a level site might be procured for the commencement of the building. While engaged in excavations for this purpose, three fortunate sojourners are said to have discovered our ancient stone of foundation, which had been deposited in the secret crypt by Wisdom, Strength, and Beauty, to prevent the communication of ineffable secrets to profane or unworthy persons. The discovery having been communicated to the prince, priest, and prophet of the Jews, the stone was adopted as the chief corner-stone of the re-edified building; and thus became, in a new and expressive sense, the type of a more excellent dispensation. An avenue was also accidentally discovered, supported by seven pairs of pillars, perfect and entire, which, from their situation, had escaped the fury of the flames that had consumed the Temple, and the desolation of war which had destroyed the city. This secret vault, which had been built by Solomon as a secure depository for certain valuable secrets, that would inevitably have been lost without some such expedient for their preservation, communicated by a subterranean avenue with the King's palace; but at the destruction of Jerusalem, the entrance having been closed by the rubbish of falling buildings, it had been now discovered by the appearance of a keystone among the foundations of the Sanctum Sanctorum. A careful inspection was then made, and the invaluable secrets were placed in safe custody.--Historical Landmarks, vol. ii. p. 434.

In preparing the foundations, as we are told by the Jewish Rabbins, the workmen discovered a subterranean vault or cavity, supported by seven pairs of pillars supporting so many arches. This vault, at the destruction of Jerusalem, having been filled with the rubbish of the building, escaped observation, and was indicated at the present period by the discovery of a keystone among the foundations. The Rabbins add, that Josiah, foreseeing the destruction of the Temple, commanded the Levites to deposit the Ark of the Covenant in this vault, where it was found by some of Zerubbabel's workmen. But there is no ground for this belief; for if the secret of the vault had been known to Josiah, it must have been known also to his idolatrous predecessors. who would doubtless have plundered it of its valuable contents, and exposed them to the world, in contempt of the true God to whom they referred, and whom these degenerate monarchs had wholly renounced. It is much more probable, that in the latter years of Solomon, when he had almost forgotten God, his visits to this vault were discontinued, and the entrance being curiously concealed among the caverns underneath his palace. the secret died with him, and the communication was forever closed. It is certain, however, if the tradition of this vault be correct, that the Ark of the Covenant was not found in it; p. 247 for it was one of the invaluable gifts of God which the second Temple did not contain, and consequently it could not have been preserved by Josiah.--Historical Landmarks, vol. ii. p. 436.

249:1 The author of Ahiman Rezon has stated that he could convey his mind to an ancient Mason in the presence of a modern Mason, without the latter knowing whether either of them were Masons. He further asserted that he was able, with a few Masonic implements, i.e., two squares and a common gavel or hammer, to convey any word or sentence of his own, or the immediate dictations of a stranger, to a skilful and intelligent Free-mason of the ancient order, without speaking, writing, or noise; and that to any distance, when the parties can see each other, and at the same time be able to distinguish squares from circles. This Masonic system of cipher-writing is now well understood.--Origin of the English Royal Arch, p. 42.

250:1 The WORD of the Royal Arch Degree, as worked in England, is Jao-Bul-On.

Macrobius, in his Saturnalia (lib. i. 18), says that it was an admitted axiom among the heathen, that the triliteral JAH, or rather ΙΑΩ, was the sacred name of the Supreme God. And the Clarian oracle, which was of unknown antiquity, being asked which of the deities was named ΙΑΩ, answered in these memorable words:

"'The initiated are bound to conceal the mysterious secrets. Learn thou, that ΙΑΩ, is the Great God Supreme, who ruleth over all.'

"Now it so happens, that in the gems of the early Christians we find these very letters, ΙΑΩ, which are an abbreviation of the name of JEHOVAH, used as a monogram to express the name of the Saviour of mankind, who was thus represented as existing before time was, and shall exist when time shall he no more. It was first adopted by the Eastern Church, and signified Ιησους, Αλφα Ομεγα, Jesus, Alpha Omega, or in other words: Jesus, the First and the Last."--The Insignia of the Royal Arch, p. 32.

The Royal Arch Word to have been perfectly in keeping with the Degree, and with the general construction of Masonry, should have been a triad, not only of syllables, but also of letters. Our transatlantic brethren have seen it in its true light; but they have corrected the error unlearnedly. It ought to have been, if the principle of its construction be allowed, to be orthodox:

Syriac.

Chaldee.

Hindoo.

_____ _____ _____

_____ _____ _____

_____ _____ _____

The Insignia of the Royal Arch, p. 34. That is to say, instead of JAO-BUL-ON, or JAH-BUH-LUN, Dr. Oliver suggests:

Syriac.

Chaldee.

Hindoo.

JAO,

BEL,

AUN,

or

or

or

JAH.

BUL.

AUM.

For at page 15 of The Insignia, he writes thus:

"But the Royal Arch Degree is founded on the number three, and therefore each member of the word ought to have been triliteral. Among the Syrians, the Chaldeans, the Phśnicians and others, the ineffable name of the Deity was Bel, Bal, Bul, Baal, or Belin. . . . Again, the Egyptians and Hindoos reverenced On or Om, i.e., Aun, or Aum, as the name of their chief Deity."

And vide Historical Landmarks, vol. ii. p. 549:

"One says it was Jau, another thinks it was Jaoth, a third, Java; others, Juba, Jao, Jah, Jehovah, and Jove. In a word, the letters of the name are perishable, and the pronunciation of little moment: but the Being himself is ineffable, incomprehensible, and worthy of our utmost veneration. He was called by the Romans Jove, or Jah; by the Chaldeans, the Phśnicians, and the Celtć, Bel or Bul; and by the Indians, Egyptians, and Greeks, Om or On."

251:1 The grand hailing sign is made by locking the fingers of both hands together, and carrying them to the top of the head, the palms upward. Then let them drop to the sides.

253:1 At my first exaltation, I was taught to believe it an ancient degree; but I confess, that even at that period I entertained considerable doubts on the point. The Degree is too incongruous to be of any great antiquity. It exhibits too many evidences of modern construction to be received with implicit credence as a ceremony practised by the ancient Dionysiacs, or even the more modern colleges of Freemasons, or confraternities of the Middle Ages. The earliest mention of it in England which I can find, is in the year 1740, just one year after the trifling alteration, sanctioned by the modern Grand Lodge, already mentioned.--Origin of the English Royal Arch, pp. 19, 20.

253:2 The fact is, the grand omnific (all-creating) lost word, it will be seen in the sequel, was eventually found in a vault under the ruins of Solomon's Temple; and the difficulty was, rationally to account for the manner in which it got there. This, therefore, is the grand object of the Select Master's Degree; and, at the same time, so to locate the word as symbolically to represent its archetype, the sun lost in the inferior hemisphere. For this purpose a history of the order was manufactured by its founders, of which the following is a sketch:

"The three Grand Masters, at the building of the Temple, entered into a solemn agreement not to confer the Master's Degree until the Temple should be completed; that all three must be present when it should be conferred, and if either should be taken away by death prior to the finishing of the Temple, the Master's Degree should be lost.

"After this wise arrangement, lest the knowledge of the arts and sciences, together with the patterns and valuable models which were contained in the Temple, should be lost, they agreed to build a secret vault under ground, leading from Solomon's most retired apartment, a due west course, and ending under the sanctum sanctorum of the Temple, to be divided into nine separate arches. The ninth arch was to be the place for holding the grand council, and also for a deposit of a true copy of all those things which were contained in the sanctum sanctorum above.

"After the ninth arch was completed, the three Grand Masters deposited therein those things which were important to the craft, such as the Ark of the Covenant, a pot of manna, the rod of Aaron, the book of the law, etc.p. 254

"Prior to the completion of the Temple, Grand Master Hiram Abiff was assassinated, and by his death the Master's Word was lost. The two kings were willing to do all in their power to preserve the Sacred Word, and as they could not communicate it to any, by reason of the death of Hiram, they agreed to place it in the secret vault, that if the other treasures were ever brought to light, the Word might be found also."--Fellows's Inquiry into the Origin, History, and Purport of Freemasonry, pp. 308, 309.

 

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