Ancient Illustrious Order Knights of Malta
Fourth Degree - Mark

 
Ceremony of Initiation
 
The previous order of business having been disposed of, should there be one or more candidates to receive the Mark Degree, the Sir Knight Commander will say: Sir Knight Warder, what is the particular cause of our assembling here?
Warder: Sir Knight Commander, knightly association, the propagation of our Order, and the advancement of such worthy Companions as are desirous thereof.
Sir Knight Commander: Sir Knight Warder, ascertain if there be any such in the preparation room, by raising the wicket and inquiring of the Sentinel.
Warder, having done so: Sir Knight Commander, there are.
Sir Knight Commander: Sir Knights Generalissimo, Captain General and Prelate, provide yourselves with the necessary working tools, and take your respective positions as Master Builders. The Senior and Junior Wardens and twelve workmen will retire and proceed with their duties.
The Generalissimo acts as First Master Builder, the Captain General as Second Master Builder, and the Prelate as Third Master Builder, and take positions as follows: The First Master Builder, near the door of the preparation room; Second Master Builder, about half way from the door to the p lace where the arch is to be erected, and the Third Master Builder at the on a the arch. In front of each Master Builder must be placed a small pedestal or stand. On the pedestal of the First Master Builder shall be placed a small plumb, on that of the Second a level, and on that of the Third a small square. The Master Builders then await the entrance of the Wardens and workmen with the candidate. The Senior and Junior wardens, and twelve Companions, called workmen, retire to the preparation room, where there have been placed twelve stones or blocks and a keystone of proper form and size. The candidate is then admitted to the preparation room. Each of the twelve workmen takes one of the stones in his left band and lays it upon his right shoulder, and the keystone is given to the candidate, who carries it in the same manner as the workmen carry the other stones. The workmen then form in single file, with the candidate in the rear, blindfolded, led by the Senior Warden. When all is in readiness the Sentinel gives ****   ****   **** loud raps upon the door of the Council Chamber.
Warder: Sir Knight Commander, there is an alarm from the Sentinel.
Sir Knight Commander: Ascertain the cause.
The Warder then raises the wicket, and seeing that all is in readiness answers: Sir Knight Commander, the workmen with material for the arch desire admittance.
Sir Knight Commander: Admit them.
Warder, opening the door: It is the order of the Sir Knight Commander that the workmen be admitted, and that they submit their work for inspection.
The twelve workmen, and the Senior and Junior Wardens with the candidate, then enter the Council Chamber in single file, and each of the workmen in turn presents his stone to the three Master Builders, who test it with their instruments as follows - The first workman presents his stone to the First Master Builder, who, taking it, applies his plumb to all sides and corners of the same, and as he returns it says:
First Master Builder: Perfect; pass on.
The workman then steps along and presents his stone to the Second Master Builder, who applies his level to the sides and edges of the stone and as he returns it says:
Second Master Builder: Perfect; pass on.
The workman then steps along and presents his stone to the Third Master Builder, who applies his square to all corners of the same, and throws it on the floor at the foot of the arch, at the same time saying:
Third Master Builder: Good work; accepted.
The workman then takes a seat. Each of the other eleven workmen follows in order, and presents a stone in the same mariner to each of the Master Builders, who apply their instruments and make the same replies as before, the Third Master Builder retaining the stones, and throwing them at the foot of the arch. As the workmen are relieved of their stones they pass on and take their seats, together if possible. The candidate, conducted by the Senior Warden, presents his keystone to the First Master Builder, who applies his plumb to its sides and corners, and returns it to the candidate, saying:
First Master Builder: This stone is not plumb.
The candidate then steps along and presents his keystone to the Second Master Builder, who applies his level to its sides and edges, and returns it to the candidate, saying:
Second Master Builder: This stone is not level.
The candidate then steps along to the pedestal of the Third Master Builder and presents his keystone. The Third Master Builder carefully applies his square to all corners and angles of the keystone and throws it upon the floor, away from the other stones, saying as he does so:
Third Master Builder: This stone has been tried and is found wanting. It is neither plumb nor level nor square, and is unfit for use; I, therefore, reject it and cast it out among the rubbish.
The Captain General should see that this keystone, or one exactly like it, is placed in the preparation room, along with several pieces or blocks, hoards, stones or anything to represent rubbish, at the proper time.
Sir Knight Commander: Sir Knights Captain General, Senior and Junior Wardens, retire with the candidate and proceed with your respective duties.
Those officers then retire to the preparation room with the candidate remove the blindfold, and prepare him as follows: He is divested of his outer garments, invested with a pair of blue overalls, rolled up so that the left knee is bare; he is presented with a trowel, which is put in a waist-belt around his body he is again blindfolded, and in this condition is led to the door of the Council Chamber. The Captain General then leaves the candidate in charge of the Senior and Junior Wardens, and re-enters the Council Chamber, where he announces as follows:
Captain General: Sir Knight Commander, the candidate is duly prepared, and ready to be received.
The Warder then raises the wicket, and informs the Senior Warden that all is in readiness. The Senior Warden then gives ****   ****   **** raps, which are answered by the same number from within by the Warder, who opens the door and says: Who comes here to disturb the peace and harmony of this duly convoked Mark Commandery?
Senior Warden: A true and worthy Sir Knight who, having received the first three degrees of our Order, now desires to be advanced to the dignity of a Companion of the Mark Degree.
Warder: How does he expect to gain admission?
Senior Warden: By the benefit of a password.
Warder: Has he that password?
Senior Warden: No, but I have it for him.
Warder: Advance and give it.
Senior warden gives the entrance password to the Warder.
Warder: The pass is right. I will acquaint the Sir Knight Commander with his request.
The Warder wilt then close the door.
Warder: Sir Knight Commander, there is without a true and worthy Sir Knight who, having received the first three degrees of our Order, now desires to be advanced to the dignity of a Companion of the Mark Degree.
Sir Knight Commander: What recommendation has he?
Warder: The entrance password of this degree, which has been presented for him by the Senior Warden of this Commandery.
Sir Knight Commander: Being vouched for by our Senior Warden, his claim is just. You have therefore my command to permit the candidate to enter.
The candidate is then admitted to the Council Chamber, and conducted slowly six times around the room by the Senior Warden, the Prelate reading: And unto Eber were born two sons; the name of one was Peleg; for in his days was the earth divided; and his brother’s name was Joktan.
And the whole earth was of one language and of one speech.
And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there.
And they said one to another, Go to, let us make up brick, and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar.
And they said, Go to, let us build a city and a tower whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.
And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower which the children of men builded.
And the Lord said, Behold, the people are one, and they have all one language; and this they began to do; and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.
Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.
So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth; and they left off to build the city.
Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the Lord did there confound the language of all the earth; and from thence did the Lord scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.
The Prelate and the Senior Warden should so lime and arrange the reading and walking that the candidate shall have passed six times around the room when the Prelate concludes his reading, and as the candidate passes the Generalissimo the sixth time, the Generalissimo stops him by placing his hand upon his shoulder, and accosts him thus: Where are you from?
Candidate, prompted: The tower.
Generalissimo: And whither are you going.
Candidate, prompted: To assist in building the temple.
Generalissimo: Why do you leave the tower and travel to the temple?
Candidate, prompted: Because the tower was confounded but the temple is to be dedicated.
Generalissimo: How do you expect to get there?
Candidate, prompted: By the benefit of a password.
Generalissimo: Will you give me that password?
Candidate, prompted: I will if you begin.
The candidate will then divide the entrance password with the Generalissimo, being prompted by the Senior Warden.
Generalissimo: It is well, but before you can travel further on your journey to Jerusalem you must receive the wages due to your participation in so unholy a work as the erection of the tower.
The candidate then places both his arms around the neck of the Senior Warden from behind, and the Senior Warden leans forward, thus raising the candidate off his feet, and on to the back of the Senior Warden. The lower part of the candidate’s back is then made bare, and he receives twelve stripes, applied with a thong or strap by the Generalissimo, which shall he numbered by the candidate in a loud voice as received. The Generalissimo will then address the candidate, saying: You now have my permission to proceed.
The candidate will then be conducted slowly once around the room, the Prelate reading: Then Solomon began to build the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, on Mount Moriah, where the Lord appeared unto David his father, in the place that David had prepared in the threshing-floor of Oman the Jebusite.
The candidate is then conducted to the foot of the arch and directed to kneel on his left knee, which is bare, and the Prelate will continue his reading as follows: And Solomon’s builders and Hiram’s builders did hew them, and the stone squarers, so they prepared timber and stones to build the house; and the house when it was in building was built of stone made ready before it was brought thither, so that there was neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron heard while it was in building.
The candidate is now instructed by the Senior Warden to take up in his left hand one of the twelve stones lying there, and place it upon his right shoulder. Kneel on his left knee his right extended with his right hand laid thereon. Assisted by the Senior Warden he travels once around the arch and places the stone upon the lower left-hand corner of the arch. He then takes another stone and, traveling around the arch as before places it upon the lower right-hand corner of the arch. In like manner are all of the twelve stones placed on the left and right sides alternately, making six on each side, thus placing a stone on each of the twelve spaces. The arch is thus completed with the exception of the keystone, for which space there is no stone. The candidate is then assisted to rise, and the Senior Warden, addressing the Sir Knight Commander, says: Sir Knight Commander, it is impossible to complete the arch, as an important stone is missing.
Sir Knight Commander: This is indeed a serious matter. What is the nature of the missing stone?
Senior Warden: Sir Knight Commander, the stone required is a keystone to place in the top of the arch.
Sir Knight Commander: Sir Knight First Master Builder, have you seen a keystone calculated to fill the vacancy in this arch.
First Master Builder: Sir Knight Commander, such a stone was submitted to me for inspection by one of the workmen, but as it was not plumb I rejected it.
Sir Knight Commander: Sir Knight Second Master Builder, have you seen a keystone of this description, designed to fit the vacant place in this arch?
Second Master Builder: Sir Knight Commander, such a stone was also submitted to me for inspection, but I too rejected it, as it was not level.
Sir Knight Commander: Sir Knight Third Master Builder, was there a keystone of this description submitted for your examination?
Third Master Builder: Sir Knight Commander, such a stone was submitted to me by one of the workmen, but after a careful inspection I found that the stone was neither plumb nor level nor square, and I, therefore, rejected it as unfit for use, and cast it out among the rubbish.
Sir Knight Commander: The stone which you thus rejected was the most important of all. Sir Knights Master Builders and Senior Warden, retire with the candidate, and search among the rubbish for the missing stone.
The three Master Builders, Senior Warden and candidate then retire to the preparation room, where the blindfold is removed from the candidate, and he discovers the lost keystone among the rubbish. He is directed to take the keystone in his left hand, and place it upon his right shoulder. He is again blindfolded and conducted into the Council Chamber by the Senior Warden, and led to the arch. The three Master Builders also return, to the Council Chamber, and quietly take their seats. The Senior Warden then addresses the Sir Knight Commander as follows: Sir Knight Commander, the stone we sought is found.
Sir Knight Commander: Let it be placed in position.
The Senior Warden then assists the candidate to place the keystone in its proper position at the top of the arch, the organist at the same time playing soft, low music. After the keystone is in position, the candidate kneels, while the Prelate reads: Did ye never read in the Scriptures, the stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner? This is the stone which was set at naught of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.
The candidate will now rise to his feet, and the following ode will be sung:
Air: ‘Safely Through Another Week’
This shall be the sacred mark
Which shall guide us to the skies,
Bearing, like the Holy Ark,
All the hearts who love to rise.
 
This shall be the corner-stone
Which the builders threw away,
But was found the only one
Fitted for the arch’s stay.
After the singing of the ode, the candidate will he conducted slowly around the room, the Prelate reading: Walk about Zion and go round about her; tell the towers thereof; mark ye well her bulwarks. Consider her palaces, that ye may tell it to the generations following; for this God is our God forever and ever; He will be our guide even unto death.
As the Prelate concludes his reading the candidate will he conducted before a lantern slide of the Pillar of Wisdom, and the blindfold will he removed for a moment, while the Senior Warden says: Companion, behold! This is the Pillar of Wisdom. It is also emblematic of Faith. This faith consists of full belief in the existence of the Eternal Jehovah or mystical Three in One, and entire reliance upon Christ the Son of God as the only Mediator. This wisdom is more precious than rubies, and all the things that can be desired are not to be compared to it.
The blindfold is again put on, and while the organist plays soft and low music, the candidate is conducted slowly once around the room to a lantern slide of the Pillar of Strength, when the blindfold is again removed for a moment, while the Senior Warden says: Companion, behold! This is the Pillar of Strength, and is emblematic of Hope, which is the offspring of faith in the heart, and is a strong support of the soul in the hour of adversity. It also represents to us, as Marksmen, the anticipation we possess of the ultimate triumph of the Christian faith.
The blindfold is again put on arid the candidate conducted slowly once around the room, low music being played as before, and is brought before a lantern slide of the Pillar of Beauty. The blindfold is again removed for a moment, while the Senior Warden says: Companion, behold! This is the Pillar of Beauty. It is also emblematic of Truth, which is the most beautiful of all virtues, being, like the God of Truth, immutable and eternal. It, moreover, teaches us to be truthful to the whole family of man, but more especially to Companions of the Mark Degree.
The following ode will then be sung:
Air: ‘My Country ‘Tis of Thee’
Spirit of truth and love,
Descending from above,
Our hearts inflame,
Till under our control
Be built, in one the whole,
A temple of the soul
To Thy great name.
The blindfold is again put on the candidate and he is conducted slowly to the foot of the arch, where the Senior Warden instructs him in the mystic steps, addressing him as follows: Companion, take one step with your right foot and bring your left foot up even with the right. This is the first step on entering the Grand Mystic Temple, and symbolizes Faith. By faith we, believe.
Senior Warden: Companion, take another step with your right foot and bring your left foot up even with the right. This is the second step, and symbolizes Hope. By hope we are saved.
Senior Warden: Companion, take still another step with your right foot and bring your left foot up even with the right. This is the third and last step, and symbolizes Truth. Upon this foundation of truth is erected our mystic temple of the soul, which, like that built by King Solomon, should be the dwelling of the Eternal Jehovah.
Sir Knight Commander: * * *.
All Companions now rise and advance the hailing sign of the Mark Degree.
Sir Knight Commander: Companion, you are now standing in a place representing the porch of King Solomon’s Temple, looking inward through the middle court into the Sanctum Sanctorum, or Holy of Holies. If you are willing to take the solemn obligation of a Marksman, repeat your name in full, and say after rue:
 
 
Obligation
 
I, your name, Knight, do solemnly and sincerely vow and swear that I will always conceal and never reveal any of the signs, words or tokens, or the secret mysteries of the Mark Degree, to any person who is not entitled to receive the same. I also gladly reaffirm, in the presence of these my fellow Marksmen, my faith in the eternal Jehovah as the Great Architect of the Universe, and in Jesus Christ as the chief corner-stone of my faith. And as I now stand, emblematically, in the porch of King Solomon’s Temple, looking inward through the middle court into the Sanctum Sanctorum, I am resolved, as an humble builder, to ever strive to make my soul the dwelling place of the Eternal Jehovah. May I ever have the blessing of the Most High in fulfilling this my solemn obligation as a Marksman.
Sir Knight Commander: Kiss the Holy Bible.
All Companions now form a circle and kneel around the arch and the candidate. The Captain General should see that gum camphor is placed in position, and as the Prelate reads the words “The fire came down from heaven,” etc., he will set the camphor on fire. As the prelate reads the words “They bowed themselves with their faces to the ground,’ etc., all the Companions will how their faces to the floor, and repeat after the Prelate three times the words “For He is good,” etc.
Prelate: Now when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven, fire is now applied to the gum camphor, and consumed the burnt offering, and the glory of the Lord filled the house.
And when all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down, and the glory of the Lord upon the house, they bowed themselves with their faces to the ground all bow their faces to the floor upon the pavement and worshipped and praised the Lord, saying: For He is good, for His mercy endureth forever.
Prelate and Companions: For He is good, for His mercy endureth forever. For He is good, for His mercy endureth forever. For He is good, for His mercy endureth forever.
All Companions now rise to their feet, and the Sir Knight Commander says: Companion, in your present position what are you most in need of?
Candidate, prompted: Light.
Sir Knight Commander: And God said Let there be light, and there was light.
The blindfold is then removed from the candidate’s eyes, amid flames, thunder, and clapping of hands, and he beholds the mercy seat, etc. which should he so arranged as to he shown instantly at the proper moment.
The candidate will then he conducted to the station of the Prelate, who reads as follows: Now, therefore, ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God, and are built upon the foundations of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner-stone, in whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto a holy temple in the Lord, in whom ye also are builded together for a habitation of God through the Spirit.
Senior Warden: *.
The candidate will then be conducted to his previous position at the arch, facing the Sir Knight Commander, and he will see thirty-six lights properly placed. These lights can he quietly arranged while the candidate is at the station of the Prelate. The Sir Knight Commander will then say: Companion, how many lights do you see?
Candidate, after counting them: Thirty- six.
Sir Knight Commander: Those thirty-six lights represent the great and mighty grand password of this degree.
Sir Knight Commander, giving candidate the grip of the degree: Sir Knight Companion, I greet you as a Marksman and Companion of the Mark Degree. I will now instruct you in the secret work.
The Sir Knight Commander will then instruct the candidate in the grip, trailing signs, raps, passwords, and also the private marks of a Marksman
The Senior and Junior Wardens, or other Companions, will repeat the:
 
 
Lecture
 
S.W.: Why do you wear that ribbon?
J.W.: What ribbon
S.W.: That black ribbon edged with white.
J.W.: Because I both mourn and rejoice.
S.W.: Why do you both mourn and rejoice?
J.W.: Because Aaron the High Priest mourned and rejoiced.
S.W.: For whom and for what?
J.W.: He mourned for the sins of the people, and rejoiced that he had seen the glory of the Lord.
S.W.: I perceive that you are a Marksman yourself.
J.W.: I am always taken and accepted as such by all Marksmen.
S.W.: Who was the Lord’s first chosen Marksman?
J.W.: Aaron.
S.W.: How was that?
J.W.: Because he wore the two breastplates whereon were engraved, within and without, the names of the twelve tribes of the Children of Israel.
S.W.: Have you the names of the two breastplates?
J.W.: I have.
S.W.: Name them.
J.W.: Urim and Thummim.
S.W.: Have you the entrance password of a Marksman?
J. W.: I have.
S.W.: Will you give it to me?
J.W.: I will if you begin.
S.W.: T...
J.W.: T...
S.W.: S... Did you ever work any?
J.W.: I did.
S.W.: Where?
J.W.: In the tower.
S.W.: Where there?
J.W.: In an inner chamber.
S.W.: Did you receive anything?
J. W.: I did.
S.W.: What did you receive?
J.W.: Wages before the work was done.
S.W.: What were those wages?
J.W.: Twelve stripes.
S.W.: Upon what did you receive them?
J.W.: My naked breech.
S.W.: How did you know there were twelve?
J.W.: Because I counted them in my hour of affliction.
S.W.: For what did you receive them?
J.W.: For disobedience of the Lord’s commands.
S.W.: Did you ever travel any?
J.W.: I did.
S.W.: Where from?
J.W.: The tower to the temple.
S.W.: Why did you leave the tower and travel to the temple?
J.W.: Because the tower was confounded, but the temple was to be dedicated.
S.W.: Have you the central password of a Marksman?
J.W.: I have.
S.W.: Give it to me.
J.W.: T... T... P...
S.W.: How was the temple reared?
J.W.: Without the sound of hammer, axe, or any tool of iron. The stones were hewn in the quarry to fit, and the wood was sawed in the valley of Lebanon.
S.W.: How was it built?
J.W.: Wider above than below.
S.W.: Why?
J.W.: To signify that the heavens are wider than the earth.
S.W.: How was the temple supported?
J.W.: By three pillars.
S.W.: Name them.
J.W.: W..., S... and B...
S.W.: Why W..., S... and B...?

J.W.: W... to contrive, S... to support, and B... to adorn.
S.W.: What do Marksmen stand most in need of?
J.W.: Three great and mighty things.
S.W.: Name them.
J.W.: Faith, Hope and Truth.
S.W.: Why Faith, Hope and Truth?
J.W.: Faith to believe, Hope to be saved, and Truth to be truthful to all men, more especially to a brother Marksman, well known to be such after strict trial and due examination, or who may be vouched for by a well-known Marksman.
S.W.: Have you the great and mighty grand password of a Marksman.
J.W.: I have.
S.W.: Will you give it to me?
J.W.: T...
S.W.: T...
J.W.: T...
S.W.: O...

J.W.: T...
S.W.: C...
J. W.: O...
S. W.: I... Have you a number?
J.W.: I have.
S.W.: What do you take for your number?
J. W.: Thirty-six.
S.W.: Why thirty-six?
J. W.: Because three times twelve are thirty-six.
S.W.: And what does that represent?
J.W.: The T... S..., the T... P... and the T... T... of the C... of I...
The Sir Knight Commander will then give the following
 
 
Charge to the Candidate
 
Sir Knight Commander: Companion, you have now been advanced to the fourth degree of this Ancient and Illustrious Order. You have, in a previous degree, been instructed how our Christian forefathers, the Knights of Malta, were banded together to aid and assist those who desired to visit the holy places at Jerusalem, and their history has been explained to you. It is supposed that during the intervals of peace the Knights: ever keeping in view the grand work of their religion: adopted its a means of cementing the bonds of their brotherhood and instructing one another in the historical truths of the Bible, the conferring of those degrees which have since been handed down to us. Not having, at that early period, the benefits and advantages of the extended circulation of the Scriptures such as we have, the means adopted by them were well calculated to make a durable and lasting Impression on the minds and hearts of the brotherhood.
This degree affords us an instance of the utter futility of man’s work without the guidance of the Great Architect of the Universe. The Tower of Babel: a work of the greatest magnitude: undertaken and carried on by the utmost skill, perseverance, and cunning, but without the sanction and approval of the Almighty, falls to the ground; the workmen are confounded and scattered over the earth; while the temple, inspired by Him, and raised by His wisdom in strength and beauty, was brought to a successful completion. Let us, therefore, be ever mindful of the extreme danger and evil consequences of an over-reliance on our own resources.
We have a duty to perform toward our fellow-workmen in the great labor in which we are engaged.
The Tower of Babel was confounded and razed to the ground; but the Church of Christ, exemplified in the Protestant faith, has been established on a more firm basis, Christ himself being the chief corner-stone. It is our duty as members of that Church, and as defenders of its faith, to guard well her sanctity, and to be ever on the alert to protect her from the emissaries of Rome.
The workman, submitted his work for inspection and received wages according to his deserts; and let us hope that there will be no remission of labor on your part, but that you will endeavor, by the grace of God, to follow the example of the Blessed Redeemer, and that, as a faithful soldier and follower of Him, you will become God’s chosen Marksman, having on the breastplate of righteousness, and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, in anticipation of that happy time when the righteous shall shine forth as the sun in their Heavenly Father’s Kingdom.

 

 

         

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