Ancient Illustrious Order Knights of Malta
Second Degree – The Black Degree

 
First Apartment
Chamber of Reflection
 
At the time set for work the tomb and all properties are ready, chamber darkened The Senior Warden is the only officer appearing in this section and he is in preparation room with working candidate. Funeral march is played and class enters and is seated by class director.
Council Chamber being properly prepared 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.
The Warder then raises the wicket, makes inquiry of the Sentinel, and announces: Sir Knight Commander, there are number.
Sir Knight Commander: Sir Knight Senior Warden, retire, prepare the candidate, and place him in the Chamber of Reflection.
The Senior Warden will then retire and prepare the candidate as follows. He is divested of his outer clothing, and invested with a black robe, and is then blindfolded, The Chamber of Reflection having been prepared, the Senior Warden leads the candidate into it, seals him at the table, and says to him: Companion, you are now seated in the Chamber of Reflection. There is a table in front of you, on which you will find a bowl of pure water and a napkin; wash your hands in the water and dry them on the napkin, in token of the purity of your intentions in the business in which you are engaged. There is also on the table the Holy Bible, that great light in every degree of our order, and a plate of unleavened bread; also nearby a basin of blood with a sprig of byssop therein Read aloud twenty-eight verses of the chapter open before you, then sprinkle the lintel and doorposts with the blood which is in the basin, and partake of the bread, in token of the Passover. On the table you will find a paper upon which are printed three questions. Read aloud these questions carefully, and answer each of them as you see fit, and sign your name. When I give seven distinct raps on the door, you will remove the blindfold and proceed with the duties I have pointed out. When you have performed these, give seven distinct raps and I will return.
The Senior Warden then leaves the Chamber of Reflection and the candidate removes the blindfold, and after having performed the other duties as directed, proceeds to read and answer the following questions:
3. Do you solemnly promise to give of your substance, monies, rules and regulations of this Commandery, as did all valiant Christian Knights who traveled this way before you?
(Answer)                          
2. Have you steadfastly maintained the obligation of the preceding degree; and are you still desirous of furthering the emancipation of our race from every form of error, slavery and idolatry?
(Answer)                         
1. Do you solemnly promise to give to your substance when required, to bury a Sir Knight Companion of this degree as becometh a Christian Knight; do you further promise to assist at the obsequies of such whenever requested by the proper authorities of this Order?
(Answer)                       
Signed                        
 
While principal candidate is in the Chamber of Reflection questions should be distributed to all other candidates and signed by them after which they are collected by the Senior Warden and taken to Sir Knight Commander with the first one.
When the candidate has performed the duties pointed out, he will give seven raps, whereupon the Senior Warden will return to the Chamber of Reflection, and say: Sir Knight Commander, the candidate has answered the usual questions; has performed the customary rites, and in token of his sincerity has made the necessary ablution.
Sir Knight Commander: Sir Knight, present the answers at this station.
Opening and finding all correct:
Sir Knight Commander: Sir Knights, the questions have been answered satisfactorily. The proper officers will retire and introduce the candidate(s).
The Captain General, Senior and Junior Wardens now retire and prepare the candidate still further by putting on him the pilgrim’s hat, placing a pack or knapsack containing the bones upon his back; a token (piece of money) is placed in his left hand, a staff in his right hand and slippers on his feet, and he is again blindfolded.
As candidate slowly retires with Senior Warden, choir sings; “GUARD US AND GUIDE US”
At completion of song, dead march is played and class director retires with the class.
 
 
Ceremony of Instructions
Second Apartment
 
The tomb is taken down and chamber prepared for second section. All the officers assume their stations and parts except Senior Warden and Coffin Bearers who remain in Preparation Room Dim lights Solemn march is played as class returns and is seated Senior Warden enters and salutes Commander.
The Captain General then leaves the candidate in charge of the Senior and Junior Wardens, re-enters the Council Chamber, and announces as follows: Sir Knight Commander the candidate is ready and waiting to be received.
The Captain General then takes his seat, and the Warder gives * * *    * * *    * to signify that the Commandery is prepared for the reception of the candidate. The Senior Warden then conducts the candidate to the door of the Council Chamber, and says: Companions the visitation of the Lord has broken the hearts of our oppressors, our chains have been rent asunder, and our captivity is ended; for tonight there is not a house in all Egypt in which there is not one dead. We are, therefore, going up, as Joseph did foretell, to inherit the goodly lands of our fathers, the land of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob. Are you willing to go up with us?
Candidates answer: I am.
The Senior Warden gives * * *    * * *    * raps, the Warder opens the door and says: Who comes here to disturb the peace and harmony of this duly convoked Black Commandery?
Senior Warden: A worthy Companion who desires to partake of the rights and benefits of this sublime degree, as all valiant and Christian Knights have clone who have gone this way before him.
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 entrance password to the Warder
Warder: The pass is right. Wait until I acquaint the Sir Knight Commander with his request.
The Warder will close the door.
Warder: Sir Knight Commander, there is without a worthy Companion who desires to partake of the rights and benefits of this sublime degree, as all valiant and Christian Knights have done who have gone this way before him.
Sir Knight Commander: What recommendation has he?
Warder: The entrance password of the Black 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 therefore have my command to permit the applicant to enter in due form.
The candidate is then admitted.
Warder, to candidate: What is that in your left hand?
Candidate, prompted: A piece of money.
Warder: Why do you carry money?
Candidate, prompted: To buy a piece of ground.
Warder: For what purpose?
Candidate, prompted: To bury a brother.
Warder: What brother?
Candidate, prompted: Brother Joseph, or any other brother who may stand in need thereof.

Funeral march is played and candidate and offices a move forward, as they pass door of preparation room it opens and officers enter bearing coffin and join procession which proceeds slowly around chamber to place prepared for coffin. It is deposited in place. Music stops.
Prelate: And Moses took the bones of Joseph with him, for he had straitly sworn the children of Israel, saying: God will surely visit you; and ye shall carry up my bones away hence with you.
Senior Warden: Sir Knight Commander, Brother Joseph is dead.
Sir Knight Commander: * * * Sir Knight Commander and Officers advance to coffin forming a semi-circle with Commander and candidate at head of coffin: Sir Knights, as Brother Joseph is dead, it is proper that we who survive should bestow upon his remains the respect to which they are entitled. You will, therefore, assist me in conferring the Grand Funeral Honors on all that is left of our departed brother.
The Grand Funeral Honors are then given.
The mystic cup is on the pedestal at the head of the coffin, Commander takes it up.
Sir Knight Commander: I hold in my hand a cup of peculiar construction, from which upon occasions of this kind, it is customary to drink to the memory of a deceased brother, Ii, on behalf of this Commandery, will now drink to his memory, and, you will afterwards do the same.
In memory of Brother Joseph.
Music by choir: “Lord we come before Thee now”.
Prelate, prayer:
Great God, Father and Creator of us all, we humbly ask Thy beneficent aid and assistance for the widows and orphans of all our deceased. In Christ’s name we ask it
All: Amen. Amen. Amen.
Sir Knight Commander, returns to station, *: Sir Knight Prelate proceed with the reading of the lesson from Holy Writ.
Prelate: 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. Chamber is darkened. Slide of Burning Bush. 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. And Moses said: I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt, and when the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I, and He said, Draw not nigh hither; put off thy shoes from off thy feet; for the place whereon thou standest is Holy ground.
Sandals removed from candidate.
Prelate: Moreover He said, I am the God of thy father. the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look upon God.
Candidate is again blindfolded.
CHOIR: Music, Hymn of Praise, “HOLY, HOLY, HOLY, LORD GOD ALMIGHTY”
Prelate: And the Lord said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their task-masters. Come now, therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.
Prelate: And Moses answered and said, but behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice; for they will say, the Lord bath 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 upon the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from before it.
Candidate casts rod upon the floor.
Lantern slide: Rod changes to serpent.
Prelate: And the Lord said unto Moses, put forth thine hand, and take it by the tail. And he put forth his hand, and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand.
Candidate takes serpent by the tail.
Prelate: That they may believe that the Lord God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath appeared unto thee. And the Lord said furthermore unto him, Put thine hand into thy bosom.
Candidate places his right hand in his bosom: Lantern slide.
Prelate: And he put his hand into his bosom: and when he took it out, behold his hand was leprous as snow.
Prelate: And He said, Put thine hand into thy bosom again.
Candidate places band in bosom second time.
Prelate: 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 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 became blood upon the dry land.
Prelate: And Moses went up into the mount, and a cloud covered the mount. And the glory of the Lord abode upon mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days: and the seventh day he called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud. And the sight of the glory of the Lord was like devouring fire on top of the mount in the eyes of the children of Israel.
The seventh time the candidate succeeds in gaining the top of the mount, when the Prelate reads: And Moses went into the midst of the cloud, and gat him up into the mount; and Moses was in the mount forty days and forty nights.
The tables of the law are now handed to the candidate and he places them in the left arm against his left breast.
Prelate: And God gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of continuing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of stone, written with the finger of God.
The candidate now descends from the mount, and is conducted to the altar with the open Bible or tables of the law in his hands, which he deposits upon the altar and kneels The pack is now taken from his back by the Senior Warden, and the skull and crossbones are placed in proper position upon the altar The Senior Warden will now place the piece of money in the candidate’s left hand. The Sir Knight Commander will then address the candidate as follows: In your present state can you read?
Candidate, prompted: No; but I will pay the Prelate to read for me.
The Prelate will now step to the side of the candidate, who will hand him the piece of money The Prelate then reads.
Prelate: And God spake all these words, saying, I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
Prelate: Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image or any likeness of anything that is in the heavens above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the waters under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; and shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
Prelate: Thou shalt not take thee name or the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh His name in vain.
Prelate: Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor and do all thy work. But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor the stranger that is within thy gates. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day; wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.
Prelate: Honor thy father and thy mother; that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.
Prelate: Thou shalt not kill.
Prelate: Thou shalt not commit adultery.
Prelate: Thou shalt not steal.
Prelate: Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
Prelate: Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his man-servant, nor his maid-servant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is thy neighbor’s.
Sir Knight Commander: Have you kept these laws in their entirety?
Candidate admits that he has not.
Sir Knight Commander: Sir Knight, you have been adjudged guilty of transgression of the whole law in accordance with the inspired declaration: “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” Sir Knight Prelate, you will now proceed.
The Prelate now reads the following, during which the candidate is conducted once around the room (representing the day’s journey that Elijah went into the wilderness), and is laid down under a juniper tree.
Prelate: And Elijah went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree; and lie requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers. And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, then an angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise and eat. And he looked, and behold, there was a cake baken on the coals, and a cruse of water at his head. And he did eat and drink, and laid him down again. And the angel or the Lord came again the second time, and touched him, and said, Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for thee And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God.
The candidate is assisted by the Senior and Junior Wardens to imitate Elijah’s example while the Prelate is reading, and at the proper moment. The candidate is then raised and conducted to the foot of the mount, the Prelate reading: And Elijah said unto Ahab, Get thee up, eat and drink, for there is a sound or abundance of rain. So Ahab went up to eat and drink. And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; and he cast himself down upon the earth, and put his face between his knees, and said to his servant, Go up now, look toward the sea. And he went up, and looked, and said, There is nothing. And he said, Go again seven times. And it came to pass at the seventh time, that he said, Behold, there ariseth a little cloud out of the sea, like a man’s hand. And he said, Go up, say unto Ahab, Prepare thy chariot, and get thee down, that the rain stop thee not. And it came to pass in the meanwhile, that the heaven was black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain. And Ahab rode, and went to Jezreel. And the hand of the Lord was on Elijah ; and he girded up his loins, and ran before Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel.
During the reading of the above lesson by the Prelate, the candidate, assisted by the Senior and Junior Wardens, will ascend the mount, care being taken that his movements correspond with the reading. When he reaches the top of the mount he is asked by the Senior Warden if he can see anything Being blindfolded, he of course replies, No He is then instructed to place his hands upon his knees and look between his legs The blindfold and hat are removed, and he sees the transparency of a hand The Senior Warden then asks: Can you see anything?
Candidate, prompted: A man’s hand
The candidate is now again blindfolded and descends the mount In descending, he receives a slight sprinkling of water to represent the rain, and a noise made to represent thunder. He is then taken to the altar, and placed in position en receive the obligation, by kneeling upon the coffin, with left hand under the Bible, palm up and right hand on top of crossed swords and Bible, palm down.
Sir Knight Commander: * * *
All Companions rise and advance the hailing sign of the Black Degree, and the Sir Knight Commander will administer the following:
 
 
Obligation
 
I, candidate gives full name, do solemnly and sincerely swear, that I will keep inviolate all signs, words, tokens and secret mysteries or this illustrious degree, and will never reveal the same to anyone not entitled to receive them, and that I will not write, print or engrave them without proper authority from the Supreme Grand Commandery of the Continent of America. That I will not be present at the initiation of any candidate into the mysteries of the Black Degree, except it be in a duly convoked Commandery of Knights of Malta, stationed under a regularly constituted warrant, nor except there be present at least a quorum, unless authorized so to do by dispensation from the Supreme Commander of the Grand Commander having immediate jurisdiction. I do further promise and swear, that I will not violate the chastity of the wife, widow, mother, sister, or daughter of a Sir Knight Companion of this Order, knowing her to be such, nor suffer it to be done by another, if in my power to prevent. That I will keep secure and inviolable in my breast the counsels of a Sir Knight Companion of this degree, given to me as such; and that my word given to a Sir Knight Companion of this degree, as such, will be as truthful and obligatory as my oath. That I will not wrong, cheat, nor defraud a Sir Knight Companion of this degree to any extent even to the small value of a Roman penny. All this I do most solemnly swear, and if at any time I should wilfully violate this obligation, may my light be put out from among the members of this Illustrious Order I pray Thee great God, Father and Creator of us all help me to faithfully perform these and all other duties inculcated by Christian Knighthood. Amen.
Officers: Amen. Amen. Amen,
Sir Knight Commander: Kiss the Holy Bible.
Music by choir: BLEST BE THE TIE THAT BINDS”
Sir Knight Commander gives *, all be seated.
All lights out but altar.
Sir Knight Commander to candidate: 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, and God divided the light from the darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not.
The blindfold is instantly removed from the candidate’s eyes by the Senior Warden, and he sees twelve lights in triangular form.
Sir Knight Commander to candidate: How many lights do you see on the triangle before you?
Candidate, after counting them: Twelve.
Sir Knight Commander: Extinguish one of the lights.
The candidate does so.
Sir Knight Commander:
How many lights do you now see?
Candidate: Eleven.
Sir Knight Commander: The twelve lights you saw at first represented the twelve sons of Jacob, the twelve tribes of the children of Israel, or the twelve Apostles of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. The equilateral triangle on which they rest is emblematical of the Holy Trinity, or mystical unity of the Godhead. The light you have just put out represents Joseph, who was sold into Egypt from among his brethren, or Judas Iscariot, who betrayed his Lord and Master. It also represents to you, that, should you ever betray any trust that is now or may hereafter be reposed in you, your light will be put out from among the members of this Illustrious Order. Restore the light.
Candidate does so. All Commandery lights come on.
Sir Knight Commander: I trust, Sir Knight that your light will never be put out in this Illustrious Order. The emblems you see before you, pointing to the skull and cross-bones, are the emblems of mortality. They are placed there to incite us to make necessary preparations for eternity, so that whenever it shall please Almighty God to call us hence, we may be prepared to meet him.
Sir Knight Commander: Let all Knights of the Black Degree arise and be witness to the confirmation of these Christian Knights. Let all candidates kneel and be prepared to be confirmed as Christian Knights of this Black Degree.
Confirmation is made by placing the bones in form of a cross on the candidates head by the Senior Warden and the Commander sprinkles a little water from the skull, on the head of the candidate. In cases of a number of candidates the other officers assist in sprinkling a number of candidates at same time as Commander repeats confirmation.
Sir Knight Commander: In recognition of your Christian profession, I do hereby receive you into the bosom of this degree and confirm you as a Knight according to ancient rite, rule and custom.
Officers: Amen. Amen. Amen.
Music by choir: ”ALLELUJA! ALLELUJA! ALLELUJA! Class be seated.
Sir Knight Commander, extending right hand to candidate: If thy heart be unto mine as mine is unto thine, stretch forth thy hand and show thy zeal for the Lord.
The Sir Knight stretches forth his hand, but has it withdrawn by the Senior Warden.
Sir Knight Commander: Why halt ye so long between two opinions? If the Lord be God, follow Him. If Baal, follow him. The Lord He is the God. The Lord He is the God; follow ye Him.
Arise, Sir Knight Companion of the Black Degree.
The Sir Knight Commander then instructs the candidate in the manner of giving and using the grip in the Black Degree.
The candidate is then conducted to a seat immediately in front of the Sir Knight Commander, when that officer gives him the following instructions: Sir Knight Companion, the grip and the manner of using it having been exemplified, I will now instruct you in the passwords, signs and ceremonies of this sublime degree, and in so much of the secret customs appertaining to the Order as you are now entitled to.
In the Black Degree there are three passwords and four signs.
The three passwords required to gain admission are the semi-annual, entrance, and inside or central.
The entrance password giving it is given by a companion to the Sentinel when he is desirous of entering the Council Chamber and the inside or central password giving it is given to the Warder after having gained admission thereto.
The four signs are the hailing, the distress, the Ancient Black sign and the sign of recognition.
The hailing sign giving it signifies that the hand of God is manifest in all animate and inanimate nature.
The distress sign giving it denotes the chains of bondage with which our ancient forefathers, the Knights of Malta, were bound when taken captive on going up to fight against Turks and infidels, in defense of Christianity.
In case this sign cannot he given, the following interrogatory is used ...?
The answer being ...
It represents the trials and vicissitudes of life, and reminds its that the Christian’s warfare is not all triumphs but of times humiliation and bonds.
The ancient black sign giving it represents the position you assumed when on the mount and looking toward the sea.
The sign of recognition is ...
The answer is ...
The following interrogatory is sometimes used in connection with the grip.
What is a ...?
The answer is ...
The grand funeral honors giving them are, as you see, the ancient Black sign, the distress sign and the hailing sign of the Black Degree accompanied by the right hand in the same manner, and signify that one of my brethren has been taken captive by death or the grave.
Sir Knight Commander: Sir Knight Companions, the number of the Black Degree is seven. It is also the number of raps given at the inner door of the Commandery when a Companion desires to enter same, the Commandery being at labor in the Black Degree.
On your admission to our Order you were clothed with an apron, the signification of which was then explained to you. Our Senior Warden will again invest you with the same badge, on which in addition to the symbols previously conferred, you will find the emblems of mortality, triangle and twelve lights. The emblems, Sir Knight, are to remind us that the lot of brother Joseph surely awaiteth all of us, but that we may triumph over the grave through faith in and strong reliance upon Jesus Christ our Saviour, and by due observance of those rules of life which are laid down for our guidance in the inspired writings of the Apostles.
Sir Knights, you will now pay attention to the lecture of this degree given by the Senior and Junior Wardens, and which von are required to memorize prior to your further advancement in the Order. Proper officers will be assigned for your instruction.
 
 
Lecture
 
Senior Warden: Why do you wear that Black Robe?
Junior Warden: Because I am in mourning.
Senior Warden: For whom are von in mourning?
Junior Warden: Brother Joseph.
Senior Warden: I perceive by this you are a Companion of the Black Degree?
Junior Warden: I am always taken and accepted as such by all duly and regularly initiated Sir Knight Companions of that degree.
Senior Warden: Have you the entrance password?
Junior Warden: I have.
Senior Warden: Will you give it to me?
Junior Warden: I will if you will begin.
Senior Warden: M...
Junior Warden: S...
Senior Warden: M...
Senior Warden: What had you in your hand?
Junior Warden: A piece of money.
Senior Warden: What were you going to do with that piece of money?
Junior Warden: Purchase a piece of ground.
Senior Warden: For what purpose?
Junior Warden: To bury a brother.
Senior Warden: Where were you from?
Junior Warden: The plains of Midian.
Senior Warden: And whither were you going?
Junior Warden: To the backside of the desert, even to God’s holy mount, Horeb.
Senior Warden: How did you expect to get there?
Junior Warden: By the benefit of a password.
Senior Warden: Have you that password?
Junior Warden: Who are you?
Senior Warden: I am.
Junior Warden: That I am.
Senior Warden: Pass on.
Senior Warden: When on your travels did you see anything?
Junior Warden: A great and amazing sight. A bush burning yet unconsumed.
Senior Warden: Did you hear anything?
Junior Warden: A voice saying, “Draw not nigh hither, Moses, but cast the shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground,” and I did so.
Senior Warden: Have you a number?
Junior Warden: Seven.
Senior Warden: Why seven?

Junior Warden: Seven times I ascended the mountain in search of knowledge. Six times my faith failed me; but the seventh time, my faith being stronger, I gained the top and obtained it.
Senior Warden: How were you further dealt with?
Junior Warden: I was led before some throne or holy altar.
Senior Warden: What were you asked?
Junior Warden: If I could read.
Senior Warden: Could you read?
Junior Warden: No, but I paid a Prelate to read for me, who read a portion of scripture, wherein he found me guilty of all that was laid to my charge.
Senior Warden: Did Elijah command his servant to do anything?
Junior Warden: He did. To go seven times to the top of Mount Carmel, and look toward the sea. Six times he went up and saw nothing; but the seventh time he ascended he placed his hands upon his knees, and looked between his legs, and behold there was a small cloud arising out of the sea in the shape of a man’s hand; and the heavens were dark with clouds, and there were signs of abundance of rain.
Senior Warden: On your advancement to this degree, how were you further dealt with?
Junior Warden: I was led a second time before some throne or holy altar.
Senior Warden: What was there demanded of you?
Junior Warden: What I stood most in need of, and I answered “Light,” which I received at the hands of a Sir Knight Companion of this degree.
Senior Warden: On being brought to light how many lights presented themselves to your view?
Junior Warden: Twelve, representing the twelve sons of Jacob, the twelve tribes of the children of Israel, or the twelve Apostles of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Senior Warden: What were von then commanded to do?
Junior Warden: To extinguish one of the lights and afterwards to restore it.
Senior Warden: What did the extinguished light represent?
Junior Warden: Joseph, who was sold into Egypt from amongst his brethren, or Judas Iscariot, who betrayed his Lord and Master. It also represents to me that should I ever betray any trust then or thereafter reposed in me, my light would be put out from amongst the members of this Illustrious Order.
Senior Warden: Have you the grip and mighty grand password of this degree?
Junior Warden: I have.
Senior Warden: Then, if thy heart be unto mine as mine is unto thine, stretch forth thy hand, and show thy zeal for the Lord.
Junior Warden advance grip but draw back.
Senior Warden: Why halt ye so long between two opinions? If the Lord be God, follow Him; if Baal, follow him.
Senior and Junior Warden advance grip, give it and say together: The Lord He is the God, the Lord He is the God, follow ye Him.
Senior Warden: Have you the distress sign of a Knight of Malta?
Junior Warden: I have and will give it if you will tell me when and where it should be given.
Senior Warden: It should nowhere he given except in a duly convoked Commandery, for the instruction of a Sir Knight Companion, or in case of extreme distress or danger.
Junior Warden gives distress sign.
Senior Warden: In case this sign cannot be given, what interrogatory is used?
Junior Warden: Is there no generous person here?
Senior Warden: The answer is?
Junior Warden: A friend at hand.
Sir Knight Commander: Sir Knight Companions I will now instruct you concerning the use of the passwords and general customs of the Order.
In entering a Commandery of Knights of Malta, you give eight raps at the outer door, which are responded to by six raps from the Sentinel, to whom you give this password giving it to the candidate privately which is the semi-annual password for the present term. This will obtain for you admission to the preparation room, where you will clothe yourself with the insignia pertaining to your rank. When you desire to enter the Council Chamber, you will also give the Sentinel the grip and entrance password of the degree in which the Commandery is at labor, together with your name and the number of the Commandery to which you belong. After receiving from you the necessary grip and password, the Sentinel will give the proper raps at the inner door. If the Warder answers by one rap, it is an indication that the door of the Council Chain. her cannot be opened. When the business on hand is concluded, the Sentinel will be notified by the proper raps from the Warder.
If, however, there is no special business before the Commandery, the Warder will address the Sir Knight Commander as follows: Sir Knight Commander, there is an alarm from the Sentinel.
To which the Sir Knight Commander will respond: Ascertain the cause.
The Warder will then open the wicket and receive from the Sentinel the necessary information, which he will report to the Sir Knight Commander, who will say: “Admit him, if correct and properly clothed.”
You will then enter the Council Chamber and present the Warder with the grip and the inside or central password of the degree in which the Commandery is at labor, advance to the center of the Council Chamber and salute the Sir Knight Commander with the sword and hailing sign of the Knight of Malta Degree, thus giving it. The Sir Knight Commander may say: Sir Knight how came you to gain admission to the centre of this duly convoked Commandery of Knights of Malta?
To which you reply: By the benefit of the grip and passwords of this degree, and by passing the Guards on the right and left of the door of entrance.
The Sir Knight Commander will then say: It is required of you to advance the hailing sign of this degree and proceed with the grand countersign.
The hailing sign of the degree in which the Commandery is then at labor is advanced, the grand countersign is divided and the Sir Knight Commander responds with the same sign, and you take your seat.
In case the Sir Knight Commander desires to dispense with the preceding dialogue, he will at once recognize you by advancing the hailing sign of the degree in which the Commandery is then at labor, which you will answer by returning the same sign, and take your seat without further challenge.
Should you wish to retire from a Commandery, after having obtained permission to do so, advance to the altar, salute the Sir Knight Commander with the hailing sign of the degree in which the Commandery is at labor. This being responded to, the Warder will permit you to withdraw.
In visiting any Commandery where your identity as a member of the Order, or of any degree, is not known, you will not be entitled to take your seat in the Council Chamber until after a strict trial and due examination by the proper officers in the signs, grips, passwords, and ceremonies of the degrees you claim to have received. The officers will deposit carelessly, on a chair or table, a Bible, and swords which you will place in proper position, thus putting them in position, see cipher, after which they will administer to you the following vow:
“I, with name, do solemnly swear that I have received the naming the degrees received degrees in a duly convoked Commandery of Knights of Malta, stationed under a regularly constituted warrant, and that I am not a suspended or expelled Sir Knight. So help me God.”
In case any person claiming membership fails to place the Holy Bible and swords in proper position, according to the usages of the Order, or if the said person refuses to take the obligation, he will be refused admittance into our Commanderies.
Sir Knight, I will now instruct you in the use of the gavel. Two raps * * giving them bring the officers or any officer designated to his feet. Three raps * * * giving them raise the whole Commandery, and one rap does not give it seats it, or dismisses it from duty.
I now call your attention to a very solemn and serious subject. The obligations which you have taken are not mere promises. You have taken those obligations voluntarily, and it is my duty to admonish you as to the serious nature of what von have now sworn. You there see before you the emblems of mortality. That skull and crossbones: emblematic of the hones of Joseph, which were carried by his brethren to the promised land:  were once portions of the human body, and, animated with flesh and blood, stood up in life as full of vigor and health as any who stand here tonight. The day, my Companions, is not far distant when we who now enjoy health and strength, shall be reduced to the same form as those sacred relics. But how wonderful and incomprehensible the power of the Almighty! How cheering and happy the belief in a glorious resurrection, and that when the last trumpet shall sound and the graves shall give up their dead, not only those patriarchs of old, but all the human race, of every kindred creed and tongue, shall in their spiritual bodies, and arrayed in immortality, stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
May we then all be found worthy to enter the habitation of the Blest, and join in the Universal shout “The Lord He is God! The Lord He is God!” Follow ye Him. Amen. Amen. Amen.
Sir Knights Senior and Junior Wardens * * retire to the preparation room with our newly confirmed Sir Knight and assist him to properly work his way into the Council Chamber.
The Senior and Junior Wardens will do as directed, after which the Sir Knight Commander will declare the Commandery at ease for congratulations.


 

 

         

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