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W. M. Give me the historical acount of this degree?
S. W. At the building of King Solomon's Temple, the valuable and curious key stone, containing many valuable coins and the ten letters in precious stone work which Hiram Abiff took so much pains to complete, was lost, supposed to have been taken away by some of the workmen, and a reward was offered by King Solomon for the speedy finding or making of another to fit the place. An ingenious Entered Apprentice made one and fixed it in the vacancy in the arch, which being known to some of the Fellow Crafts, they conceived it a disgrace to their order to let an inferior degree bear the palm of honour. They, therefore, in the heat of jealousy, took it and threw it into the Brook Kedron adjacent to the Temple. A reward was also offered for the finding of this second stone, which excited the brother that bad made it to go, with two other entered apprentices, in pursuit of it, and when they had found it, they received equally among them the last reward and with it the degree of a Fellow Craft. The Brother who made it, received the first reward to his own share for his ingenuity, and had the honour with his two companions to fix it the second time in the arch, previous to which, the brother who made it cut on the under side the word Amasaphus ; and in addition to his former rewards, he was honoured with the degree of Mark Man, which is done by going round the lodge of a mark man and putting in his hands as a fellow craft to receive his wages. He is desired to state on what ground he claims those honours, and, having informed them of his discovery and what he had made, they then acknowledge his claim to be just, and he, being desired to fetch the said key stone, he finds in his way to the arch, by kicking against the ring of it concealed under ground, the original key stone that Hiram Abiff had made, with the proper characters and signatures on it. He is then taught to put in his hands in due form for the payment of his wages, after which he receives the secrets of this degree,
W. M. Brethren, I now crave your assistance in closing this lodge of mark men. TAE BRETHREN STAND ROUND THE LODGE IN DUE-FORM.
W. M. Brother Senior Warden, what is the internal signal for closing this order ?
S. W. Three reports varying in the sound.
S. W. Immediately after all the brethren of this degree have given the proper sign.
W. M. Brethren, be pleased to give me the sign. (The reports are then given.)
W, M. Why are those reports given?
S. W. As a perpetual memorial of the labour of our ancient" brethren in the three famous places where the materials of the Temple were prepared :—the Quarries of Tyre, the Forests of Lebanon, and the clay ground of the Jordan between Succoth and Zarthan.
W. M. To what do the reports further allude ?
W, M. Then brethren, as the master of that class, I declare this lodge duly closed, till our Fellow Craft brethren have furnished us with fresh materials to be MARKED and PASSED to the spot on which we intend to erect a building to the service of the Grand Architect of Heaven and Earth.
DESCRIPTION OF THE DEGREE OF MARK MASTER. The opening of the lodge in this degree exhibits nothing different from that of the others, but in the distinctive sign, word, token and knocking.
LECTURE OR CATECHISM. W. M. Brother Senior Warden, you will describe the form of preparation that the candidate has to undergo in this degree?
S. W. He is first prepared in the character of a Master Mason with this additional characteristic on his apron, the H. T. is reversed and in the ancient masonic form.
W: M. For what reason is he so prepared ?
S. W. To point out the chief duties that this class of workmen had to perform when the materials were brought to them to be marked and passed in due form. · W. M, In what manner did you enter the lodge after your preparation ?
S. W. With five reports and all of them distinct and loud.
W. M. There is a second reason for this branch of the cereinony?
S. w. In allusion to the peculiar number and class of workmen employed in and about that magnificient building in the 'holy city of Jerusalem.
W. M. Having gained your admission how were you dealt with in this degree of a Mark Master ?
S. W. I was conducted round the lodge five times.
S. W. To point out to me, that, without the full enjoyment of the five external senses, I could not have received the privileges of this degree.
W. M. In what manner were you proved as to the possession of those senses ?
S. W. After traversing from west to east, I was commanded to kneel to hear and receive the benefit of the prayer; and having been taught to repeat it from the delivery of the proper officer, my possession of this faculty was fully ackvowledged.
In the second round, the holy bible was presented to me, from which I was desired to read that passage where the word of a Master Mason is to be found. This ceremony proved the faculty of seeing.
In the third round, the compasses were opened at an angle of ninety degrees and applied from the guttural to the pectoral part of my body, till my countenance, on some particular emotion, denoted, that I retained the noble faculty of feeling.
In the fourth round, the pot of manna was presented to me, and having partaken of its contents and declared the same good, the proper officer acknowledged my possession of the faculty of tasting.
I was then delivered over to the Senior Warden, who kindly conducted me round, for the last probation, to the Right Worshipful Master in the east, where, standing in due form behind the sacred altar, I was taught to kneel before the pot of incense: being commanded to pronounce its contents, I was acknowledged by the master, to be in possession of all the five external senses, and was accordingly passed, in due form, to receive the further ceremony of this degree.
W. M. What was the chief thing that entitled you to the sacred mysteries of this order?
S. W. My free acceptance of the great and solemn obligation (He then seals the sacred obligation by pressing the holy bible to his lips five times, and is raised from the foot of the altar, in due ancient form, both hands on the Holy Bible, &c.)
W. M. Having now, by the most solemn ties of honour, fidelity and brotherly love, bound yourself to the religious performance of your sacred test what was your reward for that voluntary sacrifice?
S. W. The communication of its sacred mysteries.
S. W. In commemmoration of the signal used by the ancient brethren of this order, at the erection of that famous Temple in the holy city of Jerusalem, by our most excellent grand master, Solomon King of Israel.
W. M. What was that signal.
T. W. The celebrated Light House on the highest part of Mount Lebanon.
W. M. For what purpose was it there set up?
S. W. To guide and direct the ancient mariners employed in fetching Gold, Ivory, and precious stones from Ophir, for the ornamental parts of the Temple,
W. M. What does the token denote?
S. W. Another of the penal laws of ancient Tyre united with the link of a Mark Master.
W. M. What does the word denote?
S. W. To one of the names of the almighty creator of heaven and earth, which name, with all its glorious attributes, King Solomon caused to be entirely displayed in the centre of his audience chamber. It was this grand ineffable name, with all its glorious attributes subjoined, and aided by the admirable eloquence and wisdom of Solomon, that wrought the conversion of his noble friend and ally the great and learned King of Tyre; and which he in conjunction with Solomon and our grand superintendant, Hiram Abiff, conferred on the brethren of this degree, as one of their distinguishing characteristics.
W. M. What was the original number of Mark Masters at the building of the first glorious Temple of Jerusalem ?
S. W. One thousand.
W. M. How many lodges were there in this degree during the building of King Solomon's Temple ?
S. W. Twenty.
S. W. To re-examine the materials, after they were brought to Jerusalem, that every part might duly correspond and prevent confusion and mistake, when they were employed in fitting the respective parts to their proper places, and by their additional, marks, in the form of an equilateral triangle, they proved and fully passed the work previously examined by the Mark Men.
W. M. What were the marks or characters used by the brethren of this degree?
Here the Brother instead of answering in the usual manner, gives the division of the Tau, in the ancient and masonic characters, formed by his hands thus L 'and the Right worshipful Master answers him with his Hiram in a similar manner. This point corroborates what I have said. on the Tau in the other de. gree,
W. M. How many Mark Masters were there employed in the Quarries of Tyre?
S. W. Seven hundred.
S. W. Twenty five shekels, equal to 3£ 2s. 6d. of our money.
W. M. What was the sum total paid to this class of workmen at the building of the first Temple at Jerusalem?
S. W. Thirty-one millions, one hundred and twenty-eight thousand, seven hundred and fifty pounds. (Hurra! for Solomon and his masons! masons can fabricate lies as well as Temples, R. C.
W. M. What was delineated on that ancient coin ?
S. W. The same as on that of the Mark Man, with the addition of the proper signature.
W. M. Brethren, I now crave your assistance to close this lodge. (They rise and stand in due order as Mark Masters.) Brother Senior Warden, what is the internal signal for closing this degree.
S. W. Five reports.
S. W. Immediately after the brethren have all given the sign of this degree.
W, M. Let that sign be given (it is given and the reports or kpocks follow.) why are these reports given ?
S. W. In allusion to the five points of Fellowship.
S. W. The five noble offerings for the glorious temple of Jerusalem. First the grand offering of Araunah the Jebusite on the holy Mount Moriah. Second, the noble offering of King David. Third, the princely offering of King Solomon. Fourth, the mariner's and voluntary offering of the princes ond mighty mien of Jerusalem. And, lastly, the magnificient offering of the celebraied Queen of Sheba
W. M. What is the third allusion of these reports at the close of the lodge?
S. W. To the class of workmen that composed this order.
W. M. Then, Brethren, as master of that class, I declare this lodge duly closed, until our Brethren have furnished us with fresh materials for labour in our mystical science of free and accepted masonry.