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master of the ceremonies represents Zerbel or Beneia, Captain of King Solomon's Guards. He is decorated with a green ribbon round his neck, in the form of a collar, to which is hung a pair of compasses, the points of which form an angle of ninety degrees; which is the jewel of this degree. His apron is white lined with green, and he carries a naked sword in his hand. All the brethren are decorated in the same manner with Zerbel, with a similar collar, jewel and apron; the flaps of the apron down, and the jewel embroidered or painted thereon. In the middle of the apartment are painted, four circles on a square stone, with the letter I in the centre; the outer circle enclosing the other three.
Form of opening the lodge. T. P. I. R. W. M. Brother Inspector Stolkin, is the lodge tiled and are we all Perfect Masters?
S. Thrice Puissant, Illustrious, Respectable, and Worshipful Master; it is, and we are all Perfect Masters.
T. P. I. R. W. M. If so, give notice that I am about to open the lodge of Perfect Masters?
S. Respectable brethren, the Thrice Puissant, Illustrious, Respectable and Worshipful Master gives you notice that he is about to open the lodge of Perfect Masters.
As a call to order, the Thrice Puissant, Illustrious, Respectable and Worshipful Master knocks four times; the Inspector does the sanie; and the same is done by one brother in the south and another in the north. Then, all the brethren make the sign of admiration, with their eyes lifted up to heaven, their arms extended and hands open. Then, looking down upon the earth, they cross their arms on their bellies and exclaim altogether : CONSUMMATUM EST.
T. P. I. R. W. M. Brother Stolkin, what is the clock?
T. P. I, R. W. M. If so, it is time for the workmen to begin their labour. Give notice that the lodge of Perfect Masters is opened. The inspector gives this notice and the work begins in a
Reception or Passing. The Candidate or Secret Master being in the preparing room decorated as such, the Master of the Ceremonies moves from his seat in solemn silence, and, striking the Inspector four times on the right shoulder, thus addresses him :-Venerable Brother Inspector, Brother Noodle, a Secret Master, is now in the antichamber and solicits the favour of being admitted a Perfect Master.
The Inspector then reports him to the chair, on which the Thrice Puissant, illustrious, Respectable, and Worshipful Master asks:- Is he deserving of this honour, and do you answer for his zcal, fervour and constancy.
S. Thrice Puissant, Illustrious, Respectable, and Worshipful Master, I do.
T. P. I. R. W. M. Let him, then, be instructed in the usual manner?
The Inspector orders the master of the Ceremonies to go and introduce the candidate, who is to be first examined in the former degrees. He is also divested of his sword and every thing offensive. A green silk cord is thrown round his neck, both ends of which are held by the Master of the Ceremonies in his left hand, with a naked sword in his right. He is thus led to the door of the lodge, on which the M. Č. strikes four times. The Inspector, inside, repeats the four knocks and informs the Lodge that somebody knocks as Perfect Master. The Thrice Puissant, Illustrious, Respectable and Worshipful Master orders the Inspector to enquire who knocks. The Inspector orders the Tyler to open the door cautiously and to enquire who i' is. The Tyler obeys and is answered by Zerbel, that Brother Noodle, a Secret Master, is desirous of being admitted to the honours of a Perfect Master. The Tiler then shuts the door and reports the candidate's request to the Inspector, who communicates it to the Thrice Puissant, Illustrious, Respectable, and Worshipful Master, who orders the candidate to be introduced. The door is opened and he is led to the south side, near the tomb, having the sign of a Secret Master on him. The Thrice Puissant, Illustrious, Respectable, and Worshipful Master, seeing him in that attitude, thus addresses biin :
T. P. I. R. W.M. What do you desire, my brother?
T. P. I. R. W. M. Brother Inspector, teach the Brother to travel.
The Inspector leads him by the green silk cord from the South passing by the west, four times round the lodge. At each angle, he gives the different signs, from the apprentice upward, and does the same every time he passes the Master. After which, he is carried to the tomb, which he is made to cross saltier (by a leap). He is then led up to the altar, with his right knee a little bent, having still the sign of a Secret Master on him. After a short pause, the Thrice Puissant, Illustrious, Respectable and Worshipful Master bids him advance, kneel and lay his hand on the Bible, to take the obligation. The penalty of which is dishonour, in addition to all former obligations and penalties.
The Thrice Puissant, Illustrious, Respectable, and Worshipful Master takes one end of the cord that is round Noodle's neck and draws it off, saying, my dear Brother, I draw you from your vicious life, and by the virtue of the power which I have received from the most powerful of kings, I raise you to the dignity of a Perfect Master, on condition, that you fulfil and faithfully observe every thing that is prescribed by our bye-laws. This Noodle promises to do.
The first sign of this degree is the sign of admiration. Extend your arms, open your hands, and look towards heaven. Then let your hands fall and cross them on your belly as low as you can, with your eyes looking mournfully towards the earth.
The second sign is, to bring the toes of your right foot reciprocally to each other, until the knees touch. Lay your hand on your heart, and then draw it across your breast, forining a square with your elbow.
The third sign is, to clench each others wrist, like the Masters : carry your left hands between each others shoulders and press four times hard with the fingers on the back, when you give the Master's Word, which is Mahabone or Macbenach. Then, interlace the four fingers of your right hand with the thumbs upright, pressing against each other and forming a square.
T'he pass-word is Acassia: the sacred word Jave.
. History of this degree. Solomon, having been informed, that the body of Hiram Abiff was found and already deposited on the outside of the temple, towards the North, near to a well, in which his Jewel had been found, was happy to have the poor consolation of finding the precious remains of so great a man. He gave orders and strict charge to his Grand Inspector, the noble Adoniram, that the funeral obsequies should be as pompous and magnificent as for the king himself. He likewise ordered, that all the brethren should attend it with white aprons and gloves, and strictly forbad that the bloody stains should be washed a way, until he had wreaked his vengeance on the perpetrators of the horrid deed. The noble Adoniram, chief of the works of the temple, soon finished a plan for a beautiful monument, which was erected and finished in nine days. It was made of black and white marble. The heart of Hiram Abiff was enclosed in an urn and exposed for nine days on the three steps of the sanctum sanctorum, previous to the finishing of the temple, and then placed on the top of a beautiful obelisk, which was built on the side of the temple, at the west door a little to the north, in order to mark out the place where the murderers had first deposited him in a pit, before they removed him to the place where Stolkin found him under the sprig of Cassia. The heart of the excellent Hiram Abiff was then exposed to public view in the urn with a sword run through it. The brethren canie to express their grief on the occasion, kneeling on the first step which led to the sanctum sanctorum. At the expiration of nine days, the heart was deposited on the obelisk and covered with a triangular stone, on which was engraved in Hebrew, the characters 1. M. B. The I is the initial letter of the ancient master's word, and M. B. are initials of the new word. A sprig of Cassia was engraved over the I.
After this, Solomon had all the triangular medals taken from the masters, and the master's word changed to that now given in the third degree. The body of the respectable Hiram Abiff was buried in the middle of the great chamber, separated from the temple, with all the honours due to so great a man. It was in this chamber, that Solomon used to hold his chapter and confer with Hiram, King of Tyre and Hiram Abiff, on the sacred mysteries. Three days after the ceremonies were over, Solomon, surrounded by all his court, went to the Temple, and all the workmen were placed in the same order as on the day of the funeral. The king offered up a prayer to the almighty, then examined the tomb, the canopy, the repeated triangle, and the letters which were engraved thereon. He also examined the pyramid, and finding every thing perfectly executed, he cried, in ecstacy-CONSUMMATUM EST.* All the brethren answered with the sign of admiration and said amen, amen, amen.
Catechism. Q. Are you a perfect master?
A. I have seen the circle and the square enclosing the two coJums.
Q. Where were they placed ?
A. On the place where was deposited the body of our Master, Hiram Abiff.
Q. What do the columns represent?
A. The columns of Jachin and Boaz, through which I must have passed to arrive at the degree of perfect master.
Q. What could Solomon mean by establishing this degree?
A. He did it in honour of Hiram Abiff, in order to imprint on the minds of the people an unaffected love and respect for his memory and to incite in them a desire to find out his murderers for, at this time, it was not known if the murderers had not the audaciousness to mix themselves with the brethren and to partake in the general expressions of consternation and grief, in order to conceal their guilt and prevent suspicion. Solomon, to ascertain this, ordered a general muster of all the workmen, and found, that they all answered to their names, excepting the ruffians who had run away. He therefore ordered the noble adoniram to build an elegant monument for him, at the west south west part of the Temple, that there the body should be privately interred, and no brother admitted to the knowledge of it, who was
Pray, Mr. Williams, who taught Latin to this fictious king of Jews, before the language was known in Europe !
not a secret master. The body was also privately embalmed and some time after removed to another apartment, separated from the temple were the King held the chapter. The heart of that great man, after being exposed nine days, on the third step of the sanctum sanctorum, and having received the hcelage of the brethren who knelt on the first step, was then shut up in the urn and fixed on the top of the obelisk, with a sword pierced through it, implying, that such an atrocious deed cried out aloud tor public vengeance.
Q. What instructions have you received from the different degrees through which you have passed ?
A. By them, I have learned to regulate my morals, to cleanse my heart from all stain, in order to qualify myself for the high desire of perfection, at which I hope some day to arrive.
Q. What does the square stone in the middle of the circle mean?
A. It teaches us, that the foundation of our building must be laid on a living rock, of which we are originally formed.
Q. For what are the circles?
A. They are an emblem of the divinity which hath neither beginning nor end.
Q. What do they altogether represent?
A. The creation of the universe, which was accomplished by the will of God and the power which he gave to the primitive qualities.
Q. What do you mean by primitive qualities?
A. I mean heat, cold, and moisture, from the combination of which the four elements sprung.
Q. How came they to be mentioned here?
A. In order to remind us, that God is every where, and, that without the divine influence, no solid building can be raised.
Q. What does the letter I, in the middle of the square stone, signify?
A. It is the initial letter of the Perfect Master's word.
A. It is the name, by which I know the grand architect of the universe.
Q, How have you been received Perfect Master ? .
A, In memory, that I have consented that my heart should be plucked out.
Q. Why had you a rope round your neck ?
A. To teach me that by this humbling power, I must not pride myself in the progress which I make in Masonry and virtue.
Q. How many signs have you ?