« הקודםהמשך »
and gave him. his commission to go to Pharoah and demand the liberation of the Jews from their Egyptian bondage.
W. M. Being obligated and initiated, where were you placed ?
E. M. Behind the veil of the temple, where I was ordered to restore myself to light, which enabled me to find by a most singu lar phenomenon, that I stood upon holy ground.
W. M. With what were you invested ?
E. M. With the distinguishing external of an excellent mason to certify that I stood exalted by my merit above the degree of a Past Master of arts and sciences.
W. M. With what is the Jewel of, this degree ornamented ?
E. M. A star with as many points as will take in the initials of the conjunct words of this order in masonry.
W, M. What is the mark or signature of this degree?
E. M. The three peculiar initials of the redeemer of mankind ?
W.M. What is the Masonic allusion of these three?
E. M. The first alludes to the strongest pillar of Solomon's temple: the second alludes to the grand architect of that temple: and the third to those Masons that performed the operative part.
W. M. Where did the ancient brethren of this order assemble, during the period employed in building that famous religious edifice?
E. M. On one of the famous adjacent mounts, since called mount Sion; but during the dedication of the temple, they assembled for divine worship in the third round of courts.
W. M. What was the original number in this excellent degree?
E. Eighty one masons, formed into nine lodges, with pine in aech lodge.
W. M. why is this degree dedicated to Moses?
E. M. Because he presides over that lodge where those two excellent masons, Aholiab and Bezaleel, performed their pious work in the wilderness, agreeable to the injunction of the almighty, when they were ordered to prepare the furniture and other sacred utensils for the holy tabernacle, which was first set up in the wilderness during the forty years pilgrimage, prior to their entrance into the promised land.
A BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DEGREE OF SUPER
Catechism. W. M, How were you prepared, as a super-excellent Mason?
S. M. I was habited as the High Priest, hoodwinked; and both feet slip-shod. .
W. M. Why habited as the High Priest?
S. M. Because this part of masonry constituted the most solemn part of the employ at Jerusalem, when King Solomon's Temple was erected: namely, to survey all the sacred utensils and ornaments that were to adorn the inner part of the Temple. The most solemn and religious duties of mankind in all ages and countries have ever been appropriated to the priesthood. And Aaron the brother of Moses, being the first high Priest, by command of the Almighty, we prepare our candidates in the habit of High Priest. in commemoration thereof.
W. M. Why were you hoodwinked ?
S. M. In commemoration of the custom of our predecessors, the nine deputy grand masters, the founders of the degree, who met in the holy place, prior to the dedication of the temple from which all natural light was totally excluded and winich only received the aid of that remarkable artificial light, the three great candles, which were kept continually burning, therefore, in commemoration thereof, we are deprived of our natural light, and the first light we afterwards receive is the representation of these three famous great candles, or artificial lights, in this sacred place.
W. M. There is a second reason why you were hoodwinked ?
S. M. Because, in the sanctum sanctorum or holy of holies, there was no other light than the supernatural.
W. M. Why were you slip-shod?
S. M. Because, that part of the Temple in which the brothers of this degree first assembled was called the holy place, and being situated on holy ground, we were, for that reason, slip-shod.
W. M. Being thus prepared, what gained you admission ?
S, M. To advance by six steps, accompanied with their respective signs,
W. M. In what manner were you prepared to receive your new obligation?
S. M. Upon both knees, with my right hand upon the holy Bible, and my left extended with the emblem of my admission.
W. M. Why was your left hand thus employed ?
S, M. Because that emblém, being the double equilateral triangle and containining six sides, denoted the six peculiar branches of the noblest office in the Temple, that I was then called upon to fulfil, namely, first to survey the constitutional rolls previous to their being deposited in the famous archives of masonry: second, the precious stone work : third, the holy place; fourth, the sanctum sanctorum, fifth, the ark of the covenant :
No. 9, Vol. XII.
and, lastly, all the other utensils, and these were emblematically pointed out by the double equilateral triangle.
W, M. Be pleased to deliver the obligation?
(I have not the form of this obligation. Indeed there is no fixed form in these branching degrees of masonry The nex penalty is to lose both arms.)
W. M. Be pleased to advance and give it? (This is dope but the manner is not known to me.
R. C. W. M. To what does it allude?
S. M. To that part of the obligation where that peculiar loss of both the arms constitutes the penalty attached to any voluntary breach thereof.
Finch says here an explanation of the signs in this degree are next given, but I cannot even glance at them without danger of exposing what I dare not commit to paper, but Brothers that belong to this degree cannot be at a loss to know what part of scripture to refer to for a full and beaatiful explanation.)
W. M. Be pleased to deliver the words and their allusion. (This is done in due form, but that form is not known to the writer.)
W. M. In what part of the lodge were you placed ?
S, M. As a point is the smallest portion of geometrical matter, and the circle the largest of any within the plane of its surface, I was thus placed, to represent that point; as one of the smallest particles of created matter, and the Deity was aptly represented by the circle, whose centre is every where, and circumference no where.
W. M. What is the distinguishing mark or signature of this degree?
Š. M, The initials of the four fanious double bodied stars, situated east west, north and south.
W, M, With what is the jewel of this degree ornamented ?
S. M. In the twelve points forming the star are the initials of our distinguishing united words.
W. M. What was the original number of this degree ? .
S, M, Because he was the first priest, who presided over the first most excellent and sacred lodge held in the Tabernacles in the wilderness of Arabia. So also were the brothers of this degree appointed by King Solomon, as super-excellent Masons, to survey all the sacred furniture and jewels of that glorious building, for the same pious purpose as those in the Tabernacle of Moses.
A DESCRIPTION OF THE DEGREE OF NINE
ELECTED KNIGHTS, CALLED BY FINCH, SUBLIME KNIGHTS ELECTED.
Form of the Lodge. The chamber in which this chapter is held represents the apartment in Solomon's Palace, The hangings are red and white columns intermixed and strewed with flames. The master' represents Solomon King of Israel and is stiled the most sovereign, There is but one warden who sits alone in the west representing Stolkin and is called the Inspector. All the rest of the brethren must be in black and placed in the south, as the lights are placed, eight close and one at a distance. When there is a reception, all the brethren, being in mourning, set with their hats flapped, and the right leg over the left, their heads leaning on their right hands, in a doleful character. Their aprons are lined and bordered with black. They wear a broad black ribbon from their loft shoulder to their right hip, on the breast of which are painted three heads of fear and terror. A poignard hangs to this ribbon with nine red roses painted on it near the bottom, four on each side and one in the centre. Each brother has a naked poignard lying at his feet. The plan of the draft of the lodge or chapter is an oblong square, at the upper part of which, to the right, is drawn, the city of Jerusalem. At the left is represented a cave near the sea side, and the River Joppa, surrounded with rocks, in which a man is seen, lying with his head on a rock, a lamp burning by him, a poignard at his feet, a running stream of water and a cup. Over the mountain, the setting sun is seen,' In the middle of the draft appears a bush, which seems to be on fire, occasioned by the reflection of a rainbow. A brilliant star is fixed immediately over the cave, to point out the retreat of the murderér. On the draft is likewise seen, a winding road which leads from Jerusalem to Joppa. On this road, a dog is seen near to the cave, which is the figure under which the unknown person is drawn, A man closely follows, and, at a distance, are seen, eight other men walking without order, Near the room where this chapter is held, there must be a small room made to represent a cave, and a large stone in it for the candidate to sit upon, a little table with a lamp lighted, and, under it, the word REVENGE written, A poignard lies on the table, a spring or fountain runs in the room, a cup to drink out of, and an effigy of a man asleep:
In this chapter, the sovereign sits under a canopy, in an eleva.. ted chair of state covered with black. Before him stands a table covered with black and a fiery coloured carpet, on which is a bible, a sceptre and a dagger*. Solomon strikes with his sceptre, and Stolkin strikes with his poignard, which he holds in his hand, as a symbol of revenge.
Form of opening.
A, One cavern received me, one lamp gave me light and one spring refreshed me.
Q. What is the clock?
The master knocks 8 and 1. The inspector initiates hiin, and the brethren clap the same number with their hands. The master says-- This chapter is opened.
Form of reception. The Master of the Ceremonies brings the candidate to the door, knocks 8 and 1, which are repeated by the master, all the brethren being in their proper postures. The inspector rises and receives the candidate, whom he brings into the middle of the chamber, opposite to the Thrice Puissant. After a little silence, he is asked by the master:~-What do you want here?
A: I am come to solicit the favour of being initiated into the • degree of the Nine Elected Knights.
Q. What motives induce you to think that you deserve to have the honour conferred upon you.
A. My zeal, fervour and constancy, which I promise shall be doubled hereafter, have made me aspire to this favour.
T.P. M. Learn, my brother, that you are to impute your present admission into this chapter, less to a desire in us to confer this degree upon you, than to an inclination to make a trial of your .conduct and courage, and of your compliance with the obligations which you have contracted in the different degrees through whichi you have already passed. Know, my brother, that, at this moment we have in our power one of the murderers of our respectable master, Hiram Abiff, who groans under the enormity of his guilt and expects every instant to undergo the rigorous torture which his crimes justly merit, to serve as an example to deter others. This I have learnt from a stranger, who will conduct those I send to the place where the miscreant is hidden. . My dear brother, this chapter is fully convinced of your zeal and is much disposed to confer higher degrees on you. So, now, the opportunity offers, of your being the first to revenge the craft, by bringing this villain to condign punishment, if possible, adequate
* A very becoming emblem of the Trinity in Unity. We have daggerwork and revenge here approaching somewhat to the French Degree of Kadosh.