The Web of Hiram

University of Bradford
Home Lectures of the Craft Lectures of the Holy Royal Arch Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite The Royal Order of Scotland York Rite Side Degrees English Knights Templar Order of Women Freemasons Walter Leslie Wilmshurst

Degrees of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite

4. Secret Master

5. Perfect Master

6. Intimate Secretary

7. Provost and Judge

8. Intendant of Buildings

9. Master Elect of Nine

10. Master Elect of Fifteen

11. Sublime Master Elected

12. Grand Master Architect

13. Royal Arch of Enoch

14. Grand Elect, Perfect and Sublime Master Mason

15. Knight of the East or Sword

16. Prince of Jerusalem

17. Knights of the East and West

18. Knight of the Rose-Croix de Heredom

19. Grand Pontiff

20. Grand Master of all Symbolic Lodges

21. Noachite or Prussian Knight

22. Knight of the Royal Axe

23. Chief of the Tabernacle

24. Prince of the Tabernacle

25. Knight of the Brazen Serpent

26. Prince of Mercy

27 Commander of the Temple

28. Knight of the Sun

29. Knight of St Andrew, or Patriarch of the Crusades

30. Knight Kadosh

31. Grand Inspector Commander

32. Sublime Prince of the Royal Secret.

33. Inspector-General




The Twentieth Grade of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish rite and the Second Degree of the Historical and Philosophical Series


The duties, powers and privileges of a Master in opening and closing a Lodge and conducting the work are herein defined. The right of supervision over subordinates, the personal representation of specific virtues, the definition of titles, etc., are also herein designated ; and the true position and relationship of the officers, to each other are given. Further, that the right to govern in a Lodge is not only that acquired by a formal selection through the suffrages of the brethren, and a subsequent installation, but by the power of Masonic intelligence attained, through patient labour and the study of Masonic law, and of the true understanding and ability to teach the tenets, doctrines, and symbolic legends of the Order. Exemplification is given in brief, but much important instruction of the true manner of conferring degrees in the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite is impressed upon the candidate ; and he is charged, as a Master of all Symbolic Lodges, to preserve Masonry in its primitive purity.


But one apartment is needed, and the assembly is styled a Lodge; the hangings are blue and gold. In the East is a throne, ascended by nine steps, and is surmounted by a canopy. Over the East, lighting the Lodge, is a glory surrounding a triangle, in the centre of which are the words "Fiat lux." In the centre of the room is the triangular altar, on which rest a Bible, Square, Compass, Sword, and Mallet. The altar has three columns about it, forming a triangle, on which are these words: on that in the East, "TRUTH;" on that in the West, "JUSTICE;" on that in the South, "TOLERATION."

The rough and smooth ashlars and working-tools of a Symbolic Lodge are disposed about the apartment. The Lodge is lighted by nine lights of yellow wax, in a candlestick with nine branches, placed between the altar and the South; the lights are arranged in three triangles, one within the other.


Venerable Grand Master is stationed in the East.

Senior Warden West.

Junior Warden South.

Orator North.

Treasurer is stationed as in a Symbolic Lodge.


Senior Deacon

Junior Deacon

Hospitaller is stationed to the left of Senior Warden.

A Lodge cannot be opened with less than nine members. The brethren are sometimes termed Grand Masters.

Apron - Yellow, bordered and lined with blue; in the centre of the area are three equilateral triangles, one within the other, with the initial letters of the nine great lights in the corners, arranged as follows: At the apex of the outer triangle, the letter C; at the righthand corner above, G;, at the left-hand. corner, V; at the apex of the middle triangle, H; and at the right and left hand corners, P and H; at the apex of the inner triangle, the letter T, and at the right and left hand corners, T and J. In the centre of the inner triangle is the Tetragrammaton, and across it, from below upward, the words "Fiat lux."

Cordon-A broad sash of yellow and blue, passing from the left shoulder to the right hip.

Jewel - Of gold; upon it the triangles, letters, and words, as upon the area of the Apron.

Battery - ** - *



The Apron, my brother, with which I now invest you is triangular in shape, as indeed are all the aprons used in this Order. It is unnecessary to state to you that its form relates to the fourth great light, which reminds us of the Deity and his attributes; the yellow relates to the superiority of the grade, while the blue border and lining is the emblem of Truth, which encompasses it; the triple triangle on the area exhibits the threefold power of God, and their angles the nine great lights, with the initial letter of each 'm the respective corners; the Tetragrammaton, crossed by the words, " Fiat lux,," in the centre of the triangle, needs no explanation.

The Cordon is yellow and blue, for reasons already set forth in describing the apron.

The Jewel, also, is described by the representation on the area of the apron.

I now present you with this Gavel, as a symbol of a Grand Master of all Symbolic Lodges of our Order: remembering you are a Master Ad Vitam, or for life - that is, during your mortal existence and your correct Masonic deportment in life - you are entitled to assume the gavel in all Symbolic Lodges of the Ancient and Accepted Rite, providing there are none present superior to you in rank; but never fail to keep in mind the three requisites of a Master - Toleration, Justice, and Truth. As the presiding officer of a Lodge, it will be your particular duty to dispense light and knowledge to the brethren. That duty is not performed - nor is that which the old charges require, that, at opening and closing, the Master shall give, or cause to be given a lecture, or part of a lecture, for the instruction of the brethren - by asking and receiving the answers to three or four merely formal and trivial questions. On the contrary, that duty is far higher and more important; and it behooves the Master to be prepared to perform it. Nor should any one accept the office of Master, until, by acquaintance and familiarity with the history, morals, and philosophy of Masonry, he is fitted to enlighten and instruct his brethren. That you may ever remember that duty, you will now, under the direction of the Senior Warden, proceed symbolically to perform it, by restoring to us the splendor of our nine great lights in Masonry.


The true Mason, my brother, is a practical philosopher, who, under religious emblems, in all ages adopted by wisdom, builds, upon plans traced by nature and reason, the moral edifice of knowledge. Masonry and Philosophy, without being one and the game thing, have the same object, and propose to themselves the same end - the worship of the Great Architect of the Universe.

As Grand Master of all Symbolic Lodges, it is your especial duty to aid in restoring Masonry to its primitive purity.

You have become an instructor. Masonry long wandered in error. Instead of improving, it degenerated from its primitive simplicity. Less than two hundred years ago its organization was simple and altogether moral; its emblems, allegories, and ceremonies easy to be understood.

Innovators and inventors overturned that primitive simplicity. Ignorance engaged in the work of making degrees, and trifles, and gewgaws, and pretended mysteries, absurd or hideous, usurped the place of Masonic truth .Oaths, out of all proportion with their object, shocked the candidate, and then became ridiculous, and were wholly disregarded. Acolytes were exposed to tests, and compelled to perform acts, which, if real, would have been abominable, but being mere chimeras, were preposterous, and excited contempt. Eight hundred degrees of one kind and another were invented. Infidelity, Hermeticism, Jesuitry, were taught under the mask of Masonry.

The rituals of the regular Orders, copied and imitated by ignorant men, became nonsensical and trivial. Candidates were made to degrade themselves, and to submit to insults not tolerable to a man of spirit and honour. It has even been seriously questioned whether, notwithstanding the beautiful order and systematic arrangement of the degrees in the Ancient and Accepted rite - free as they are from all incongruities, and perfect as the lessons are in the teachings of the various virtues - the number might not advantageously have been reduced, and thus Masonry have been simplified.

In the heterogeneous mass of over eight hundred degrees called Masonry, was found Judaism and chivalry, superstition and philosophy, philanthropy and insane hatred, a pure morality and unjust and illegal revenge, strongly mated, and standing hand in hand within the temples of peace and concord; and the whole system was one grotesque commingling of incongruous things and fine conceptions overlaid and disfigured by absurdities engendered by ignorance, fanaticism, and senseless mysticism.

And empty and sterile pomp, with lofty titles arbitrarily assumed, and to which the inventors had not condescended to attach any explanation that should acquit them of the folly of assuming temporal rank, power, and titles of nobility, made the world laugh and the initiate feel ashamed.

Some titles we retain ; but they have with us meanings entirely consistent with the spirit of equality which is the foundation and peremptory law of its being - of all Masonry. The Knight, with us, is he who devotes his hand, his heart, his brain to the science of Masonry, and professes himself the sworn soldier of Truth. The Prince is he who aims to be chief (princeps) - first or leader - among his equals, in virtue and good deeds. The Sovereign is he who, one of an order whose members are all sovereigns, is supreme only because the law and constitutions are so which he administers, and by which he, like every brother, is governed. The titles, Puissant, Potent, Wise, and Venerable, indicate that power of virtue, intelligence, and wisdom, which those ought to strive to attain who are placed in high office by the suffrages of their brethren; and all our other titles and designations have an esoteric meaning, consistent with modesty and equality, and which those, who receive them should fully understand.

As Master of a Lodge, it is your duty to instruct your brethren that the degrees are all so many constant lessons, teaching the lofty qualifications which are required of those who claim them, and not merely idle gewgaws, worn in ridiculous imitation of the times when the nobles and priests were masters, and the people slaves; and that in all true Masonry, the Knight, the Pontiff, the Prince, and the Sovereign are but the first among their equals; and the Cordon, the Clothing, and the Jewel, but symbols and emblems of the virtues required of all good Masons.

As Master of a Lodge, you will be exceedingly careful that no candidate, in any degree, be required to submit to any degradation whatever, as has been too much the custom in some of the degrees; and take it as a certain and inflexible rule, to which there is no exception, that Masonry requires of no man anything to which a knight and gentleman cannot honourably, and without feeling outraged or humiliated, submit.

The degrees of the Ancient and Accepted rite form a connected system of moral, religious, and philosophical instruction: sectarian of no creed, it has been deemed not improper to use the old allegories based on occurrences detailed in the Hebrew and Christian books, and drawn from the ancient mysteries of Egypt, Persia, Greece, India, the Druids, and the Essenes, as vehicles to communicate the great Masonic truths - as it has used the legends of the Crusades and the ceremonies of the order of knighthood.

The Ancient and Accepted rite of Masonry has now become, what Masonry at first was meant to be - a teacher of great truths, inspired by an upright and enlightened reason, a firm and constant wisdom, and an affectionate and liberal philanthropy.

We teach the truth of none of the legends we recite. They are to us but parables and allegories, involving and enveloping Masonic instruction, and vehicles of useful and interesting information. They teach us wisdom, and the folly of endeavoring to explain to ourselves that which we are not capable of understanding: we reproduce the speculations of the Philosophers, the Kabbalists, the Mystagogues, and the Gnostics. Every one being at liberty to apply our symbols and emblems as he thinks most consistent with truth and reason, and with his own faith, we give them such an interpretation only may be accepted by all. Our degrees may be conferred in France or Turkey; at Pekin, Ispahan, Rome, or Geneva; upon the subject of an absolute government or the citizen of a free State; upon sectarian or theist. To honour the Deity, to regard all men as our brethren and equally beloved by the Supreme Creator of the universe, and to make himself useful to society and himself by his labour, are its teachings to its initiate in all the degrees.

Oh that Temple of God, from the House of the Past, shineth down o'er the centuried years; and my heart, through the veil of the mysteries vast, the voice of King Solomon hears, asking me, with the sign of a Master, why my soul no Temple rears. With the Three Great Lights ever shining above, And the tools of my craft at hand. Why I build no fabric of prayerful love, with the arch of a lifetime spanned; and the wings of embracing cherubs, overbrooding its altars grand.

Oh the House of the Lord that our lives might raise how it gleams from our fair youth-time: How its manifold arches and architraves blaze through the wilderness dust of our Prime. Yet our years, when they moulder to ashes, behold build wrecks sublime. For the House that we build in a lifetime's length. From the midst of our worldly din, hath no Jachin and Boaz, established in strength and no Holy of Holies within; and we bear up no Ark of the Covenant from out of our Desert of Zin.

Oh the Cedars of Lebanon grow at our door, and the quarry is sunk at our gate; and the ships out of Ophir, with golden ore for our summoning mandate wait; and the Word of a Master Mason may the House of our Soul create . While the Day hath light let the light be used for no man shall the night control . Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or broken the golden bowl, may we build King Solomon's Temple in the true Masonic Soul.

Home Lectures of the Craft Lectures of the Holy Royal Arch Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite The Royal Order of Scotland York Rite Side Degrees English Knights Templar Order of Women Freemasons Walter Leslie Wilmshurst

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