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 Twenty-Sixth Grade of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite and the Eighth Degree of the Historical and Philosophical Series


When Domitian was emperor of Rome, in the night of persecution, when danger and death hung on their footsteps, the Christian Masons met in the Catacombs, - an assemblage of whom is represented in this Degree of Princes of Mercy, who were representatives of the faithful by means of the Triple Covenant, the points of which were - that made with Nosh when God set his bow in the heavens; that made with for him and his descendants; and that made with all the earth, that the day should come when light, truth, and happiness should be victorious over darkness, error, and misery.

The assemblages generally met to celebrate the Mysteries in the great Temple of Elephants; then in the secret chambers of that of Bouddha at Salsette; in the roofless fanes of Persia, in the forest temples of the Druids, in the pyramids of Memphis, in the vaults of Crete and Samothrace, in the great temple of Eleusis, under the Holy of Holies at Jerusalem, and in the Catacombs under Rome.


Bodies of this degree are styled Chapters. The hangings are green, supported by nine columns, alternately white and red; upon each of which is a chandelier, holding nine lights. The canopy over the throne is green, white, and red; and before the throne is a table, covered with a cloth of the same colors. Over the throne hangs a triple interlaced triangle of broad bars, two of which are white, and one black; and in its centre the letter yod. Instead of a gavel, the presiding officer uses an arrow, the plume of which is red on one side and green on the other, the spear white, and the point gilded.

By the altar is a statue or statuette of white marble, the naked figure of a virgin. Over it is a drapery of thin white gauze. This represents Truth, and is the palladium of the Order of Princes of Mercy.

The altar, placed in the centre of the room, is of a triangular shape, each side measuring 18 inches, and its height being 36 inches. The top is a plate, like gold, on which, formed of different colored stones, is the word HoLaTal; and under that a passion cross, on either side of which, above the arms, are the Greek letters Alpha and Omega. At each corner is a flame of brass.

The presiding officer is styled "Most Excellent Chief Prince."

The Wardens, "Excellent Senior Warden," and "Excellent Junior Warden."

The Expert and Assistant Expert are styled "Respectable Senior and Junior Deacons."

The Captain of the Guards is styled "Valiant Guard of the Palladium;" and the Tiler, "Captain of the Guard."

The other officers are styled "Venerable."

The Chief Prince wears a tricolored tunic, green, white, and red, and a crown with nine points. The other members wear white tunics. All wear the Order, which is a broad tricolored ribbon, green, white, and red, worn from right to left.

The apron is scarlet, with a wide border of white. In the centre is an equilateral triangle, the bars forming the sides of which are green. In the centre of this are the emblems on the jewel, embroidered in gold. The flap is sky-blue.

The jewel is an equilateral triangle, of bars of gold, with a flaming heart of gold in the centre. On the heart are the letters I.: H.: S.: ; and on the respective sides cf the triangle, W.: on the right, F.: on the left, and H.: at the bottom. This jewel is suspended from a small collar of narrow, watered, purple ribbon, and hangs on the breast.

The March is 3 equal steps, the first taken with the left foot.

The Order is, standing, the right hand on the right hip.

The age is 9 by 9, or 81.

The Tessera, or mark, given to the initiate, is a small fish, of ivory or mother-of-pearl, on one side of which is the word  HoLaTal and on the other

Battery - *** - *** - ** - *** - *** - *


M.: E.: Listen to the ancient dogmas and teachings.

Or.:  Thus said the holy books of ancient India: There are three supreme gods, the three forms and aspects of the first, the supreme, single, invisible God, cause of all phenomena, and soul of the world: and these three, the powers of creation, preservation, and destruction, distinct in persons, are but one God, the triple form of the Supreme, the word A.: U.: M.:, first utterance of the Eternal.

J.: W.: Said the ancient Hindoos: Chrishna, the second person of the Trimourti, born of a royal virgin, without sin, descended into hell, arose again, and ascended to heaven. He will appear again at the end of the world, will become man, and mounted on a white horse, with a sword glittering like a comet, will traverse the world and destroy the guilty. The great serpent shall consume the universe; but the, seeds of creation shall be preserved in the lotus; and a new creation shall commence.

S.: W.: Above all existences, said the ancient Bouddhists, is the spirit, universal, indestructible, who during incalculable time preserves all that is, and remains in repose, until the laws of destiny oblige him to create new worlds. From him flow the Bouddhas, each a trinity of intelligence, law, and unison, each a Redeemer. The stars shall salute him at his nativity, and all mankind unite in orisons to God.

M.: E.: From the supreme divinity and ancient unlimited time, said the old Persians, emanated the pure light. He will in the fourth age create Sosiosch the Saviour, who shall prepare the human race for the general resurrection.

Or.: Mithra, it was said in the ancient Sabean Mysteries, is the Grand Architect of the universe himself, appearing in visible shape, the spirit of the sun and light, the eye of Ormuzd. He is three and one; for his essence illuminates, warms, and makes fruitful at once. He is the incarnate mediator, bringing back souls to God.

J.: W.: The Supreme God Alfader, said our ancient brethren the Druids, is eternal. He made heaven, earth, and air, and men, and gave to men immortal souls.

S.: W.: Amun-Re, said the ancient Egyptians, the uncreated, is the Supreme Triad, father, mother, and son, from whom the long chain of Triads descends to the incarnations in human form. Osiris, final conqueror of Typhon, shall sit in judgment on all the dead, and pronounce the final sentence, on each according to his deserts.

M.: E.: He, said the Hebrew Kabalists, is the Supreme, the hidden lamp, whereof is no cognition. He is found to have three heads, contained in one head. Wisdom is the father, and intelligence the mother, and from them flows truth. These three are - Chochmah, wisdom; Binah, the mother of understanding; and Daath, intellectual cognition.

Or.: Again, hear ye! In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God: all things were made by him: in him was life, and that life was the light of mankind; the true light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. And the Word became incarnate, and dwelt among men, and they beheld his glory, the glory of the first-born of the Father. Thus said the ancient Christian Masons; and they said also: There are three that bear record in heaven; the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit, and these three are one.

J.: W.: Thus in all ages the golden threads of truth have gleamed in the woof of error. Fortunate the Mason who, by the light of wisdom, the true Masonic light, second emanation from the Deity, can discern the golden threads, God's hieroglyphics, written when time began; and read them aright, as they were read by our ancient brethren in the early ages!

S.: W.: Thus in all ages the word of God, his thought, not uttered in a voice audible to mortal ears, has spoken in the souls of men, and taught them the great truths of reason, philosophy, and religion. Fortunate the Mason to whom that word, the Deity manifest, is audible, intelligible, significant; God's thought, that made the stars and all that is, and the great laws of harmony and motion!

M.: E.:. Thus in all ages rosy gleams of light, piercing the dark clouds of error, have taught mankind that truth and light, perfect and glorious, linger below the horizon, in time to rise to fill God's universe with light and glory, at the dawn of his promised day. Fortunate the Mason, who with firm faith and hope accepts these struggling rays that gild the clouds, as ample evidence that in God's good time his dawn of day will come, and be eternal.


You have assumed the name of Constans, and thus profess yourself firm, intrepid, and persevering. This Lodge represents a Lodge of Christian Masons held at night, in the gloomy catacombs under Rome, in the time of the persecuting Emperor Domitian; and you represent a Catechumen who, having attained the second degree of the Essenian and early Christian Mysteries, sought by receiving the third and last degree to become one of the faithful or the elect.

Whatever your faith, you at least believe, as they did, in the unity and providence of God.


Infinitely Illustrious and Supreme Father, infinitely various of counsel, who consumest all things, and again thyself reproducest and repairest them; who directest the ineffable harmonies that are the law of the boundless universe ! Universal Parent of eternally successive being; who art everywhere present; of whose essence are justice, mercy, and goodness ; author of life and soul, of all that moves; aid us to keep thy commandments and perform our duties! Keep us from the slippery descents of vice, and help us to stand firm in the ways of duty. Support and strengthen this our brother, and all Masons everywhere. Fill our souls with love for thee. Save us from persecutors; teach us and all our brethren to be tolerant of error, the common lot of man; and send our life a happy, blameless end.

All. Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, etc. Amen! So mote it be.

M.: E.: My brother, you have ascended too high in Masonry to be longer subjected to physical tests and trials, or you would again in this degree have represented the Fellow Craft, or Companion, advancing toward the Master's degree.

In the early days of Christianity, there was an initiation like those of the Pagans. Persons were admitted on special conditions only. To arrive at a complete knowledge of the doctrine, they had to pass three degrees of instruction. The initiates were consequently divided into three classes: the first, auditors, the second, catechumens, and the third the faithful. The auditors were novices, prepared by ceremonies and instruction to receive the dogmas of Christianity. A portion of these dogmas was made known to the Catechumens; who, after particular purifications, received baptism, or the initiation of the theogenesis (divine generation); but in the grand mysteries of that religion, the incarnation, nativity, passion, and resurrection of Christ, none were initiated but the faithful. These doctrines, and the celebration of the holy sacraments, particularly the Eucharist, were kept with profound secrecy.

To avoid persecution, the early Christians were compelled to use great precaution, and to hold meetings of the faithful [of the household of faith] in private places, under concealment by darkness. They assembled in the night, and they guarded against the intrusion of false brethren and Profane persons, spies, who might cause their arrest, During the early persecutions they took refuge in the vast catacombs which stretched for miles in every direction under the city of Rome, and are supposed to have been of Etruscan origin. There, amid labyrinthine windings, deep caverns, hidden chambers, chapels and tombs, the persecuted fugitives found refuge, and there they performed the the ceremonies of the mysteries.

They conversed together figuratively and by the use of symbols; and those who were initiated were bound by solemn promise not to disclose or even converse about the secrets of the mysteries, except with such as had received them under the same sanction.

This then is the history of the suffering of Jesus the Christ, and its Masonic application as made by the Christian Mason. Some of the ceremonies of the first three degrees, which, whatever your faith, may not be uninteresting to you, since you are in no wise required to receive them as correct, are as follows:

M.: E.: Behold, the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth. My brother, you have before this been brought to light in Masonry, when the Worshipful Master, with the aid of the brethren, first made you a Mason. You have been taught to believe in the true God. You have passed through degrees intended to remind you of the Essenian and Hebrew mysteries; and in this you have heard described those practised by the first Christians. As you were not required to profess a belief in the tenets of the Essenes or the Pharisees, so neither here are you required to believe in the divine mission or character of Jesus the Nazarine. We shadow forth the secret discipline of the early Christians, as we do the other Mysteries, as the diverse and often eccentric forms in which Masonry has developed itself in the different ages of the world. Masonically, we know not whether you be Christian, Jew, or Moslem.

If you be Christian, you will see in this degree a Christian ceremony; and so you have the right to interpret it. Your brethren will respect your faith, as they have a right to demand that you shall respect theirs. If you be not a Christian, you will see in it a mere historical allegory, symbolizing great truths, acknowledged alike by you and them.

While you were veiled in darkness, you heard repeated by the voice of the great past its most ancient doctrines. No one has the right to object, if the Christian Mason sees foreshadowed in Chrishna and Sosiosch, in Mithras and Osiris, the divine Word, that, as he believes, became man, and died upon the cross to redeem a fallen race. Nor can he object if others see in the Word that was in the beginning with God, and that was God, only the logos of Plato and Philo, or the uttered thought or first emanation of light, or the reason, of the great, silent, uncreated Deity, believed in and adored by all.

We do not undervalue the importance of any truth. We utter no word that can be deemed irreverent by any one of any faith. We do not tell the Moslem that it is only important for him to believe that there is but one God, and wholly unessential whether Mahomet was his prophet. We do not tell the Hebrew that the Messiah, whom he expects, was born in Bethlehem nearly two thousand years ago; and as little do we tell the Christian that Jesus the Nazarine was but a man, or his history the revival of an older legend. To do either is beyond our jurisdiction. Masonry, of no one age, belongs to all time; of no one religion, it finds its great truths in all.

Masonry is a worship; but one in which all civilized men can unite. It trusts in God, and hopes; it believes, like a child, and is humble. It draws no sword to compel others to adopt its belief, or to be happy with its hopes. And it waits with patience to understand the mysteries of nature hereafter.

The greatest mysteries in the universe are those which are ever going on around us; so trite and common to us that we never note them or reflect upon them. There are other forces in the universe than those that are mechanical.

Here are two minute seeds, not much unlike in appearance, and two of larger size. Hand them to Chemistry, which tells us how combustion goes on in the lungs, and plants are fed with phosphorus and carbon, and the alkalies and silex. Let it decompose them, analyze them, torture them in All the ways it knows. The net result of each is a little sugar, a little fibrin, a little water-carbon, potassium, sodium, and the like - one cares not to know what.

We hide them in the ground; and the slight rains moisten them, and the sun shines upon them, and little slender shoots spring up and grow; and what a miracle is the mere growth! the force, the power, the capacity, by which the little feeble shoot, that a small worm can nip off with a single snap of its mandibles, extracts from the earth and air and water the different elements with which it increases in stature, and rises imperceptibly toward the sky!

One grows to be a slender, feeble stalk, like an ordinary weed; another a strong bush, armed with thorns, and sturdy enough to bid defiance to the winds; the third a tender tree, subject to be blighted by the frost, and looked down upon by all the forest; while another spreads its rugged arms abroad, and cares for neither frost nor ice, nor the snows that for months lie heaped around its roots.

But lo! out of the brown foul earth, and colourless invisible air, and limpid rain-water, the chemistry of the seeds has extracted colours-four different shades of green, that paint the leaves, which put forth in the spring upon our plant, our shrub, and our trees. Later still come the flowers-the vivid colours of the rose, the beautiful brilliance of the carnation, the modest blush of the apple, and the splendid white of the orange. Whence come these colours? By what process of chemistry are they extracted from the carbon, the phosphorus, and the lime? Is it any greater miracle to make something out of nothing?

Pluck the flowers. Inhale the delicious perfumes, each perfect and all delicious. Whence have they come? By what combination of acids and alkalis could the chemist produce them? And the fruit - the ruddy apple and the golden orange - the texture and fabric how totally different! the taste how entirely dissimilar! the perfume of each distinct from its flower, and from the other. Whence the taste and this new perfume? The same earth and air and water have been made to furnish a different taste to each fruit, a different perfume not only to each fruit, but to each fruit and its own flower.

Is it any more a problem whence come thought and will and perception, and all the phenomena of the mind, than this, whence come the colours, the perfumes, the taste of the fruit and flower ?

And lo! in each fruit new seeds, each gifted with the same wondrous power of reproduction - each with the same wondrous forces wrapped up in it to be again in turn evolved; - forces, that had lived three thousand years in the grain of wheat found in the wrappings of an Egyptian mummy; forces, of which learning, and science, and wisdom know no more than they do of the nature and laws of action of God. What can we know of the nature, and how can we understand the powers and mode of operation, of the human soul, when the glossy leaves, the pearl-white flower, and the golden fruit of the orange are miracles wholly. beyond our comprehension?

We but hide our ignorance in a cloud of words; and the words too often are mere combinations of sounds without any meaning.

What force draws the needle toward the north? What force moves the muscle that raises the arm, when the will determines it shall rise? Whence comes the will itself ? Is it spontaneous - a first cause, or an effect? These too are miracles, inexplicable as the creation, or the self-existence of God.

On being now again brought to light, you see upon the altar before you the luminous delta, with three equal sides, in all ages the representation of Deity, the trinity of wisdom, power, and harmony; and upon it the ineffable name, and the cross, in all time the emblem of eternity.

M.: E.: My brother, the colours of this degree are green, red, and white. They symbolise the Masonic trinity. The green is an emblem of the infinite wisdom; the red, of the supreme energy, force, or power; and the white, produced by mingling all the colours, of the divine harmony.

On the three sides of the jewel you see the letters W.: F.: and H.: - the initials of the words Wisdom, Force, and Harmony; and on the inflamed heart in the centre, three letters which the Christian Mason reads as the initials of the phrase, Jesus Hominum Salvator; but which you are at liberty to read S.: L.: H.: - Sapientia, Imperium, Harmonia - Wisdom, Power, and Harmony.

Perhaps you suspect that there is still remaining behind an inner meaning of the word " Trinity," connecting itself with your title of Scottish Trinitarian.

It may be so. Masonry discloses its secrets cautiously, and never makes the whole truth known at once.

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

[ to top ]

Valid HTML 4.01!
Valid CSS!