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