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

SECRET MASTER

The Fourth Grade of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite,and the First Degree of the Ineffable Series

ARGUMENT

This grade, as chronologically arranged, originated with King Solomon, immediately after the assassination of Hiram the builder, and at the time the Temple was but partially constructed.

The King of Israel selected seven of the most worthy and expert brethren, Master Masons, and appointed them special guardians of the Sanctum Sanctorum, and of the sacred furniture of that most Holy Place. They were called Secret Masters, and as in due time they were advanced to higher grades, and thus vacancies were created, others were selected to fill their places. But one guard was on duty at a time, yet seven were selected, and this is termed the mysterious number of this degree, it having many allusions, to the seven cardinal virtues; to happiness, to which our brethren thought there were seven degrees; to the seven stages of life; to the seven laws or principles of Noah, given for the government of his posterity; and to the seven days of the week the last having been set apart for the great teaching of this degree, Secrecy and Silence. This degree forms a beautiful introduction to the Ineffable series.

SECRET MASTER

In the grey dawn of morning, even before the sun rising over Mount Olivet flushed with crimson the walls of the Temple, the chosen few, awe-stricken and grave, had assembled. The light from the seven-branch candlestick in the East was reflected back from the golden floor, from the brazen laver of water, with hyssop and napkins, but fell sombrely on the heavy drapings of the sack-cloth on the walls. Amidst the prayers and exhortations, and the solemn chanting of the Levites, the seven entered into a mystic bond, and the duty of secrecy and silence was laid upon them. And then the doors of cedar and olivewood heavily carved and gilded were opened, the veils of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and richly embroidered white linen were drawn aside, and the mysteries of the Holy of Holies revealed to them.

None but the Priests and Levites had entered the Sanctum Sanctorum since the Sacred Ark had been brought thither, and now as the Seven Secret Sentinels put off their shoes and washed their feet, and stepped over the golden threshold, they stood in silence blinded with the light that burst upon them. The spreading wings of the Cherubim covered the Ark of the Covenant, but from all sides the walls glittered with gold and precious stones.

THE LODGE AND ITS DECORATIONS

The Lodge of Secret Masters represents the Holy Place or Sanctuary of the Temple; is hung in black, strewed with white tears, and contains the brazen salver of pure water, with napkins and bunch of hyssop, the seven-branch candlestick, which is burning in the East, and which is the only light in the Lodge.

The Sanctuary is separated from the Holy of Holies by a balustrade of white marble and heavy hangings of black. In the balustrade of white marble there in one door of two leaves, made of olivewood and beautifully ornate. Immediately in front of this entrance are four small columns of white, in quadrangular position, united by rods, from which hangings of four colours, white, blue, purple, and crimson, are suspended: on either side of all these are two brazen columns supporting each a sphere.

Over the East is a large circle, composed of a serpent having its tail in its mouth, enclosing three luminous triangles interlaced, forming nine beams with a blazing star in the centre. In the centre of the star is a 9, and in the interstices of the interlacing triangles, the characters E, A, J, J, Y, A, O, A, H, which are the initials of the nine sacred words.

Within the East is represented the Sanctum Sanctorum of King Solomon's Temple, which afterwards contained the holy ark of the covenant, the ten golden candlesticks, the tablets of the law, the veiled pillar of beauty, the Enochian column, etc.

The jewels of the officers are in crape, as the Lodge is in mourning for the Grand Master Hiram.

The furniture is also draped in black.

The altar of perfumes, which is in the Southeast corner of the Sanctuary, during a Reception is burning

No working-tools are used in this Lodge, for the reason that the labours on the Temple were suspended after the death of Hiram the Builder.

OFFICERS

The Thrice Potent, who represents King Solomon, in the East.

The Grand Inspector, who represents Adoniram, son of Abda, in the West.

The Treasurer is seated as in Perfection.

The Secretary is seated as in Perfection

The Grand Orator is seated as in Perfection

The Master of Ceremonies is seated as in Perfection.

The Captain of the Guard is seated as in Perfection

The Sentinel, with drawn sword, in front of the small curtains at the entrance to the Holy of Holies.

CLOTHING

The King, seated in front and to the left of the guarded entrance to the Holy of Holies, is robed in black, bordered with ermine, holding a sceptre and crowned; he wears a wide blue sash from right to left, to which is attached a delta of gold.

On the triangular altar to his left are the apron, collar, gloves, and jewel of the degree, and a white robe; also a wreath of olive and laurel.

The Grand Inspector is seated in the West, wears a white robe and covering, and the apron, collar, gloves, and jewel of the degree, and holding a drawn sword.

All the officers are clothed similar to the Grand Inspector, but having their appropriate jewels, which correspond with those of the same official stations in the degree of Perfection.

Apron -White, bordered with black, with blue flap. On the flap an eye worked in gold; on the area of the apron, the letter Z within a wreath of olive and laurel.

Collar-Wide white ribbon, edged with black; at the bottom a black rosette, to which is suspended the jewel.

Jewel-An ivory key with the letter Z on the wards.

Gloves - White, with the wristbands bordered with black, and turned over.

Hours of Work - From dawn to close of day.

Battery - At a Reception given in mourning.

Moral - Secrecy, or Silence and Fidelity.

Symbolic Age - Seven.

All present except the officers are robed in black. During a Reception, the Treasurer's station is vacant, as there can be but seven Secret Masters.

The aprons of the Ineffable degrees can be either triangular or square. All Illustrations are of triangular aprons

OPENING.

T.: P.: What are you taught as a Secret Master?

G.: I.: The duty of Secrecy and Silence.

T.: P.: What is the hour?

G.: I.: The morning star has driven away the shades of night, and the great light begins to gladden our Lodge.

T.: P.: As the morning star is the forerunner of the great light which begins to shine on our Lodge, and we are all Secret Masters, it is time to commence our labours.

Who so draweth nigh to the contemplation of the Ineffable mysteries, should put off the shoes of his worldly conversations; for the place whereon he stands is holy ground. Set a watch, O Jehovah, before my mouth, and keep thou the door of my lips,

Brother Adoniram, you will give notice, that I am about to open a Lodge of Secret Masters by the sacred number.

RECEPTION

The candidate is robed in black, etc.

LESSON

T.: P.: The Lord of hosts shall be exalted in judgment, and God that is holy shall be sanctified in righteousness.

Chant:. O Lord ! have mercy upon us, for thy goodness endureth forever.

G.: I.: Woe unto them that draw iniquity with cords of vanity and sin, as it were with a rope.

Chant: O Lord! have mercy, etc.

T.: P.: Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter.

Chant: O Lord! have mercy, etc.

G.: I.: I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphim: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.

Chant: O Lord! have mercy, etc.

T.: P.: And one cried unto another, saying: Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory.

Chant: O Lord! have mercy, etc.

G.: I.: And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that spake, and the heavens were filled with smoke.

Chant: O Lord! have mercy, etc.

T.: P.: Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone: because I am a man of unclean lips, for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts. Then flew one of the seraphim unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken from off the altar, and he laid it upon my mouth, and said: Lo this hath touched thy lips; thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin is purged.

Chant: O Lord! have mercy, etc.

G.: I.: .Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.

Chant: O Lord! have mercy, etc.

T.: P.: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with loving kindness and tender mercies.

Chant: O Lord! have mercy, etc.

G.: I.: He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy towards them that fear him.

Chant: O Lord! have mercy, etc.

T.: P.: As for man, his days are but as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth. For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more.

PRAYER

Our Father, who dost rule the heaven and the earth, and all that in them is: Thou Great Supreme, who art the Author of every good and every perfect gift: deign to guide us in our endeavour to combat darkness, and to direct the mind and thoughts of this our brother at the threshold, in the solemn approach to the innermost mysteries of thy holy Temple, where we seek for truth, for the full understanding of the divine lessons contained in thy ' Word," and the final attainment of the salvation of the soul immortal.

May this brother feel that the doctrines contained in the new vows he is now about to assume are worthy of his noblest Masonic thoughts and of his holiest reverence.

Aid us, O Lord! to so instruct him to look within his own' heart - that innermost sanctuary - that he may prepare to receive the impress of thy Holy Name, which shall be a seal of eternal life.

In Thee, O Lord! alone resides the power! To Thee be all the glory. Amen.

Woe unto those who aspire to that for which they are unfitted.

Woe unto those who assume a burden which they cannot bear.

Woe unto those who assume duties lightly, and afterwards neglect them.

Duty is with us always, inflexible as fate.

In health or sickness, in prosperity or adversity, duty is with us always, exacting as necessity.

It rises with us in the morning, and watches by our pillow at night. In the roar of the city and in the loneliness of the desert, duty is with us always, imperative as destiny.

T.: P.: Who so draweth nigh to the contemplation of the Ineffable mysteries, let him put off the shoes of his worldly conversation and corrupt affections, for the place whereon he standeth is, Holy ground. May we ever remember to keep a watchful eye upon the feet of our affections. Before we approach the house of the Lord, let us seriously consider whether we have taken straight steps in the paths of his commandments, and whether our feet are set in due order and cleansed according to the purifications of the Sanctuary. Let us wash, as it were, in the laver of repentance. Wash you, and make you clean; put away the evil of your doings; acknowledge your iniquities and return unto the Lord, for he will have mercy upon you, and our Elohim will abundantly pardon. Let us incite each other to practise virtue and shun vice. While our feet are prepared for walking in the ways of his commandments, our hands should in like manner be prepared for working in his service.

Saith the father of our ancient Most Potent Grand Master, " I will wash mine hands in innocency, and so will I compass Thine altar, O Jehovah." May he who beareth the keys of David be pleased now to open to this brother a door of entrance to the Ineffable degrees. My brother, you have hitherto seen only the thick veil which hides from your view the Sanctum Sanctorum of God's Holy Temple. Your fidelity, zeal, and constancy have won for you the favour you are now about to receive, of viewing some of our treasures and gaining admission into the Secret or Holy place.

Set a watch, O Jehovah! before my mouth, and keep thou the door of my lips.

Brother Grand Inspector, remove the veil.

Chant: O Lord! have mercy upon us, for Thy goodness endureth forever!

In the Ineffable degrees, every lesson taught is connected, directly or indirectly with our dearest interest in this or in a future world. The whole system tends to promote the glory of God and the good of mankind. In the symbolic degrees these things are taught generally; in the Ineffable and Sublime degrees, in detail.

Genuine Freemasonry, my brother, is a system of morals, and approaches religion: in fact, such was primitive Freemasonry. Ineffable Freemasonry is practised with an eye single to the improvement of our morals, and a reference to those sublime truths which constituted its principal essence in the earlier ages of the world. It rises above all human institutions, and forms a beautiful auxiliary to the practice of religion. In no place, except in God's Holy Word, are the moral and social virtues enforced by such awful sanctions and decrees.

The degrees upon which you are now entering, are called Ineffable, because they treat of the Ineffable name of the Great Jehovah, and of his Ineffable essence.

O Jehovah! our Adonai, how excellent is Thy name over all the earth! Thy name declares the glory of Elohim. There appears to be power in the name which revealeth secrets.

Freemasonry is an art of great compass and extent. A knowledge of its mysteries is not attained at once, but by degrees. Each degree in Ineffable Masonry is intended to inculcate a moral lesson and the practice of some particular virtue. Advances are made only by much instruction and assiduous application. Each step is progressive, and opens new light and information. According to the progress we make, we limit or extend our inquiries; and in proportion to our capacities, we attain a greater or lesser degree of perfection.

Freemasonry is an allegorical system. Every doctrine and ceremony has its mystical reference, which is not always apparent at the first blush; so that where the uninformed and weak find only mystery, the true initiate and thoughtful, possess food for the employment of the noblest faculties. The true Mason will not rest satisfied with mere ceremonies, which in themselves are cold and heartless, but will study to comprehend their mystical signification. We, as Ineffable Masons, retain and continue to practise these signs and symbols, because we believe they work closer into our hearts than mere words.

Permit me now, my brother, to receive you as a Secret Master, and give you rank among the Levites.

The laurel, an emblem of victory, is to remind you of the conquest you ought to gain over your passions; the olive, a symbol of peace, which should over reign among us. With Wisdom, Strength, Prudence, and Fortitude, may you soon obtain the favour of an entrance into the secret vault. It will be your own fault if you are not found worthy, and do not in due time arrive at the sacred place, where, wrapped in divine joy, you may contemplate the pillar of Beauty.

By the rank you now hold among the Levites in the quality of Secret Master, you have become one of the guardians of the Sanctum Sanctorum, and I place you in the number of seven.

The eye upon your apron is to remind you to keep a watchful eye upon the sacred treasures you are set apart to guard, and over the moral conduct of the Craft in general.

Remember, too, that the eye of the Lord is on them that fear him.

Brother Adoniram, it is our order that you cause to be erected a tomb or obelisk, of white and black marble, west-southwest of the Temple, wherein shall be deposited the embalmed remains of our lamented Grand Master Hiram Abif. The white marble shall denote the innocence and purity of our departed Grand Master, and the black the untimely death of him we mourn.

See, therefore, that the solemn duty is speedily executed, and let the obsequies be performed with becoming and imposing ceremonies.

Freemasonry is of heavenly birth the pillars of Wisdom and Strength support it; its foundation-stone is Virtue; its cement, Charity. Like a rock in the midst of the ocean, it rises above every storm, and bids proud defiance to the raging waves which dash against its base.

Freemasonry, in its theoretic and speculative sense, is an acknowledged moral order founded on Charity, the handmaid of Religion, and having for its object the inculcation of divine truths and moral teachings through symbolism.



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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