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 Fifth Grade of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, and the Second Degree of the Ineffable Series


The solemn ceremonies of the degree of Perfect Master, are intended to represent and recall to mind the grateful tribute of respect we owe to the memory of a departed worthy brother. The examination of the mausoleum, its pronouncement of being perfect, and the advantages we should derive in inculcating the virtues of the deceased are vividly depicted and impressed upon the initiate.


Our Ancient Brethren, whelmed in grief, Lamented their departed Chief, Let us his pupils long revere, A name to Masonry so dear. Just Hiram Abif, Just Hiram Abif.

In mystic rites our Lodge displays Its sorrows and its fadeless praise. Long may the sweet acacia bloom, And garlands fresh adorn the tomb Of Hiram Abif, Of Hiram Abif.

Look East, look West, its splendors fall, The lesser lights grow dim and pale, The glory once reflected there, Now dawns upon a higher sphere. Blest Hiram Abif, Blest Hiram Abif.


The Lodge is hung with green cloth from eight white columns, four on each side, and equidistant. An altar, draped in black, strewed with tears, is placed in the East at the foot of the throne. In front of the altar is a coffin, draped in black, resting on a bier, with the jewel and apron of Grand Master Hiram Abif. Four lights are placed at each of the cardinal points. Marks of blood are in the northeast section of the Lodge. The star in the interlaced triangle of the Secret Master's degree is changed from white to red, so as to throw a lurid light.


1. The Senior Grand Warden is the Master, and represents Adoniram. He is styled Right Worshipful, or Respectable Master, and is clothed as a Prince of Jerusalem. He is seated in the East.

2. The Junior Grand Warden is seated in the West, represents Zabud, and is styled Grand Inspector. He wears a black robe and cap, together with the order and jewel of a Prince of Jerusalem.

3. The Captain of the Guard represents Zerbal, Captain of King Solomon's Guards, and is dressed as a Perfect Master.

4. The Master of Ceremonies represents Stolkin, and is dressed as a Secret Master.


Black robe and hood drawn over the head-apron, collar, jewel, and white gloves, bordered with black.

Apron - White, with a green flap; on the centre is a cubic stone, surrounded by three circles, with the Hebrew letter I in the centre.

Collar - A watered green ribbon, at the end of which is suspended the jewel.

Jewel - A compass open on a segment of a graduated circle at an angle of sixty degrees.

Battery **** denotes life, death, virtue, and immortality.

Moral - That we should learn to pay due respect to the memory of a deceased worthy brother

Reception Ode

The following ode is sung by the Brethren as the Candidate is admitted

Come, ye sighing sons of sorrow, view with me your brother's tomb;

Learn from it your fate-to-morrow, death perhaps may seal your doom.

Sad and solemn flow our numbers, while disconsolate we mourn

The loss of him who sweetly slumbers, mouldering neath the silent urn.

Once, when full of life, he never proved unfaithful to our laws;

Zealous, like him, be we ever, to promote the glorious cause.

To the exalted power Almighty, softly breathe an ardent prayer

On his sacred mound tread lightly, while we wipe the falling tear.


O Almighty and Eternal God, there is no number of thy days or of thy mercies. Thou hast sent us into this world to serve thee, but we wander far from thee in the path of error. Our life is but a span in length, and yet tedious, because of the calamities that enclose us on every side. The days of our pilgrimage are few and evil; our bodies frail; our passions violent and distempered; our understandings weak, and our wills perverse. Look thou upon us, our Father, in mercy and pity. We adore thy majesty, and trust like little children to thine infinite mercies. Give us patience to live well, and firmness to resist evil, even as our departed brother resisted. Give us, O most merciful Father, faith and confidence in thee; and enable us so to live, that when we come to die we may lie down in the grave like one who composes himself to sleep, and that we may be worthy hereafter to be remembered in the memories of man. Bless us, O God. bless our beloved fraternity throughout the world: may we live and emulate the example of our departed brother; and finally, that we may in this world attain a knowledge of thy truth, and in the world to come, life everlasting. AMEN


Death regards not those sweet engagements and pleasing intercourses, and those improving joys which are known to Freemasons. Death summons away, in the midst of his day and usefulness, many a beloved brother of our craft. We behold his sun at meridian, and rejoice at its brightness; but alas it soon sets, and the evening shades of existence close around him forever.

Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them; while the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened, nor the clouds return after the rain. In the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble, and the strong men shall bow themselves and the grinders cease because they are few, and those that look out of the windows be darkened, and the doors shall be shut in the streets when the sound of the grinding is low, and he shall rise up at the voice of the bird, and all the daughters of music shall be brought low. Also when they shall be afraid of that which is high, and fears shall be in the way, and the almond-tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail: because man goeth to his long-home, and the mourners go about the streets: or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern. Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was, and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.

This ceremony was orginially established to commemorate the death of our Grand Master Hiram Abif, whose labours at the building of the first Temple, and whose tragical. death, furnish so much of the mystical knowledge of Ancient Craft Masonry. It is retained by us that it may be improved as a lesson both useful and instructive. Let us look forward to brighter scenes, when our deceased brother, who had been smitten down by the resistless hand of death, shall be raised from his prostrate state at the word of our Supreme Grand Master, and admitted to the privilege of the Perfect Lodge above.


The Thrice Puissant, Illustrious, Respectable, and Worshipful Master, who presides, represents the noble Adoniram, the son of Abda, of the tribe of Dan, who conducted the works of the Temple, before the arrival of Hiram Abif at Jerusalem. Afterwards, he was sent to Mount Lebanon, to inspect the work that was there carrying on for the use of the Temple.

He was recalled on the death of Hiram Abiff, and had the honour of being the first of the seven that were substituted in his stead. He is decorated with the orders of the degree of perfection, and those of Prince of Jerusalem.

He sits in Solomon's chair under a canopy, holding a setting maul. There is but one warden, who represents Stolkin. He is ornamented with a jewel of perfection, and sits in the west, holding a mallet. He does the duty of Inspector. The master of the ceremonies represents Zerbel or Beneia, Captain of King Solomon's Guards. He is decorated with a green ribbon round his neck, in the form of a collar, to which is hung a pair of compasses, the points of which form an angle of ninety degrees; which is the jewel of this degiec. His apron is white, lined with green, and he carries a naked sword in his hand. All the brethren are decorated in the same manner with Zerbel, with a similar collar, jewel, and apron; the flaps of the apron down, and the jewel embroidered or painted thereon.

In the middle of  the apartment are painted four circles on a square stone, with the letter I in the centre ; the outer circle enclosing the other three.

Form of Opening the Lodge.

T. P. I. R. W. M. Brother Inspector Stolkin, is the lodge tiled, and are we all Perfect Masters?

S. Thrice Puissant, Illustrious, Respectable, and Worshipful Master, it is, and we are all Perfect Masters.

T. P. I. R. W. M. If so, give notice that I am about to open the lodge of Perfect Masters.

S. Respectable brethren, the Thrice Puissant, Illustrious, Respectable, and Worshipful Master gives you notice that he is about to open the lodge of Perfect Masters.

As a call to order, the Thrice Puissant, Illustrious, Respectable, and Worshipful Master knocks four times; the Inspector does the same ; and the same is done by one brother in the south, and another in the north. Then all the brethren make the sign of admiration, with their eyes lifted up to heaven, their arms extended, and hands open. Then, looking down upon the earth, they cross their arms upon their bellies and exclaim alltogether - CONSUMMATUM EST.

T. P. I. R. W. M. Brother Stolkin, what is the clock?

S. It is four.

T. P. I. R. W. M. If so, it is time for the workmen to begin their labour. Give notice that the lodge of Perfect Masters is opened *

The Inspector gives this notice, and the work begins.

Reception or Passing

The candidate or secret Master being in the preparing room, decorated as such, the master of the ceremonies moves from his seat in solemn silence, and striking the Inspector four times on the right shoulder, thus addresses him:- Venerable Brother Inspector, Brother N---, a secret Master is in the antechamber, and solicits the favour of being admitted a Perfect Master.

The Inspector then reports him to the chair, on which the Thrice Puissant, Illustrious, Respectable, and Worshipful Master asks :-Is he deserving this honour, and do you answer for his zeal, fervour, and constancy?

S. Thrice Puissant, Illustrious, Respectable, and Worshipful Master, I do.

T. P. I. R. W. M. Let him then be instructed in the usual manner.

The Inspector orders the master of the ceremonies to introduce the candidate, who is to be first examined in the former degrees. He is also divested of his sword and everything offensive. A green silk cord is thrown round his neck, both ends of which are held by the master of the ceremonies in his left hand, with a naked sword in his right. He is thus led to the door of the lodge, on which the master of the ceremonies strikes four times. The Inspector inside repeats four knocks, and informs the lodge that somebody knocks as Perfect Master. The Thrice Puissant, Illustrious, Respectable and Worshipful Master orders the Inspector to inquire who knocks. The Inspector orders the Tiler to open the door cautiously, and to inquire who it is. The Tiler obeys, and is anwered by Zerbal, that Brother N----, a secret Master, is desirous of being admitted to the honours of a Perfect Master. The Tiler then shuts the door, and reports the candidate's request to the Inspector, who communicates it to the Thrice Puissant, Illustrious, Respectable, and Worshipful Master, who orders the candidate to be introduced. The door is opened, and he is led to the south side, near the tomb, having the sign of a secret Master on him. The Thrice Puissant, Illustrious, Respectable, and Worshipful Master, seeing him in that attitude thus addresses him

What do you desire, my brother?

CANDIDATE. The favour of being received a perfect Master.

T. P. I. R. W. M. Brother Inspector, teach the brother to travel.

The Inspector leads him by the green silk cord from the south passing by the west, four times round the lodge. At each angle he gives the different signs, from the apprentice upward, and does the same every time he passes the Master. After which, he is carried to the tomb, which he is made to cross saltier (by a leap). He is then led up to the altar, with his right knee a little bent, having still the sign of a secret Master on him. After a short pause the Thrice Puissant, Illustrious, Respectable, and Worshipful Master bids him advanee, kneel, and lay his hand on the Bible, to take the obligation. The penalty of which is dishonour, in addition to all former obligations and penalties.

The Thrice Puissant, Illustrious, Respectable, and Worshipful Master takes one end of the cord that is round the canidate's neck and draws it off, saying : my dear brother, I draw you from your vicious life, and by the virtue of the power which I have received from the most illustrious of Kings, I raise you to the dignity of a Perfect Master, on condition that you fulfil and faithfully observe every thing that is prescribed by our bye-laws. This the candidate promises to do.

The first sign of this degree is a sign of admiration. Extend your arms, open your hands and look towards heaven. Then let your hands fall, and cross them on your belly as low as you can, with your eyes looking mournfully towards the earth.

The second sign is, to bring the toes of your right foot reciprocally to each other, until your knees touch. Lay your hand on your heart, and then draw it across your breast, forming a square with your elbow.

The third sign is, to clench each other's wrist, like the Masters: carry your left hand between each other's shoulders, and press four times hard with the fingers on the back, when you give the Master's word, which is M.: B.:. Then, interlace the four fingers. of your right hand with the thumbs upright passing against each other and forming a square.

Traditional History First Version

Solomon, having been informed that the body of Hirain Abif was found and already deposited on the outside of the temple, towards the north, near to a well, in which his Jewel had been found, was happy to have the poor consolation of finding the precious remains of so great a man. He gave orders and strict charge to his Grand Inspector, the noble Adoniram, that the funeral obsequies should be as pompous and magnificent as for the king himself. He likewise ordered that all the brethren should attend it with white aprons and gloves and strictly forbad that the bloody stains should be washed away, until he had wreaked his vengeance on the perpetrators of the horrid deed. The noble Adoniram chief of the works of the temple, soon finished a plan for a beautiful monument, which was erected and finished in nine days. It was made of black and white marble. The heart of Hiram Abif was enclosed in an urn, and exposed for nine days on the three steps of the sanctum sanctorum, previous to the finishing of the temple, and then placed on the top of a beautiful obelisk, which was built on the side of the temple, at the west door, a little to the north, in order to mark out the place where the murderers had first deposited him in a pit, before they removed him to the place where Stolkin found him under the sprig of Cassia. The heart of the excellent Hiram Abif was then exposed to public view in the urn with a sword run through it. The brethren came to express their grief on the occasion, kneeling on the first step which led to the sanctum sanctorum. At the expiration of nine days, the heart was deposited on the obelisk, and covered with a triangular stone, on which was engraved, in Hebrew, the characters I. M. R The I is the initial letter of the ancient master's word, and M. B. are initials of the new word. A sprig of Cassia was entraved over the I.

After this, Solomon had all the triangular medals taken from the Masters, and the Master's word changed to that now given in the third degree. The body of the respectable Hiram Abif was buried in middle of the great chamber, separated from the temple, with all the honours due to so great a man. It was in this chamber that Solomon used to hold his chapter, and confer with Hiram, King of Tyre, and Hiram Abiff, on the sacred mysteries. Three days after the ceremonies were over, Solomon, surrounded by all his court, went to the Temple, and all the workmen were placed in the same order as on the day of the funeral. The king offered up a prayer to the Almighty, then examined the tomb, the canopy, the repeated triangle, and the letters which were engraved thereon. He also examined the pyramid, and finding everything perfectly executed, he cried, in ecstasy. CONSUMMATUM EST. All the brethren answered with the sign of admiration, and said, Amen, amen, amen.

Traditional History Second Version

G.: O.: Some time after the death of our Grand Master Hiram Abiff, King Solomon was informed that the body was found.

The perpetrators of the horrid deed were not at this time discovered, and it was not certain but that they might have the hardihood and effrontery to mingle with the brethren, and seem to join in the general grief, in order to better conceal their guilt and prevent suspicion. In order to ascertain the truth of the matter, King Solomon caused a general muster of all the workmen to be made.

Happy to have the poor consciousness of having found the precious remains of so great and so good a man as Hiram Abif, and having an opportunity of paying a just tribute of respect to his memory, he ordered the noble Adoniram, his Grand Inspector, to make suitable arrangements for his interment. The brethren were directed to attend with white gloves and aprons, and he forbade the marks of blood which had been spilled in the Temple to be effaced until the traitors should be discovered and punished.

In the meanwhile, he directed the noble Adoniram to furnish a plan for a superb tomb or obelisk, of white and black marble, which plan was accepted and the work finished.

Three days after the funeral ceremonies had been performed, King Solomon repaired with his Court to the Temple, and all the brethren being arranged as at the funeral, he proceeded with his brethren to see and examine the tomb and obelisk, with the inscription there on. Struck with astonishment and admiration, he raised his eyes and hands to heaven and exclaimed "It is accomplished and complete!


Q. Are you a perfect Master ?

A. I have seen the circle and the square enclosing the two columns.

Q. Where were they placed

A. On the place where was deposited the body of our Master Hiram Abif.

Q. What do the columns represent?

A. The columns of Jachin and Boaz, through which I must have passed to arrive at the degree of Perfect Master.

Q. What could Solomon mean by establishing this degree ?

A. He did it in honour of Hiram Abif, in order to imprint on the minds of the people an unaffeeted love and respect for his memory, and to incite in them a desire to find out his murderers ; for, at this time, it was not known of the murderers' audaciousness to mix themselves with the brethren, and to partake in the general expressions of consternation and grief in order to conceal their guilt, and prevent suspicion. Solomon, to ascertain this ordered a general muster of all the workmen, and found that they all answered to their names excepting the ruffians who had run away. He therefore ordered the noble Adoniram to build an elegant monument for him, at the westsouth-west part of the temple, that there the body should be privately interred, and no brother admitted to the knowledge it, who was not a secret master. The body was also privately embalmed and some time after removed to another apartment separated from the temple, where the King held the chapter.

The heart of that great man, after being exposed nine days, on the third step of sanctum sanctorum, and having received the homage of the brethren who knelt on the first step, was then deposited in the urn, and fixed on the top of the obelisk, with a sword pierced through it, implying that such an atrocious deed had cried aloud for public vengeance.

Q. What instructions have you received from the different degrees through which you have passed?

A. By them I have learned to regulate my morals, cleanse my heart from all stain, in order to qualify myself for the high desire of perfection, at which I hope some day arrive.

Q. What does the square stone in the middle of the circle mean?

A. It teaches us, that the foundation of our building must be laid on a living rock, of which we are originally formed.

Q. For what are the circles ?

A. They are an emblem of the Divinity, which hath neither beginning nor end.

Q. What do they altogether represent?

A. The creation of the universe, which was accomplished by the will of God, and the power which he gave to the primitive qualities,

Q. What do you mean by primitive qualities?

A. I mean heat, cold, and moisture, from the combination of which the four elements sprung.

Q. How came they to be mentioned here?

A. In order to remind us, that God is everywhere, that without the divine influence, no solid building can raised.

Q. What does the letter I, in the middle of the square signify?

A. It is the initial letter of the Perfect Master's word.

Q. Will you pronounce it?

A. (This is done)

Q. What does it mean?

A. It is the name by which I know the Grand Architect of the Universe.

Q. How have you been received Perfect Master?

A. By a point to my heart and a rope round my neck.

Q. Why a point to your heart 7

A. In memory that I have consented that my heart should be plucked out.

Q. Why had you a rope round your neck ?

A. To teach me that by this humbling power, I must not pride myself in the progress which I make in Masonry and virtue.

Q. How many signs have you?

A. One by five.

Q. Why one by five ?

A. To call to my memory the degrees through which I have passed.

Q. How many tokens have you?

A. One by five, which reminds me of my five points of entrance.

Q. What are they?

A. The four rounds about the Temple, and the fifth, the sign of admiration.

Q. What does the tomb represent, which you perceived when you entered the lodge?

A. The burial of our respectful Master Abif, in the valley.

Q. Why is it placed at the north part of the sanctuary ?

A. To teach us, that a man must divest himself of all worldly care, to be qualified to enter the sanctum sanctorum.

Q. What is the meaning of the rope that comes from the coffin in the north, goes by the obelisk in the south, and binds the columns together which are fixed crossways ?

A. It represents the rope which the brethren made to draw up the body, and afterwards to let down the coffin. That rope was made of green and white.

Q. Does it signify anything else?

A. It further signifies, that we have broken through the darkness of sin.

Q. What have you done in entering the lodge ?

A. I came to the altar, working as an Entered Apprentice. Fellow-Craft, and Master, to cross the two columns.

Q. Why so?

A. To remind me, that it was by the means of having passed through those degrees, that I have obtained the honour of being made a Perfect Master.

Q. Is there no mystery couched under this explanation?

A. It teaches us that we cannot arrive at the sanctum santorum by any other method than by a purity of morals, an attitude of intention and secrecy, which are to be learnt in the first degree.

Q. Why did you enter the sanctum sanctorum by the side?

A. That I might learn by it to avoid the common way of mankind.

Q. What is your colour?

A. Green.

Q. For what reason?

A. To imprint on my mind that, being dead to sin, I expect to gain new life by practice of virtue, and to make a progress by these means in the sublime science, which I hope some day to be acquainted with, by arriving at the highest degree.

Q. Who can communicate them to you ?

A. God alone, whose knowledge is infinite.

Q. What do the two pyramids on your draft represent, one being in the south and the other in the north, and what signify the figures on them ?

A. The two pyramids represent Egypt, where the sciences were much cultivated, and whence some had their origin. On the South pyramid is drawn the meteor which guided the Master, in search of the body of Hiram Abif ; and on the North pyramid, the Perfect Master Mason's Jewel is represented.

Q. What does the Perfect Master Mason's Jewel signify?

A. It puts us in mind, that as Perfect Masters, we should act according to the strict rules of propriety, caution, and attention, in the whole tenor of our proceedings through life.

Q. What was the name of the Master of the Apprentices?

A. His name was Boaz, and to him Solomon did the honour, of calling the column on the left side of the Temple after him.

Q. Who was the Master of the Fellow-Craft?

A. His name was Jachin, a man much esteemed and respected by Solomon, who did him the honour of calling right hand pillar after his name, and at which place he paid the Crafts their wages.

Q. What was the name of the Master of the Masters?

A. His name was Mahabone or Macbenach, a very virtuous man, held in the highest esteem by Solomon and one of the first intendants of the building. He was also the intimate friend of Hiram. Abif, which induced Solomon to send him in search of the body of his deceased friend, when every former attempt to find it had proved ineffectual. Solomon ordered him to go, and requested three things of him ? First, that he should bring back that respectable man's jewel ; second, that he should bring with him that ever-to-be-lamented man, dead or alive; and third, that he should discover the perpetrators of that horrid deed.

Q. Did Macbenach comply with these three orders ?

A. With fifteen others, who were chosen to attend him on this search, he first went to the Temple, where, seeing the blood that had been spilt in many parts, he traced it to a well in the north part of the Temple, whence he concluded, that Hiram Abif had been killed and thrown into this well. Thus prompted, and further encouraged by a luminous meteor which stood over the well, he determined to have it drawn dry. This being done, he went down into it, found not the body, but the Master's jewel. It appears, that Hiram Abif, when attacked by the ruffians, must have plucked off this jewel, and thrown it into the well near the great staircase, rather than it should fall into the hands of such villains. Macbenach blessed heaven, and jointly with his companions, offered up a prayer of thanksgiving for their signal success. After this they went on, in order to comply with the other part of their instructions. They had the meteor still for their guide, when they stopped it a small hill between Lydria, and Joppa, to rest awhile, and then it was that Brother Stolkin found the body of the respectable Hiram Abif, as is related in the third degree.

Form of Closing the Lodge

T. P. I. R. W. M. What is the clock, Brother Stolkin?

S. Thrice Puissant, Illustrious, Respectable, and Worshipful Adoniram, it is five o'clock.

T. P. I. R. W. M. Since it is five o'clock, and the work is ended, it is time to refresh ourselves, so give notice that I am going to close the lodge.

S.Take notice, brethren, that this lodge is about to closed.

Adoniram, Stolkin, a brother in the south and another in the north, each knock four times. (They all make the sign of admiration and consternation at the tomb, and Adoniram, pronounces the lodge closed.)


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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