SUBLIME ELECT 5°
Dit rituaal is een amerikaanse vertaling van het franse rituaal, zoals dat halverwege de negentiende eeuw gebruikt werd..
Decorations, Clothing, etc. Two apartments are necessary for receptions, or the hangings are disposed so as to be able to change the colors promptly either by turning the panels or the drapery. For the 1st. point of reception the hangings are green sprinkled with golden stars, with gold lace and fringe. There are nine lights, of which seven are together and two separate; to these are added three lamps having three beaks, suspended, two in Asia, one in Europe on the side of Africa. For the 2nd. point the usual hangings of poppy red with gold lace and fringe. Upon the Altar is a vase burning spirits of wine. The Tableau or painting represents Bethulia with its High Priest and scattered dwellings; Judith going to the Camp with her servant who carries a sack; Judith cutting off the hcad of Holophernes (strong captain) in his tent. The clothing of the President or High Priest is a long white robe; large red and green girdle going twice around, the ends of the left side reaching the ground, but whilst at labor, thrown over the left shoulder. On the breast is a gold plate having upon it D. V. (Discretion and Verity), it is suspended by four chains which pass over the neck and under the arms. On the forehead is a white linen cloth, with a yellow band inscribed “Kadosh Adonai” (Consecrated to the Lord.) The Apron is white doubled with poppy red and green border. It may be embroidered with attributes, as Chisel for Mistress; Globe for Sublime Elect; Sword, Lance, Dissevered Head and Sack. The Sash for Sisters is of red moire, scarfwise from left to right, suspended to which is a sword, with a green rosette, over the breast are five stars of five points and on the shoulder is a white rosette. The jewel is a chisel and mallet, sword and trowel with gold wedding ring suspended from the left breast by a blue ribbon.
The Master represents the High Priest Ehiakim: (Hebrew: Resurrection of God) Governor of Bethulia. The S. W. represents Ozias; (Hebrew: Josiah, Strength of God) ; Prince of Judah. The Aspirant, Judith.
High Priest, strikes 2, Wardens Repeat: What is the first care of Adoptive Masons?
SW.: To see that they are in security.
High Priest: What is the duty of all good Brothers and Sisters?
SW.: To work, obey and be silent.
High Priest: What hour is it?
SW.: The break of day.
High Priest: Seeing that it is daybreak, when all good Brothers and Sistcrs should proceed to their labors, inform the Brothers and Sisters that this Chapter of Sublime Elect is opened. (Strikes 2 repeated by Wardens). After the example of Judith let us watch, work and pray. Let us watch so that our enemies may not surprise us and that we may be always ready to repulse them; work to repair the breaches made in our soul, and to avoid idleness which is the spring of all vice; and let us continually pray that the Grand Arch Priest of the Universe will support us more and more in Union, Concord and Peace. The Chapter is open. (2—2).
The Mistress of Ceremonies leads the Aspirant into the Chamber of Reflection; upon the table is a copy of the Tableau; a book of prayers; a full tub of waler. The Mistress of Ceremonies questions the Aspirant thus: Why do our signs generally apply to the senses?
Asp: To teach us to make good use of them.
Mis. Cerem: Explain their uses.
Asp: Smell, we consider that the most exquisite perfumes are nothing without the practise of virtue. Hearing teaches all good Masons of the Adoptive Rite to close their ears to calumny, slandet and everything calculated to alarm prudence. Taste, is given us in order to enjoy the good things of life wherewith to repair the strength, and fit us for the performance of our duties; we eat to live, not live to eat. Sight, teaches a Mason that in the beauty of his sisters he should respect them as the accomplished work of the Creator.
Touch or feeling, every time we take each others hand we should tacitly renew the treaty we have made to succour each other in need or danger. The head of the Aspirant is now covered with a veil sprinkled with ashes and she is lead to the door of the Temple.
Guard, stopping her: What wish you?
Asp.: I go to speak to the High Priest and the Elders of the Temple.
Guard: Who are you?
Guard: Of what nation?
Asp.: I am a Jewish woman of the tribe of Simeon.
This is reported to the Junior Warden inside who reports as follows: Brother Ozias, without the door is Judith, a Jewish woman of the tribe of Simeon who desires speech of the High Priest and Elders of the Temple.
This is reported by the Sen. War. (Ozias) to the High Priest.
High Priest: Admit her. Asp. is admitted and placed between the columns. The members are seated with their right hand on the heart and the left on the forehead, the head bowed low to simulate the grievous consternation which they saw in Bethulia before Judith set out.
High Priest, to Asp.: What is it you desire?
Asp.: That you will be pleased to open the gates of the town to me this night, and that for the five ensuing days all be enjoined to offer up prayers for me, when I will bring good news to Bethulia, and I conjure you on no account during that time to surrender the town to its enemies.
High Priest: Depart in peace and may the Lord be with you. They depart to the chamber of preparation. Veil is removed and the Aspirant washes herself and resumes her ornaments. She takes in her right hand a sword and in her left a dissevered head placed there while in chapter. Hangings are changed to green.
Asp., cries at the door: Victory! Victory.
Guard: Inform the High Priest that one hath cried twice at the gate, Victory!
This is repeated by the JW. to the SW. and the the SW. to the High Priest.
High Priest: Ascertain the reason of these cries.
Sen. War., after enquiry: It is Judith. She is admitted.
Asp.: Praised be the Grand Arch Priest of the Universe, who has not abandoned His servant, but has accomplished the deliverance which He promised to the nation of Israel, and who by my hand has slain this night the enemy of His people. Shows the head.
High Priest: You have my Sister accomplished a signal action and we cannot sufficiently reward your courage and self devotion; advance by seven steps to the foot of the altar, and we will confer upon you a well merited honor.
The Mas. of Cerem. takes the head and places it upon a lance near the Altar.
High Priest: You will now repeat your name and surname and say after me. I, ..., promise under the same obligation that I have previously taken, to sacredly guard the secrets of those who entrust them to me. I promise to love, protect and succour my Brothers and Sisters on all occasions, even at the peril of my life. I promise these things upon my word of honor, and If ever I fail in this Obligation I consent to be despised and to incur the shame and infamy reserved for perjurors. May God aid me.
High Priest: I now decorate you, my Venerable Sister, with this Sash, the grand Cordon of your rank; its color, which is green, is the symbol of hope; it ought to render you more and more attached to our precepts. Invests her. The color of these gloves, by their whiteness, designates to you the innocence and purity of a Lady Mason. I will now intrust you with the secrets of this exalted degree. Explain them.
You have now, my Venerable Sister, arrived at the Fifth Degree, which was formerly considered the summit of Adoptive Masonry, and beyond which few in these days care to go. The members of the Chapter have unanimously concurred in according to this high honor, because they have been edified by the zeal with which you have fulfilled your duties in the preceding degrees; by the superiority which we have thus accorded you, you will be impelled to redouble your efforts in all that is commendable. Relax not your exertions, that our Brothers and Sisters may be able to say of you, my dear Sister, that you have obtained this exalted rank in Adoptive Masonry because you are endowed with all the virtues. Allow me now to place you in this seat between the Grand Mistress and myself, whilst you listen to the Lecture and then Brother Orator will instruct you in the history of the Degree.
High Priest sits her by his side.
Q.: Are you a sublime elect?
A.: Yes, I am.
Q.: How shall I know it?
A.: By Sign, Token and Word.
Q.: Where were you receivcd?
A.: In the town of Bethulia.
Q.: What induced you to be received?
A.: The welfare of my Brothers and Sisters.
Q.: Who was the oppressor?
A.: Holofernes, General of the army of Nebuchadnezzar.
Q.: How did you reach the end of your enterprise?
A.: By watching, hoping and praying.
Q.: What did these means produce?
A.: By watching I found the favorable moment; by hoping I gained confidence, and by prayer I obtained from the Grand Arch Priest of the Universe the necessary courage and strength to carry out my plans.
Q.: What did you intend?
A.: To destroy Holofernes when I found the opportunity.
Q.: When did this occasion present itself?
A.: At the moment when Holofernes gave himself up to wine and sleep and was abandoned by his guards. Then I took his sabre and cut off his head.
Q.: What signifies the ladder of seven steps in this Degree, and the seven steps by which you advanced to the Altar?
A.: The seven qualities indispensable to Vail members of the Rite of Adoption. Friendship, a sentiment which we ought to have for all our Brothers and Sisters; Union, the foundation stone of our Society; Submission, readiness to receive without a murmur the decrees of the Chapter; Discretion, to guard our secrets; Fidelity to the observance of our Obligations; Prudence, to regulate our actions and those who may be envious of our pleasures shall find no means to question our conduct; and Temperance, to avoid all excess which is equally injurious to the body and the spirit.
Q.: What are the seven faults opposed to these qualities?
A.: Hatred, which we must never show to our Brothers and Sisters, whatever provocation we may receive: Discord, which is in opposition to our institution; Pride, which should be vanished from our hearts as fatal to humanity; Indiscretion, which ought to be unknown to our Order where all is mystery and secrecy; Perfidy, a vice so odious as to inspire us with horror; Imprudence, the cause of innumerable quarrels; Slander, a vice so low that our Order, which makes perfection its aim, shuns it as a social pest, vile as murder.
Q.: Explain the Tableau?
A.: Bethulia is the symbol of the body when truly happy, and which we can only preserve by laborious care; the High Priest is the symbol of the Soul; Judith and her servant, that of its faculties; the Elders and the assembled people, represent the members of the body; the army of Holofernes typifies the passions by which we are surrounded; and the charms of Judith the seductions of the world.
Q.: What lessons does the conduct of Achior teach us.
A.: That if compelled to speak we ought rather to expose ourselves to persecution, than swerve from truth, we ought by prudent discourse to try to lead those who are in error; his deliverance by the Israelites expresses the Charity which we ought to have for our enemies as well as for our friends.
Q.: Give me the word and the application which you make of it?
A.: S... which means silence, because we ought to listen with silent attention to the lessons of the High Priest and not reveal the secrets of our Brothers and Sisters.
Q.: Give me the Sacred Word and its application?
A.: ..., Which signifies Truth, and admonishes us that we ought to be absolutely truthful in all our relations with our Brothers and Sisters.
Q.: How are you named, and what are you?
A.: Judith, a woman of the tribe of Simeon.
My dear Brothers and Sisters, I will now explain to you the origin of this Degree. Nebuchadnezzar, King of Assyria, having vanquished Arphascad, King of the Medes, conceived the design of enslaving all the people of the earth. He sent ambassadors to all countries bordering upon his Empire, commanding them to submit to his clemency, but Israel refused his demands and treated his ambassadors with contempt. He resolved, therefore, to reduce them by force, and entrusted the enterprise to his General, Holofernes, who was accompanied by 120,000 footmen and 120,000 archers who were supported by the fear they had already inspired. The Children of Israel trembled with fear when he made for Jerusalem and the Temple of the Lord, for they heard of the sufferings of those who had already submitted to his yoke. They hastened to put the town and its suburbs in a state of defense and seized the mountain passes on the way to Jerusalem which they carefully guarded. Holofernes heard with astonishment that the Israelites were preparing to resist his march. He demanded of his suite who and what these people were, who refused to follow the example of those whom he had reduced. Achior, King of the Ammonites, answered by a speech upon the greatness of the Jews and the marvels by which their power had been upheld in all time. He assured Holofernes that so long as the people served their God faithfully, they were invincible, and that if roused they would defeat his forces. Holofernes and his officers were so indignant at Achiors discourse, that they tied his hands together and bound him to a tree at the foot of the mountains on which Bethulia stood. Some Israelites having descended the mountain discovered him, set him free and took him to Bethulia and exposed the ill-treatment to which he had been subject. When they had finished speaking, all of the people of Bethulia, prostrated themselves with their faces to the earth and cried, “All Powerful Lord, God of heaven and earth, consider the pride of our enemies, and behold the abasement and miserable state to which we are reduced together with all those who are consecrated to Thy service. Abandon not us, thy servants who trust in thy mercy, for we know that all who presume to glorify themselves and trust in their own strength succumb before Thee.”
There was at that time in Bethulia, a widow named Judith, very rich and beautiful, and who during her widowhood had lived retired in order to strengthen herself by holy exercises. On hearing the statement of Achior, she became possessed with an invincible desire such as can only come from God. She presented herself to the High Priest before the assembled people and reproached them for their want of confidence in God, and for their cowardice in thinking of surrendering the tower in five days if no relief arrived. She then informed them she had a design in her mind which she could not reveal, but would solicit their prayers for her success during the time she was absent from the town. She then returned to her house, clad herself in sackcloth and began to pray; she then arose and put on her most beautiful clothing which she perfumed exquisitely. As no evil worked in her heart, it seemed that new charms were added to her face, rendering her still more lovely.
Towards daybreak, Judith followed by one
of her women, opened the gates of the town, descended the mountain and on
reaching the Persian outposts desired to be led to Holofernes, who was so
captivated with her beauty, that he ordered her to be conducted to his tent, and
to be supplied with everything she might desire. On the fourth day, Holofernes
made a great feast, and invited Judith thereto, for he had conceived a violent
passion for her, animated by her presence he was so transported with joy that he
drank to excess and falling asleep his officers retired. It was then that Judith
determined upon putting her design into execution. She gently approached the bed
of Holofernes, seized his head by the hair and detaching a sabre from a pillar
prayed thus. “My Lord God, strengthen me at this moment.” She then struck two
blows with the sabre and cut off his head, which she put in a sack and gave to
her servant. Judith having thus accomplished her mission, left the camp and
returned to the gates of Bethulia, when the guards having recognized her, they
received her with torches. She made her entry holding the bloody head of
Holofernes by the hair and crying: Victory! Victory. Upon this the people rent
the air with great cries of joy, praising God for so unexpected a deliverance;
and acknowledging the glory of her who had so sensibly exposed herself for their
The ceremonial of this Degree, my Sister, is a representation of the heroic deed of Judith, of which I have just given you the recital.