Methodist Order of Knights
Ritual of the Fourth or Officer’s Degree
N.B.—In this degree all are addressed as Lord.
Let the room he prepared as for the first degree. The retiring Lord Commander shall preside. If any Officers are absent, it shall be his duty to see their places temporarily filled. All but the retiring Officers and such temporary substitutes retire.
L.C.: Lord of the entrance, what are your duties?
L.E.: To see that the door is properly guarded, my Lord.
L.C.: Chief Lord, are all present Members in this honourable degree?
C.L.: Yes, my Lord.
L.C.: The Lord of the Entrance will then admit smugly the Lords who wait without, but he will be careful to admit none but those in possession of the grip and password, which he will demand, nor will he open the door without hearing for each one the knock. Does so, requiring grip and word. The Lord P.M. takes them to the side of his chair, where they give the signs required, and then are escorted to a seat. All signs first to fourth degree.
L.E.: My Lord, all are admitted.
L.C.: Lord P.M., you will please collect the jewels and place them on this table. The Officers’ monogram jewel is the property of the Court, and is worn by Officers for the time being only. It is transferred to their successors.
L.C.: Chief Lord, will you please proclaim the names of the new Officers. As you do so let the Lord of the Entrance admit them and form them into a line facing me. This is done. Door securely closed.
In installations, anyone from the rank of Bishop upwards may be invited to perform the ceremony. When visitors can be present, it is well to give up the offices at the opening to them, as a courtesy. We are supposing the Bp. is asked to install.
L.C.: My Lord Bishop, you will now proceed with the installation. Bp. adds to hue of new Officers, all who are re-elected, in order of precedence.
Bp., taking Commander’s chair: My Lords, you will place your hand over your heart thus uses right hand in token of your fidelity and honour, and repeat after me the following solemn pledge knocks; all stand with hand over heart:—I pledge my word of honour before God and this assembly that I will diligently perform the duties of my office, act with justice, and show unfailing courtesy to all under me. I will keep the secrets of this degree with the strictest caution, and will abide by the Constitution and obey all Orders from the Round Table Council or governor.
Bp. to all but those in line, as Officers elect, he says: Be seated, my Lords.
Bp.: My Lord … surname has been elected Lord Commander of this Order, and I now call upon him to assume command. New K.O. stands at his chair. I now entrust you with the sceptre (or sword), and with it the fortunes of this Court of the Order, for under your guidance now come all its interests. You will now sit in the chair of King Arthur as his successor sits, in which it will be your privilege always to remain seated, in all degrees even when others are required to stand, excepting always when prayer is offered, Scripture is read or pledges are given to God. For you, even in your exalted station, owe the same reverence to God as we do ourselves. I have the honour now to invest yon with the regalia of the Lord Commander. An O.K. monogram, in silver gilt, suspended by a red ribbon. You will wear this at all meetings at which you preside, as the badge of your office, and you will use the sceptre as the insignia of your authority. You will now invest your Officers.
L.C.: My Lord Bp., you will now present to me the Bp.-elect. Does. I have pleasure in appointing you Bp. for the ensuing term, and present you with the jewel of office. You will wear this at all meetings of the Order. This is repeated right through to the office of Lord of the Entrance.
L.C.: My Lord Bp., you will now seek help for us by prayer. Knocks. All stand, hand over heart.
Bp.: Heavenly Father, we offer our knightly service to Thee for another term of usefulness May we continue the art of true chivalry, in the spirit of Christly service, through Jesus Christ, our Eternal King.
All say: Amen.
The Installing Officer then delivers the lecture and gives the secrets.
You will remember that Sir Galahad in his quest of the Grail, came near the coast to the cave of a hermit. On one of these visits he met a beautiful and holy maiden, whom he afterwards learned was the sister of Sir Perceval. She had come from a ship near by in search of Galahad, and took him aboard, where he was delighted to find Sir Perceval and Sir Bohort. The wind drove them out to sea, and at the end of two days they found themselves between two great rocks, but were unable to land, owing to there being a whirlpool all around them. But there was another ship, and on it they might go without danger. Arriving on board, they found a silver table and the Holy Grail, covered with red samite silk, and anon, the wind drove them over the sea again till they came to the city of Sarras, where they landed. On carrying their precious find into the city, a cripple, whose assistance they requested, was miraculously healed on touching the silver table. Arriving at the city, they found that the King had just died, and left no heir to the throne A Voice from heaven cried: "Make the youngest of these visiting Knights King." That was Galahad. Being made King, he at once had a chest of gold and precious stones made to hold the Holy Vessel, which had thus been restored to England by the holy and noble services of the Knights. And every day the three Companions, now exalted to be Lords of the City and Kingdom of Sarras, came before the Holy Grail and made their prayers. On the first anniversary of his appointment as King, Galahad rose early, and went into the room where the sacred vessel was to pray. He was astonished to see another Knight kneeling there with a great company of angels. This Knight called to Galahad and explained that he was Joseph of Arimathea, who had originally brought the Holy Vessel to England, and had been sent to grant Galahad his heart’s desire. So constant had been Galahad’s contact with the cup which held the clear symbols of Christ’s dying love on the eve of His death for us, and so much had he thought of Christ’s words, "This is My blood, which was shed for thee," as he had held that very cup, that his kingship and palace was as nothing to him, and he said his heart’s desire was to go and be with his dear Lord. May death be as free from terrors and as sweet to you when your end comes as it was to Galahad. Bidding an affectionate farewell to his fellow-knights and his sister, he softly passed away. Then there came out of heaven, before their astonished eyes, a hand—but no body was seen—and it took up the Holy Grail and bore it away to the skies, so that from that day the Grail has never been seen on earth any more. A Knight of old saw a similar vision, which makes Galahad’s pale into insignificance, and we, too, may see it Of it he wrote
"Ere since by faith I saw the stream thy flowing wounds supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme, and shall be till I die."
I now entrust you, my Lords, with the secrets of this degree, which are:
1. The Knock: You will add one short knock to that of the Knight’s degree, making ―.―.―. That is, three loud and three soft, alternating.
2. The Grip consists of a distinct movement of the thumb, by once drawing the fleshy part (of the first joint) across the back of the other’s hand towards his little finger.
3. The Sign is to hold the two closed hands against the middle of the chest, the nails lying against the body. It refers to the two rocks where the ship of the Holy Grail was found
4. The Countersign is to reach in front with a flexed hand as if going to grasp a cup. It refers to the hand reaching out of heaven and taking the Grail to the skies.
5. The Passwords are "G... and F…" These were the names of the rocks that guarded the ship of the Grail. Let your two hands which represent these rocks in giving the sign, be so named. And may these qualities be the chief feature of your term of office You will give the latter when challenged. and expect to receive the former in reply.
6. The Cypher is made by using the first letter only in each word, using a comma to denote the end of a word. Thus, if you were obtaining secret information and got this: ‘‘Young, Everything, Song,’’ that would be "yes."
7. The Mark of Officers is …. It represents the two rocks and the two ships and the whirlpool.
Signature.—Under name, the sign of Officers’ knock may be placed thus:—J. Smith ―.―.―.
L.C.: Lord of the Entrance, you will admit all who can give the password of a Knight and the Knight’s grip. Admits. They enter, and sit without any sign. Bp. knocks.
Bp. or Installing Officer: Sir Knights, during your wait outside Sir Knight Commander … name has been regularly installed into the chair of King Arthur, and I call on you all to salute him thrice as Knights, taking your time from me. Done.
L.C. gives countersign and says: Be seated, Brethren.
K.C.: Sir Knight of the Entrance must use this title now, admit all who can give the password and grip of an Esquire. Does same as last lot.
Bp., knocks: Comrades, during your wait outside, Sir K.C. … name has been regularly
installed into the chair of King Arthur, and I call on you all to be upstanding and salute him twice as an Esquire. K.C. gives counter and says: Be seated, Comrades.
K.C.: Sir K.E., you will admit all who can give the grip and word of a Page. Does.
Bp., knock: Companions, during your wait outside, Sir K.C. … name has been regularly
installed into the chair of King Arthur, and I call upon you to be upstanding and salute him once as a Page. K.C. gives counter and says: Be seated, Companions.
In these salutes, all present take part except the K.C.
Bp.: Let us now give our K.C. the highest honours in the Order.
K.C., may acknowledge in a brief speech, then: Companions, assist me to close this assembly.
Closed the same as in the first degree, omitting the business question.
It is customary to have a simple feast at the close of an installation, and if so, a timely word of invitation is necessary before the assembly closes, in case visitors are present. Visitors from other Courts should be greatly encouraged to attend installations.