Ancient Order of Scottish Builders
Ritual of the Third Degree
W.M.: Officers be upstanding and assist me to open the Lodge in the Third Degree.
Brothers all, brother deputy, what is the first and chief care in a Lodge of the Third Degree?
D.M.: To see the Lodge is duly tiled.
W.M.: Order that duty to be done and report the case to me.
D.M.: Brother Junior Deacon, see the Lodge is tiled.
J.D.: Brother Deputy, the Lodge is duly tiled.
D.M.: Worshipful Master, the Lodge is duly tiled.
W.M.: Brother Senior Deacon, what is the next care in a Lodge of the Third Degree?
S.D.: To see that every person present prove himself a brother of the Third Degree by the sign and word of that degree.
W.M.: Direct that duty to be done, and should you or any brother present here any doubt, look with an eye of scrutiny.
S.D.: Brothers, you are requested to prove yourselves of the Third Degree by the sign and word of that degree.
S.D.: Worshipful Master, the brethren present having proved themselves of the Third Degree by the sign and word of that Degree; I, In conformity with their example, demonstrate the same to you.
W.M.: Brother Deputy, Officers and Brothers all, our Lodge being duly proven by the sign and word of the Third Degree, let us, before I declare it opened, invoke a blessing from the Sublime Power of the Universe.
Chap.: May the blessing of Thee, O God! who delivered the Israelites from the wrath of Pharaoh, be upon this Lodge.
All respond: Amen.
W.M.: Brother Deputy, Officers and Brothers all, I declare this Lodge duly opened for the purpose of the Third Degree.
The Candidate waits in the ante-room while the Lodge is being opened, and as prepared by the Senior Deacon. He is not now hoodwinked; his left arm and right knee made bare and left heel slipshod. The S.D., with the Candidate, knocks at the door in the proper manner. The Junior Deacon, or Inner Guard, receives the Password, of the degree, and reports in the following manner: Worshipful Master, Brother Senior Deacon is at the door with a brother of this Lodge, raised to the degree of Ancient Scottish Builder and has made such progress as we hope will recommend him to the higher degrees, for which ceremony he now comes properly prepared
W.M.: How does he hope to obtain the privileges of such degrees?
J.D.: By the help of God, the aid of the square and compasses, and the benefit of a password.
W.M.: We acknowledge the powerful aid by which he seeks it; Do you, brother Junior Deacon, vouch that he is legally in possession of that password?
J.D.: I do, Most Worthy Master.
W.M.: Then let him be admitted in due form.
The Candidate will be conducted around the chain three times (here first part of Ode may be sung) and is made to kneel on right knee, left foot forming a square, at the foot of the altar.
l. Forward be our watchword,
Steps and voices joined;
Seek the things before us,
Not a look behind,:
Burns the fiery pillar
At our army's bead,
Who shall dream of shrinking
By our Captain led?
Forward through the desert,
Through the toll and strife,
Canaan lies before us,
Zion beams with light.
2. Far o'er you horizon
Rise the city's towers,
Where our God abideth,
That fair home is ours;
Flash the streets with jasper,
Shine the gates with gold;
Flows the gladdening river
Shedding joys untold.
Thither, onward thither
In the Spirit's might;
Pilgrims to your country,
Forward into light.
Lesson: Joshua, c 5 v l-9 (AMOS 7-7-8).
Chap.: Almighty God, who art the sole Architect of the Universe, at whose command the world burst forth from chaos, and all created matter had its birth, look down, we pray Thee, at this tune in a more peculiar manner on this Thy servant and henceforth crown him with every blessing from Thine inexhaustible store. But, above all, give him grace to consider well his present undertaking, that he may neither proceed therein lightly, nor recede from it dishonorably, but pursue it steadily, ever remembering the intention, which is the acquisition of true wisdom and understanding, by searching out the great and glorious works for promoting Thy honor and glory, for the benefit of the whole creation and his own eternal welfare.
All: So mote it be!
The Candidate is now raised and carried once more, three times, past the chain, that all should see he is properly prepared, during which time the 2nd part of the Ode may be sung when he is again presented to the W.M. by the S.D.
S.D.: Worshipful Master, I present to you Brother ..., who desires to be made a member of the Third Degree for which he comes duly prepared.
W.M.: Your representation I acknowledge.
Brother ..., are you wishful to take up the Third or Third Degree?
W.M.: It is necessary, before you are initiated to the Third Degree, that you prove yourself a brother of the Scarlet, which you cannot better demonstrate than to letter the password of that degree. Have you the password?
Can.: I have.
W.M.: Will you give it to me?
Can.: I will letter it with you.
W.M.: Proceed, brother.
Can.: No, you proceed.
W.M.: K. Ark.
Why is Ark your password?
Can.: Because Ark prepared the way of the Israelites before they passed over Jordan.
W.M.: What is your sign?
Can.: I was taught to be cautious in giving that, but as I have proved you to be a brother,
I will show it to you. The sign is then shown.
W.M.: What does it represent?
Can.: What the Ark contained, viz.: the book of the Law, Aaron's rod, and the shewbread.
W.M.: Have you a test grip of this Degree?
Can.: I have. Here given.
The grip is given by a distinct pressure of the thumb of our right hand, between the joints of the first and middle lagers of the right hand of a brother.
W.M.: Is there not a testword given when the test grip is received?
Can.: Yes, Right Worshipful.
W.M.: Will you give me that word?
Can.: At my initiation I was taught to be cautious, but will letter or half it with you, if you will begin.
W.M.: S. Why is Moses used as a test word?
Can.: Because he was the first Master who presided over a Lodge of this Order, when those two excellent Scottish Builders, Aholiab and Bezateel, performed their work in the wilderness; and there is a grand degree of this Order dedicated to Moses in memory of him, called Excellent Scottish Builders; also, when King David prepared a place for the Ark, he ordered the Priests and Levites to bring it from Obed-Edom, there was a great service appointed for the occasion and the Levites appointed brethren of this degree to assist them as singers with instruments of musk, as you will find recorded in the 15 chap. I Chro. for our information.
W.M.: Brother Senior Deacon, kindly conduct the Candidate to the Worthy Chaplain.
Chap.: Lesson 4th Chap. Joshua v. 1-10.
After which the S.D. is directed to present the Can. to the W.M.
S.D.: Worshipful Master, I present to you Brother ..., for further instruction.
W.M.: Brother ..., in all cases of difficulty and danger in whom do you put your trust?
Can.: In God.
W.M.: Glad am I to find your faith so well founded. Do you pledge your honor as a man, and your fidelity as a Builder, that you are not actuated by any improper motives in taking up the Third degree?
Can.: I do. Formalities.
The Candidate is conducted to the ante-room until the Lodge considers what are the formalities should undergo in crossing Jordan, with the many obstacles and for such purpose he returns to Lodge and be subject to the command of the W.M.
W.M.: Brother, as in every case the degree of Building is to be kept separate and distinct, another obligation will now be required of you, in many respects similar to the former.
Are you willing to take it!
Can.: I am.
W.M.: Then you will kneel on your right knee, your left foot in the form of a square, your body erect, and place your right hand upon your heart, your left hand on the Volume of the Sacred Laws, calling your name in full, and say after me:
I, ..., in the presence of the Grand Geometrician of the Universe and this Worshipful and Warranted Lodge of Fellow Scottish Builders, duly constituted, regularly assembled and properly dedicated, of my own free will and accord, do hereby and hereon most solemnly promise and swear, that I will always hail, conceal and never reveal any or either of the secrets or mysteries of or belonging to the Third degree of Building, known by the name of Fellow Scottish Builders, any more than I would either of them to the uninitiated or the popular world who are Scottish Builders.
I further solemnly pledge myself to act as a true and faithful Builder, obey signs and maintain the principles inculcated in the fist degree: All these points I most solemnly swear to obey, without evasion, equivocation or mental reservation of any kind, under no less a penalty, on the violation of any of them, in addition to my former obligation, than to have my left breast torn open, my heart torn therefrom and given to the ravenous birds of the air, or the devouring beast of the fields, as a prey. So help me, Almighty God and keep me steadfast in this my great and solemn obligation of a Ancient Scottish Builder.
As a pledge of your fidelity and to render this a solemn obligation, which would otherwise be but a serious promise, I will thank you to seal it with your lips twice on the Volume of the Sacred Law. Done.
W.M.: Rise, newly obligated Ancient Scottish Builder.
Brother ..., as the emblems of a Builder Lodge are illustrative of symbolical meaning and are imparted to each brother according to the degrees he takes up, I shall now point out to our notice two of them: one is the twelve stones; they are emblematical, first of the twelve tribes of Israel secondly, of the twelve spies sent out by Moses to spy out the promised land; thirdly, of the twelve stones set up in the midst of Jordan, and fourthly, of the twelve stones taken out of Jordan and set up in the land of Promise, one by each tribe, for a lasting memorial to their posterity, of the dividing of the River Jordan.. The next is a ladder, denominated in Scripture as Jacob's ladder, it is composed of several staves, which are illustrative of many moral virtues: there are three principal ones, Faith, Hope and Charity. Faith is the Great Builder of the Universe: Hope in a lasting immortality; Charity, the mother of mercy: these are to be the distinguishing characteristic of every Ancient Builder's heart.
You may now be intrusted with sign and password of the third degree:
The sign is: placing the two first fingers of your right hand flat on the right thigh putting the right foot forward.
The password is Jordan. The testword Aaron.
Candidate regaled is taken to the ante-room and resumes his dress and returns to the Lodge proper and presented by S.D. as previously done.
W.M.: Have you received the Arch-mark or third degree?
Can.: I have.
W.M.: What color represents that degree?
W.M.: Of what were you told it is a memorial?
A: Of the dividing of the River Jordan, for the Israelites to pass over, which waters separated the land of Moab from the land of Canaan, the latter being a land of Promise, which the Lord swore unto Abraham, unto Isaac and unto Jacob, should be given unto their seed to inherit.
W.M.: Did Moses cross Jordan to possess the good land?
A: No, he died in the land of Moab, on Mount Nebo, and was buried by the Lord, but his sepulchre was never yet known.
W.M.: Who succeeded him as leader of the Israelites?
A: Joshua, one of the twelve spies whom Moses sent over the Jordan to inspect the Promised Land; and he only, with the exception of Caleb, brought a good report of the Promised Land.
W.M.: By what means did Joshua memorialize the dividing of the waters of Jordan?
A: By setting up twelve stones in the midst of Jordan, where the Priests' feet stood, who bore the Ark while the Israelites passed over.
W.M.: Was this the only memorial?
A: No, be also planted in the Land of Promise, for a lasting memorial to the Israelites, twelve stones, which he caused to be taken out of the midst of Jordan by twelve men chosen out of the twelve tribes, every tribe a man, who carried the stones upon their shoulders to the place for which they were destined.
W.M.: Did the Israelites go over Jordan by dry land?
A: They did, for when the foot of the Priests who bore the Ark touched the brink of the water, the waters divided each side; but when the Israelites had crossed over, and the Priests with the Ark had stepped on the opposite bank, the waters receded as the Red Sea receded when Moses stretched forth his rod over it and drowned Pharaoh and the whole of his host.
W.M.: Have you the password of the Third Degree?
Can.: I have.
W.M.: Will you give it to me?
Can.: I was told to be cautious in giving it to anyone; but I will divide or letter it with you, if you will begin.
W.M.: Jordan. Will you give me the sign of the Third Degree?
Can.: I was told to be cautious in giving that, but, as have proved you to be a brother, I will show it to you. The sign in here shown.
W.M.: Of what is it a token?
Can.: Of those who brought a good report of the Promised Land and they only out of the twelve who went over to possess it, viz.: Joshua and Caleb.
W.M.: Have you a test grip to this degree?
Can.: I have.
W.M.: Is there not a test word given when the test grip is received?
Can.: Yes. Right Worshipful.
W.M.: Will you give it to me?
Can.: I will, but not until you shall have advanced due proof that you are in possession of the same by lettering it with me.
W.M.: N. Why is Aaron used as a testword?
Can.: Because he was the first Master who presided over a Lodge of this Order, also the first Priest that presided over a Sacred Lodge held in the Tabernacle in the wilderness of Arabia and the Grand Degree of super-Excellent Scottish Builders was dedicated to him as a memorial.
W.M.: My brother: the time, was now at hand when Moses was to die, and, at God's command, Joshua was appointed in his stead. Before he died, Moses gathered the people together and spoke serious and earnest words to them. He reminded them of all the goodness of the Lord in their wanderings in the wilderness and of their frequent disobediences. He told them they were to teach the commandments of God to their children; talk about them in the house, when they were walking outside, and when they rose in the morning: And the sum of them was: "Thou shall love thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and all thy might."
After Moses had blessed Joshua before all the people, and exhorted him to be strong and of good courage, they went together into the Tabernacle, where God spoke to them of His good pleasure regarding His chosen people. Moses then went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo to the top of Pisgah, where God gave him a view of the Promised Land, which he was not to be allowed to enter. The Lord said "This is the land which I swore unto Abraham, unto Isaac and unto Jacob, saying, I will give it unto thy seed. I have caused thee to see it with thine eyes, but thou shall not go over thither."
And Moses was an hundred and twenty years old when he died upon the Mount. No man knew his burial place, for the Lord buried him in a valley of Moab.
And there was never in Israel a prophet like unto Moses whom the Lord knew face to face. And the word of the Lord came to Joshua that Moses was dead, and that he was to arise and become their leader and take the children of Israel across Jordan into the land of Canaan. The promise was given to him: "As l was with Moses, so I will be with thee, I will not fell thee nor forsake thee." He was commanded to be strong and of good courage; and if he made the Law of God the Law of his life, then the Lord would make his way prosperous.
Joshua led the people to the brink of Jordan, where they stayed three days. On the morning of the fourth day, at the command of Joshua, the Priests took the Ark and marched forward, and as soon as their feet touched the water, the water parted before them, and they walked to the center of the river, where they remained with the Ark.
The people then walked over on dry ground, as they had done through the Red Sea, and as soon as they had all passed over, the waters came back again and covered the pathway they had trodden and flowed on as before. Before Joshua died he bade farewell to the elders and chiefs and told them to take good heed unto themselves that they love the Lord their God, and ask them to choose that day whom they would serve, adding "as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." And the people answered that they also would serve the Lord, and Joshua made covenant with them, and wrote it in the book of the Law of God. He also set up a stone pillar as a witness under an oak-tree at Shechem; and so Joshua let the people depart every man into his inheritance; and Joshua was an hundred and ten years old when he died, and they buried him in Mount Ephraim.
W.M.: Brother, take your seat.
W.M.: Officers be upstanding and assist me to close the Lodge in the Third Degree.
Brother Deputy, of what form is every well-regulated and duly constructed Lodge of the Ancient Order of Scottish Builders?
D.M: Of an oblong square situated east and west.
W.M.: For what reason are they so situated?
D.M.: Because the tabernacle was formed due east and west, and also the temple of Solomon, and so in every place of divine worship, or at least ought to be.
W.M.: Can you assign any other reason?
D.M.: Yes, three others. First, the Sun, the glory of creation, riseth in the east and setteth in the west; second, learning originated in the cast and spread its gracious influence to the west; and the third, grand and last reason is, that the gospel was first promulgated in the east and extended itself to the west.
W.M.: Brother Deputy, officers and brothers all, our Lodge being of due form, let us, before I declare it closed, express our gratitude to the Sublime Power above.
Chap.: Almighty God, maker of the Universe, we return Thee sincere thanks for all favors received at Thine hands, and mayest Thou impress upon every brother's heart that, wherever we are and whatever we do, Thine all-seeing eye beholds us.
All Officers respond: Amen.
W.M.: I declare this Lodge duly closed, strictly forbidding all cursing, swearing, or any profane language so long as we are assembled together.