Wise Men of America
Ritual of the Third Degree


1882


ARCHON: Herald, you will repair to the ante-room and ascertain if there be any candidates in waiting for the Third Degree; if so, report their names.
After the report of the Herald is received, the Archon says:
ARCHON:
Inspector General, you wi1l proceed to the ante-room and see that the candidate is properly prepared.
The Inspector GeneraI proceeds to the ante-room.
INSP. GEN. to the candidate:
It is necessary that you be blindfolded.
This is done. If there be more than one candidate, they all go through together, but the officers must be careful to designate them in the plural where the singular is used in this book. Each candidate is put under the charge of one or more special conductors, to be selected by the Inspector General or Archon, who accompany the candidates, under the control of the Inspector General. The Inspector General gives the regular signal of the Degree. * * * * * * * by loud knocks on the inner door.
WARDER:
Who knocks there?
INSP. GEN.:
The Inspector General with a candidate in charge.
WARDER, reporting to the Provost:
Worshipful Provost, the Inspector General, with a candidate in charge, desires admission.
PROVOST:
Most Eminent Archon, the Inspector General, with a candidate in charge, desires admission.
ARCHON:
Worshipful Provost, are we in readiness for his reception?
PROVOST:
All is in readiness.
ARCHON:
Then let him be admitted.
WARDER:
Enter within our portals.
The door is opened with a heavy sound. The candidate is conducted once around the entire circuit of the room, and halted when he returns to the Provost's Station; where the Inspector General gives seven blows with his staff.
INSP. GEN.:
Worshipful Provost, I present to you a candidate for the mysteries of the Third Degree.
PROVOST:
Candidate, do you solemnly promise to preserve and keep, the mysteries of the Third Degree, and not unlawfully impart them?
CANDIDATE:
I do.
The Provost then says to the candidate:
PROVOST:
Candidate, repeat after me, calling your own name:
I, Ö, do solemnly affirm in the presence of the Supreme Archon of the Universe that I hereby renew the obligations I have heretofore taken as a member of this Order; that I will defend and protect a brother, and aid him in his necessities, afflictions or adversities according to my ability. I will always. endeavor to so live and act that the great principles of charity and benevolence may be shown forth in my life, and so conduct myself that no reproach will be cast upon the Order through my unworthiness. I do further promise that I will always promptly, and at all hazards, respond to the distress call. I will endeavor by my unwavering zeal and fidelity, to promote the objects; sustain the principles and extend the influence of this Order, and conform to all the laws and usages. To the faithful performance of which I pledge my sacred honor. AMEN.
PROVOST:
I will now put you in charge of Ormisda, who will be your guide. You have nothing to fear so long as you listen to him, and follow his directions.
The conductors in this Degree should be persons capable of reading and speaking well, as one of them is to represent Ormisda, and the other Ahriman, and these characters should be well performed.
Ormisda now takes the candidate in charge, and conducts him around the room a number of times, delivering the following address to the candidate as he passes slowly along:
ORMISDA:
The path of life is thought dull by many when pursued with a grave sense of the object of the journey. But there are lessons of wisdom to be gathered, and we may sow our pathway with good deeds as we pass along. It is the object of our Order to awaken the mind to the leading principles and duties of life. It is strange that its greatest purposes are most frequently lost sight of, while they should be its greatest pleasure.
I am not a favorite with those who journey this way, and can only stay with such as find me welcome. I perceive that my discourse does not interest you and that like most other travelers, you find me a dull companion. Henceforth Ahriman will conduct you. His guidance you will find more congenial.
He is taken in charge by Ahriman, who conducts him on, around the room, addressing him as follows:
AHRIMAN:
Rejoice my friend, that you are now rid of the guide Ormisda. He is an old sober-sides, always preaching. It is strange that some people are neither content to enjoy themselves, nor let others do so. For what is the world, if it be not for our enjoyment? What is the use of always preaching morality, and that sort of thing? Trust to the impulses of your own heart, and all will be right. What he has been saying is all fol-de-rol; a little philosophy will soon teach you to set it at naught. Come, my friend, let us grapple with the world as we find it.
The candidate pauses before the Chancellor. He either stands upon the floor, or upon a movable platform. The latter is better, but is not absolutely necessary. He should be placed at some distance from the Chancellor, out upon the floor, and remain standing.
CHANCELLOR: In your progress thus far, you have doubtless thought this to be a purely charitable Order. Well, it is charitable; that is charity amongst ourselves; But at this period of your advancement, it is time to present some other ideas to you, which have hitherto been withheld. They were withheld because we first wished to know more about you. We wished to know whether you would do to tie to. Charity, my friend, is a good thing, but charity won't always do; charity won't buy the baby a frock. It is true that we make use of charity and such other things, as a cloak for our designs. Nothing can be done now-a-days, except under some cloak of that sort. Our object is, first, the teaching of philosophy−plain, practical philosophy, that teaches you as a first principle; to take care of number one; secondly, to help you fellow members in all their schemes or purposes, right or wrong, against the rest of the world. We are associated as an Order for our own individual purposes. We are bound to assist each other in distress: that is a small matter; and we must each one, be at all times ready to do for a brother whatsoever he may demand. We must know nothing beyond the interests and necessities of the Order. Thus far, our hearts must ever be open fountains, whence continually should flow aid and comfort for our brethren. Show your appreciation of the grand objects of the Order, and gladden us by your unquestioning acquiescence in our requests. Be seated, and let your resolution of maintaining the good of this Order be firm as the rock which now unyieldingly lends you its support. Here, set your name to this scroll, in testimony of your sincerity and good fellowship.
The candidate is placed upon a rock in the center of the room; paper, pen and ink are handed to him, and he is directed, to sign his name to the sheet, whereon has been written, (or is afterwards written above his signature) unknown to him, a draft for $1,000, or same onerous obligation. If he refuses to sign while blindfolded, the bandages will be removed. If he still refuses to sign, the members all shout aloud.
MEMBERS:
He refuses−he is unworthy of fellowship in our Order. Away with him!
If he consent, they express their gratification. The Chancellor then continues:
CHANCELLOR:
You have been fully enlightened as to the aim of our brotherhood, and it is now necessary for you to kneel and take an obligation to assist your fellow members in all their purposes, public or private, without inquiring whether they be right or wrong−provided they are not against your own interest. Kneels.
This is a plain proposition to do a wrong thing. The candidate may consent or not. It is, of course, no intention of the Order to permit any member to take a wrongful obligation. The Degree is a lesson against temptation.
Those candidates who consent, of course will kneel; the others will remain standing.
The candidate or candidates will now be rushed upon by the members, whether they consent or not; those who consent will be rushed upon for the purpose of giving them a lesson for such a thoughtless and wrongful yielding to temptation; those who refuse will be rushed upon at the same time, as if it were the intention of the members to punish them for their obstinacy. If the candidates are on a movable platform, it will be made to shake like an earthquake for a while, before they are rushed upon. They will be hastened around the room and demoniac noises, clashing of swords, thunder, lightning and rain. At length they will be halted before the Archon's, chair. Those who consented will be seated on the left; those who refused will be seated on the right. The bandages are taken from the candidate.
ARCHON:
It was never our intention that a candidate should be permitted to take a wrongful obligation. What you have passed through was intended as a lesson against temptation.
The Order of Wise Men teaches nothing that can conflict with the most sacred of duties. On the contrary, it seeks to enforce those duties which, in the hardening struggles of life, men are too prone to forget. Be ever firm and watchful, and ever adhere to the principle. Is this your Signature?
The document is shown to the candidate and its contents read aloud.

You should never do an act without counting seven times, and know what you are doing. See the evidence of the onerous charge which you have so thoughtlessly assumed.
The Archon burns the paper.

Let the remembrance of this ever be bright in your memory, lest you be brought down to bewail misery and desolation, induced by recklessness and folly.
 
 
Archonís Address to the Candidates on the Right
 
This address is given only to the candidate or candidates who refused. If none refused this address is omitted.
ARCHON:
You have had the self-possession and courage to discern the advances of false philosophy and to resist them. I congratulate you, and have only to add, that what you have passed through is simply a lesson, showing in the rugged path you were made to pass over, as a punishment of your resistance of temptation, how the evil are ever seeking to throw obstacles and difficulties in the way of virtue and integrity.
 
 
Address to the Candidates on the Left
 
This is omitted if there be no candidate present, who consented.
ARCHON:
To you who failed to perceive the snare into which you were being led, we have no censure to offer. Many of us have been alike thoughtless and inconsiderate.
We are happy to know from the character you have sustained, and which has shown you worthy of admission and advancement in our Order, that yours has been an error of want of thought or attention, and not of principle. But let the lesson sink deep into your heart. Error is honey-tongued, artful and persuasive. Let us not suffer ourselves to be beguiled by it.
The Archon now addresses the Inspector General as follows:
ARCHON:
Inspector General, you will now see that the candidate is clothed in a crimson apron, and again seated before me for instructions.
 
 
Instructions in the Third Degree
 
ARCHON:
In the ancient mystic teachings, two Beings or Principles were represented as controlling the entire universe. These were Ormisda and Ahriman, who represented the good and evil principle, the right and the wrong. The choice of the right or the wrong is ever before us and within ns. It depends upon ourselves which shall obtain the mastery. If we lend a willing ear to the latter, we will find its words honey-tongued, artful and persuasive, and its reasonings and arguments plausible and seductive. To err is human. It therefore behooves us to be guarded and cautious, whenever any proposition is made to us either from within or without, involving anything, not strictly conforming to the moral sense. By remembering this caution, and refusing to yield to false philosophy, however ingenious, much evil may be avoided.
I will now give you an outline of the instructions of the Third Degree of which the distinguishing color is crimson.
Signal: At the inner door, three and four.
Password: Forever.
Sign: Bring the hands above the head, the finger ends touching, and the arms bent out in the form of a circle−an unbroken circle meaning eternity.
You will now take your scat among the members of the Lodge, and I proclaim you to be a Third Degree member of the Order.
After the Degree is conferred all will join in singing the Welcome Ode.


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