Ancient Illustrious Order Knights of Malta
Seventh Degree – White

This ritual dates from 1909

Ceremony of Initiation

The previous order of business having been disposed of, should there he a candidate or candidates to receive the White Degree, the Sir Knight
Commander will say: Sir Knight Warder, what is the particular cause of our assembling here?
Warder: Sir Knight Commander, knightly association, the propagation of our Order, and the advancement of such worthy Companions as are desirous thereof.
Sir Knight Commander: Sir Knight Warder, ascertain if there be any such in the preparation room, by raising the wicket and inquiring of the Sentinel.
Warder, having done so: Sir Knight Commander, there are.
Sir Knight Commander: Sir Knights Captain General, Senior and Junior Wardens, retire to the preparation room, prepare and introduce the candidates.
These officers then retire to the preparation room, and prepare the candidate as follows: He is divested of his outer clothing and invested with a white robe. A shepherd’s scrip or bag containing bread, cheese and wine will be suspended from his shoulders. A sling is attached to his robe, and a crook or staff is placed in his hand. He will then be blindfolded. The Captain General then leaves the candidate in charge of the Senior and Junior Wardens, re-enters the Council Chamber, and announces as follows: Sir Knight Commander, the candidate is duly prepared and ready to be received.
The Warder will then rap the number of the degree * * * * * on the door of the preparation room, to signify that all is in readiness in the Council Chamber. The Senior Warden then gives * * * * * loud raps, opens the door of the Council Chamber, and the Warder says: Sir Knight Commander, there is an alarm from the Sentinel.
Sir Knight Commander: Ascertain the cause.
The Warder then gives * * * * * loud raps, opens the door of the preparation room, and says: Who comes here to disturb the peace and harmony of this duly convoked White Commandery?
Senior Warden: A true and worthy Sir Knight who, having received the first six degrees of our Order, now desires to be advanced to the dignity of a Companion of the White Degree.
Warder: How does he expect to gain admission?
Senior Warden: By the benefit of a password.
Warder: Has he that password?
Senior Warden: No, but I have it for him.
Warder: Advance and give it.
Senior Warder gives the entrance password to the Warder.
Warder: The pass is right. I will acquaint the Sir Knight Commander with his request.
The Warder will then close the door.
Warder: Sir Knight Commander, there is without a true and worthy Sir Knight who, having received the first six degrees of our Order, now desires to be advanced to the dignity of a Companion of the White Degree.
Sir Knight Commander: What recommendation has he?
Warder: The entrance password of this degree, which has been presented for him by the Senior Warden of this Commandery?
Sir Knight Commander: Being vouched for by our Senior Warden, his claim is just. You have, therefore, my command to permit the candidate to enter.
The candidate is then admitted into the Council Chamber and will stand Just inside the door. The Prelate then reads: Now the Philistines gathered together their armies to battle, and were gathered together at Shochoh, which belongeth to Judah, and pitched between Shochoh and Azekah, in Ephes-dammim.
The Generalissimo will now give the command, and the army of the Philistines will march around the Council Chamber and take up position in front ol his station.
Prelate: And Saul and the men of Israel were gathered together, and pitched by the valley of Elah, and set the battle in array against the Philistines.
The Captain General then gives the command, and the army of Israel marches around the Council Chamber and takes up position in front of the Sir Knight Commander’s station
Prelate: And the Philistines stood on a mountain on one side, and Israel stood on a mountain on the other side: and there was a valley between them. And there went out a champion out of the camp of the Philistines named Goliath, of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span.
A tall, heavy Companion, dressed to represent a giant, will now walk out from amongst the Philistines with a heavy step and stand in front of them.
Prelate: And he had a helmet of brass upon his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail; and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of brass. And he had greaves of brass upon his legs, and a target of brass between his shoulders. And the staff of his spear was like a weaver’s beam; and his spear’s head weighed six hundred shekels of iron; and one bearing a shield went before him. And he stood and cried unto the armies of Israel, and said unto them, Why are ye come out to set your battle in array ? Am not I a Philistine, and ye servants to Saul? Choose you a man for you, and let him come down to me. If he be able to fight with me and to kill me, then will we be your servants; but if I prevail against him and kill him, then shall ye be our servants and serve us. And the Philistine said, I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man that we may fight together.
The giant will now raise his spear and in a loud voice say: I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together.
Prelate: When Saul and all Israel heard those words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid. Now David was the son of that Ephrathite of Beth-lehem-judah, whose name was Jesse; and he had eight sons: and the man went among the men for an old man in the days of Saul. And the three eldest sons of Jesse went and followed Saul to the battle; and the names of his three sons that went to the battle were Eliab the first-born, and next unto him Abinadab, and the third Shammah. And David was the youngest; and the three eldest followed Saul. But David went and returned from Saul to feed his father’s sheep at Beth-lehem. And the Philistine drew near morning and evening, and presented himself forty days.
The giant here steps out toward the army of Israel with a heavy stop, walking to and fro for a moment, when the Prelate will continue: And Jesse said unto David, his son, take now for thy brethren an ephah of this parched corn, and these ten loaves, and run to the camp to thy brethren; and carry these ten cheeses unto the captain of their thousand, and look how thy brethren fare, and take their pledge.
Now Saul, and they, and all the men of Israel, were in the valley of Elah, fighting with the Philistines. And David rose up early in the morning, and left the sheep with a keeper, and took, and went, as Jesse had commanded him; and he came to the trench as the host was going forth to the fight, and shouted for the battle. For Israel and the Philistines had put the battle in array, army against army. And David left his carriage in the hand of the keeper of the carriage, and ran into the army, and came and saluted his brethren.
The candidate, who represents David, will now be conducted forward and stand before the army of Israel.
Prelate: And as be talked with them, behold there came up the champion, the Philistine of Gath, Goliath by name, out of the armies of the Philistines, and spake according to the same words: and David heard them. And all the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him and were sore afraid. And the men of Israel said: Have ye seen this man that is come up? Surely to defy Israel is he come up: and it shall be that the man who killeth him, the king will enrich him with great riches, and will give him his daughter, and make his father’s house free in Israel. And David spake to the men that stood by him, saying, What shall be done to the man that killeth this Philistine, and taketh away the reproach from Israel? for who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God? And the people answered him after this manner, saying, So shall it be done to the man that killeth him.
And David said to Saul, Let no man’s heart fail because of him; thy servant will go and fight with this Philistine. And Saul said to David, Thou art not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him. for thou art but a youth, and he a man of war from his youth. And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father’s sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock:
And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth: and when he rose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him. Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear, and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God. David said, moreover, The Lord that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine.
As the Prelate concludes his reading, the Sir Knight Commander advances to the candidate, and taking him by the right hand says: Go, and the Lord be with thee.
The Senior Warden then removes the white robe, scrip and sling from the candidate. The Sir Knight Commander then places a helmet upon his head and arms him with a coat if mail, sword and belt. While this is being done, the Prelate will read the following lesson, care being taken that the reading shall correspond with the work: And Saul armed David with his armor, and he put a helmet of brass upon his head; also he armed him with a coat of mail. And David girded his sword upon his armor, and he essayed to go.
The candidate is then conducted once around the room and returned to the same position The Prelate then reads: And David said unto Saul, I cannot go with these; for I have not proved them. And David put them off him.
The candidate is then divested of the coat of mail, helmet, sword and belt, and again invested with his staff, sling and scrip, the bread, wine and cheeses having been removed. The Prelate then reads: And he took his staff in his hand and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in a shepherd’s bag which he had, even in a scrip; and his sling was in his hand, and he drew near to the Philistine.
The candidate is then conducted once around the room to a basin of water, in which are five small, smooth stones. Assisted by the Senior Warden, he takes the stones from the water and places them in his scrip.
He then returns to his position in front of the army of Israel, and the Prelate will then read: And the Philistine came on and drew near unto David; and the man that bare the shield went before him. And when the Philistine looked about and saw David, he disdained him: for he was but a youth, and ruddy, and of a fair countenance. And the Philistine said unto David, Am I a dog that thou comest to me with staves? And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. And the Philistine said to David, Come to me, and I will give thy flesh unto the fowls of the air, and to the beasts of the field. Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield; but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of Hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. This day will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcasses of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. And all this assembly shall know that the Lord saveth not with the sword and spear: for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give you into our hands. And it came to pass, when the Philistine arose, and came and drew nigh to meet David, that David hasted, and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine. And David put his hand in his bag, and took thence a stone, and slang it, and smote the Philistine in his forehead, that the stone sunk into his forehead; and he fell upon his face to the earth.
The candidate, assisted by the Senior Warden will now put his hand in his scrip, take out one of the stones, and place it in his sling. The giant then moves about as if in a great rage. The candidate will now throw the stone in his sling at the giant, care being taken that no one is injured. At the instant the stone is thrown, the giant will fall to the floor with a loud noise. The Prelate then reads: So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and smote the Philistine, and slew him; but there was no sword in the hand of David. Therefore David ran and stood upon the Philistine, and took his sword, and drew it out of the sheath thereof and slew him, and cut off his head therewith.
The lights are turned low, and the candidate then advances toward the giant, and, assisted by the Senior Warden, draws the giant’s sword, and with his left hand lie grasps the hair of a head which the giant has under his coat as he falls. The candidate will then raise the sword:  which should be a strong, heavy one: and bring it down upon the floor with a noise, as if cutting off the giant’s head. The army of the Philistines then rushes quickly across the Council Chamber and enters an adjoining room.
Prelate: And when the Philistines saw their champion was dead, they fled.
The candidate will then stand holding the head in his left hand, the blindfold is removed and he will behold a transparency of ‘David Slays Goliath,’ after which the Prelate reads: And David took the head of the Philistine and brought it to Jerusalem; but he put his armor in his tent.
The candidate is now again blindfolded and conducted around the room, carrying the head in his left hand, during which a triumphal ode may be sung.
After the singing of the ode the candidate will be conducted to the altar, upon which he will place the head, and the Prelate reads: And when Saul saw David go forth against the Philistine, he said unto Abner, the captain of the host: Abner, whose son is this youth? And Abner said, As thy soul liveth, O king, I cannot tell. And the king said, Inquire thou whose son the stripling is. And as David returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, Abner took him, and brought him before Saul, with the head of the Philistine in his hand. And Saul said to him, Whose son art thou, thou young man? And David answered, I am the son of thy servant Jesse, the Beth-lehemite.
A transparency of ‘David Returns Conqueror’ will now be displayed, the blindfold removed for a moment, after which the candidate is again blindfolded, and placed in proper position to receive the obligation kneeling at the altar, grasping the hair of the head as it rests on the Bible and crossed swords.
Sir Knight Commander: * * *.
All companions rise and advance the hailing sign of the White Degree, and the Sir Knight Commander will administer the following
I, your name, Knight, do solemnly and sincerely vow and swear, that I will ever conceal and never reveal the signs, secrets or mysteries of the White Degree to any one who is not entitled to receive the same; and as David, inspired by faith in God, slew the champion of the Philistines, thus confounding and demoralizing the infidels, so will I, so far as in my power lies, endeavor to crush the great monster, superstition, which has ever been the mainstay of the Church of Rome, and in all my righteous undertakings may the Lord be with me. Amen.
You will now kiss the holy Bible.
The Sir Knight Commander, after observing that the five lights are in proper position, will say: Companion, in your present position, what are you most in need of?
Candidate, prompted: Light.
Sir Knight Commander: And God said, Let there be light; and there was light.
At the word “Light” the blindfold will he instantly removed, and the candidate sees five lights properly placed before him. The Sir Knight Commander will then say: Companion, how many lights do you see?
Candidate, after counting them: Five.
Sir Knight Commander: Companion, these five lights represent the number of this degree. They also represent the five stones which David took out of the brook, and with one of which he slew the Philistine.
The Sir Knight Commander then advances to the candidate, and giving him the grip of the degree, says: Arise, Sir Knight Companion of the White Degree. *
The Sir Knight Commander will then instruct the candidate in the grip, hailing sign, raps and passwords The Senior and Junior Wardens, or other Companions, will repeat the
S.W.: Why do you wear that Robe?
J.W.: What Robe?
S.W.: That white Robe.
J.W.: Because I am innocent.
S.W.: You are WHAT?
J.W.: I am even yet a stripling.
S.W.: Whence came you?
J.W.: From the sheepfold.
S.W.: Whither are you going?
J.W.: To the camp of Israel.
S.W.: What are you carrying there?
J.W.: Food for my brethren.
S.W.: What does it consist of?
J.W.: Loaves and cheeses.
S.W.: How many?
J.W.: Ten loaves and ten cheeses.
S.W.: How do you expect to get there?
J.W.: By the benefit of a password.
S.W.: Have you that password?
J.W.: I have.
S.W.: Will you give it to me?
J.W.: I will if you begin.
S.W.: G...
J.W.: A...
S.W.: T...
J.W.: L...
S.W.: B...
J.W.: W...
S.W.: T... Did you see anything there?
J.W.: A great sight.
S.W.: What was that sight?
J.W.: A man six cubits and a span, who defied the armies of Israel.
S.W.: Have you a number?
J.W.: I have.
S.W.: What do you take as your number?
J.W.: Five.
S.W.: What five?
J.W.: In token or representation of the five smooth stones I took out of the brook Kedron.
S.W.: How did you dispose of them?
J.W.: I placed them in a scrip or shepherd’s bag.
S.W.: How did you further act?
J.W.: I put my hand in my bag, took thence a stone and slang it, and it sunk into the forehead of the Philistine, and he fell upon his face to the earth.
S.W.: How did you still further act?
J.W.: I advanced boldly, put my foot upon his neck, drew his sword out of its sheath, cut off his head, and bore it to the camp in triumph.
S.W.: Have you the central password of a White Companion?
J.W.: I have.
S.W.: Will you give it to me?
J.W.: I will if you begin.
S.W.: T...
J.W.: L...
S.W.: O...
J.W.: H...
S.W.: T...
J.W.: G...
S.W.: O...
J.W.: T...
S.W.: A...
J.W.: O...
S.W.: I...
The Sir Knight Commander will then deliver the
Charge to the Candidate
Sir Knight Commander: The subject of this degree, tending as it did to familiarize the minds of our forefathers, the Knights of St. John, whilst fighting against enemies of Christianity in the Holy Land, with the history of the early life of David, and the means that were accomplished by his agency, was well calculated to impress their minds with confidence in the power of the Almighty to give victory to the weak, and to confound and demoralize the hosts of the ungodly. David was a mere lad, a stripling, watching his father’s flocks, but he was selected and marked out as the future King of Israel. He was anointed by Samuel, and the Spirit of the Lord came upon him, and from that moment we find him influenced, guided and supported by the Spirit and the strength of the Almighty, watching and protecting the flocks committed to his charge. David engaged and destroyed the enemies of his little flock; but how careful is Jesus, our Divine Shepherd, of the flock which his father committed to His care! David hazarded his life to save one of his lambs, but Christ laid down His Life to save the whole world; David went forth to battle the foe who had defied the armies of the living God, but Christ goes forth to conquer the powers of hell. May we not consider Goliath as a figure of the arch enemy of man, the world and the flesh? Let Satan threaten as he may, the true believer shall never be the slave of sin. We have our enemies to contend against, and should ever be on the alert in guarding the Protestant faith against all the insidious attacks and encroachments which are being made by those emissaries of the Church of Rome who are daily sowing in our midst the pernicious seeds of Popery. David’s victory, with but a sling, reminds us that the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but spiritual. Possessed of these, we are prepared to meet the foe, however great her power or determined her attacks; let her treat us with scorn, we shall soon raise over her the shout of victory; she may despise our spiritual weapons, but shall sink under their power.
How frequently God displays His sovereignty in making children youngest in years richest in grace, and in raising them from the humblest stations to the loftiest rank. Every day the believer rises from his bed his spiritual enemies are present before him. What an affectionate Father is our God! for we are the objects of His constant watchfulness and care. Let us rejoice that our daily contests soon will cease and (if we have lived an upright life) be followed by the eternal peacefulness of heaven, where the shout of battle is exchanged for the song of triumph. How lovely it is when brethren encourage one another in the spiritual warfare! It is unbelief which makes cowards of us all, but faith makes us spiritual conquerors. Great and glorious are the gracious rewards which await those who are victorious in the Christian warfare in which we are engaged, as Protestants, on earth. May we receive the Crown of Righteousness, as saints in our Father’s Kingdom. Amen. The Commandery will now be at ease for congratulations.