Allied Masonic Degrees
Ritual of the Grand Tilers of Solomon or Masons Elect of Twenty-Seven


1894


The Lodge represents a vaulted chamber in the bowels of the earth, beneath the site of the first Temple. This chamber should be approached by a long, arched passage, at the end of which is a door, Within the chamber are twenty-seven seats, three of which should be elevated under a crimson canopy in the East. The remaining twenty-four seats should be arranged in a semi-circle, facing Eastward. The Altar, which must be of fine gold, or made to resemble gold, is between the East and the brethren. At receptions, the Master and Wardens, who represent Solomon, Hiram of Tyre, and Hiram Abiff, wear royal robes and crowns. The Master should wear a robe of crimson, bordered with gold ; his crown to be lined with crimson silk or other rich material. The Senior Warden should wear a robe of purple, lined with gold; the same colour to be used for the lining of his crown. The Junior Warden should wear a robe of yellow, his crown being lined with the same. The vaulted chamber is only used at receptions, but the Lodge Boom in this Degree is always called the Mystic Chamber. During the dispatch of business, the Officers occupy the same positions that they do in a Lodge of Craft Freemasons.
 
Regalia
The sash of this Degree is fiery red with a border of pale grey. To it is attached the Jewel, on one side of which are inscribed the letters of the ineffable name in the Cabalistic order; on the other side the number twenty-seven in the ancient Hebrew letters. The apron is of black satin trimmed with gold. In the centre is a crown, and on the flap a hand grasping a sword.

 
 
Opening
 
MASTER:
My Brother of Tyre, shall we continue the glorious work so favourably begun ?
SENIOR WARDEN:
Illustrious Brother, let it be as you desire.
M.:
Dear Brother Hiram Abiff, see that the Captain of the Host does his duty, and that not only the entrance to this vault, but all possible approaches be warily watched and closely tiled
JUNIOR WARDEN:
Brother Captain of the Host, see that not only this vault, but all possible approaches thereto, be warily watched and closely tiled.
The Captain of the Host departs from the Lodge with two trustworthy attendants armed, and being absent some space returns and reports to the Junior Warden as follows:
CAPTAIN OF THE HOST:
Brother Junior Warden, we have faithfully done our duty ; we have carefully examined all possible entrances and approaches ; at every entrance we have posted trusted guards; outside the door of this Lodge stands one of your own faithful servants, created by you one of your Grand Tilers. He holds a drawn sword in his hand. We are warily watched and closely tiled.
Brother Junior Warden reports verbatim to the Master.
M.:
Brother Senior Warden, of how many is a Grand Tilers' Lodge composed?
S.W.:
Twenty-seven.
M.:
Are there here the necessary number of Elect Masons?
S.W:
I count twenty-four brethren known to me, and with you, my royal brethren, the mystic number is completed.
M.:
Brother Junior Warden, give notice that I am about to open this mystic chamber, that we may resume our work.
J.W.:
Brethren, the Worshipful Master announces that he is about to open this Mystic Chamber for the resumption of work.
The J.W. knocks three times; the S.W. nine; the Master twenty-seven.
M.:
I declare this Mystic Chamber open to all who are Masons Elect of 27, that we may work truly and faithfully.
 
 
Reception
 
The Candidate must be blinfolded; he is then brought into the Lodge room, where he makes nine circuits. He ought then be made to ascend and descend a lofty flight of stairs three times; he is then conducted through the arched passage to the door of the Mystic Chamber. The brethren are all in their places and stations. The candidate is placed near the door of the chamber and the bandage removed from his eyes.
The Master approaches the altar, on which is laid a plan of the altar.
M.:
Brethren, our dear Brother Abiff hath here a design for the altar of the Lord which is of exceeding beauty: therefore have I called you together this night that I may have your council concerning it.
The Junior Warden then exhibits the plan to the brethren.
S.W.:
Thrice Illustrious King Solomon, we are not tiled.
M.:
Fear not, my Brother of Tyre, this chamber is unknown to all in Jerusalem, save those Elect Masons whom we have admitted to our secret. Lo! they are all here. The approaches to our chamber are so intricate and so far removed from the haunts of men that there is no danger of cowans, my brother.
They continue to examine the plans. The Conductor, who is in charge of the candidate, coughs.
The Master starts up and rushes to the door. On seeing the candidate, he clutches him by the throat.
W.M.:
Alas! my brother, thou wert right; there is a man here who is not one of us.
The brethren seize the candidate.
S.W.:
What shall be done with him?
W.M.:
Let him be at once put to death, lest our secrets be made known.
J.W.:
Thrice illustrious kings, hearken unto me: condemn not a man unheard. What hast thou to say why we should not put thee to death?
The candidate does not answer.
J.W.:
Are you a Mason?
The candidate having answered satisfactorily should be diligently examined in the catechism of the symbolic Degrees of Apprentice and Fellow Craft.
J.W.:
Thrice Illustrious King Solomon, this man is a Fellow of the Craft.
W.M.:
Therefore the more is it right that he should die, for he hath sought to know that which, as a Mason, he knew was unlawful for him to seek to know.
J.W.:
Let us be just. Let us ask of him how came he hither.
W.M.:
How earnest thou hither?
The Captain of the Host answers for the candidate.
M. of C.:
It came to pass as I was working in a remote part of the building, my foot rested on some imperfect masonry, which gave way beneath me and precipitated me into a deep and gloomy pit. For a time so dense was the darkness that I could not destinguish my right hand from my left; but after a little time had elapsed, I became aware of a dim light in the distance, towards which I groped my way. Arriving at it, I saw another like light beyond. Towards it I pursued my way, guiding myself by feeling with my hands the stone walls of the passage. In this manner I traversed no small space until I at length found myself at a half opened door. There were lights within, and the sound of voices reached my ears. As a Mason, I feared I had entered where it was forbidden me, but, paralysed with fear, I became convinced that I was in the presence of some great danger. In such straits ye found me.
W.M.:
This story, if it be true, can soon be verified.
Captain of the Host, take with you two of the brethren, and search diligently if there be this breach in the masonry of which the stranger speaks.
The Captain of the Host and the two brethren withdraw, and after a pause the brethren return, still holding the candidate.
C. of the H.:
Thrice Illustrious King Solomon, the brother hath spoken the truth; it is even as he hath said. There is a breach in the masonry, and signs that someone has entered by it.
W.M.:
What shall be done?
J.W.:
Thrice Illustrious Kings, spare our brother's life. He came not here of himself, and if he knew aught of our secrets, the fault is ours, O Kings, for when your brother of Tyre warned you, O Solomon, that this Mystic Chamber was not closely tiled, did you not reply "We fear no intrusion, my brother?" Wherefore, O Solomon, to slay the brother who is in our power, and who has unwittingly been present at our secret convocation, would be to sin against God. Forgive him; in this case forgiveness is but justice.
W.M.:
I am willing to forgive, but what shall be done with him ? He hath heard our words, and yet he is not one of us.
J.W.:
But one thing remains, Illustrious Master; admit him to our councils. He hath come here by God. Let him now in due form become a true and faithful brother among us.
W.M.:
No longer then will we be but twenty-seven.
J.W.:
The number may be changed, but the name will remain. Admit him, O Master.
W.M.:
Brethren, you have heard the earnest request of our dear Brother Abiff. If none say "nay," then shall his request be granted.
The votes are then taken, and if none are in the negative, the candidate is released and brought into the Mystic Chamber, where he is placed on the altar kneeling on his knee, as in the Second Symbolic Degree.

 
 
Obligation
 
I, , in the presence of the Grand Geometrician of the Universe, of this Lodge of Masons elect of 27, opened on the square, do hereby and hereon solemnly and sincerely promise and vow, that I will never make known the mystery of the 27 to anyone in the world, except it be to a Mason elect of 27, or in a just and legally constituted Lodge of the Grand Tilers of Solomon, opened upon the square.
I furthermore solemnly swear that I will not judge hastily concerning the motive of any man, especially if he be a brother Mason, but will patiently and perseveringly make such enquiries as will lead me to a just and truthful opinion; that I will not blame others for my own errors, thoughtlessness, or want of care, but will ever be ready to acknowledge my misdeeds, and atone for my mistakes.
I, furthermore, solemnly swear that I will not remain silent in a lodge if I think the Tiler has not done his duty; that I will, as far as in my power lies, keep all cowans and profane persons from the halls of Masonry ; that I will not, if I can prevent it, permit a Lodge room to be polluted by conventions of cowans, and meetings of those who are not Masons, but will faithfully perform the duties of a Grand Tiler of Solomon.
All which I solemnly and sincerely promise and swear, under the penalty of being put to death at the door of the Mystic Chamber, and my body buried in the bowels of the earth, where no man may know of my grave. So help me, God, and keep me faithful to this, my Grand Tiler's solemn obligation.
Candidate kisses the book nine times, and then, after a pause, three times.
Signs and tokens are now given with the words.
The apron, collar and jewel is then presented.

 
 
History
 
During the building of the Temple, in order that he might have a perfectly secret place where he and the two other Grand Masters might meet, for conference concerning the progress of the building, Solomon had a chamber built underground; the approach to which was made by a long, subterraneous passage. In this secret retreat the Grand Masters met from time to time. In order that he might have the advice and council of the most prominent and eminent Masons then in Jerusalem, Solomon formed an order, into which he admitted twenty-four of the most eminent fellow crafts, making in all twenty-seven. So secure was this mystic chamber supposed to be from all intrusion, that the Tiler's office became neglected, and through a chance, a strange brother, unwittingly, gained admission to the secret counsel of the Elect Masons. The first determination of King Solomon, on the discovery of the stranger, was to put him immediately to death; but by the mild counsels of Grand Master Hiram A biff, he was persuaded not only to forgive him, but even to admit him to the fellowship of the Elect Masons. At the same time, the brethren were warned of the great danger of carelessness, and too frequent intermingling with the profane, and in order that they might ever have before them the solemn lesson which they had learned in connection with the careful tiling of their proceedings, Solomon commanded that a degree should be formed from the remarkable incident which had just occurred, and that the Elect Masons receiving it should be henceforth known as his Grand Tilers.
 
 
Closing
 
W.M.:
Illustrious Brother Senior Warden, what must occupy our immediate consideration ?
S.W.:
To see that the door of the Mystic Chamber is duly tiled, Illustrious Master.
W.M.:
See that the duty is performed, my brother, by the proper officers, that we may be in no danger of intrusion while closing this lodge.
S.W.:
Brother Captain of the Host, see that the Tiler does his duty, and make sure that all the approaches to the door of this chamber be warily watched and guarded, by taking with you two armed brethren, making the rounds, and satisfying yourself that all things are as they should be.
The Captain of the Host having performed this duty, returns and reports.
C. of the H.:
Illustrious Brother Senior Warden; we have gone to the extreme end of the covered passage; we have carefully examined all possible approaches; we have seen that the Tiler is at his post, and we report that we are perfectly tiled.
The S.W. reports to the Master in the same words.
W.M.:
Brother Junior Warden, of how many does our lodge consist?
J.W.:
Twenty-seven or more, Illustrious Master.
W.M.:
What is the Masonic rank of the brethren?
J.W.:
The three stationed officers are Masters, the rest are fellows of the craft.
W.M.:
What hope do we hold out to these ardent brethren?
J.W.:
That they may yet become Master Masons and receive the true word.
W.M.:
Have we here a word?
J.W.:
We have; that of a Mason Elect of twenty-seven.
W.M.:
Cause it to be taken up by the proper officers.
The Junior Warden then orders the Captain of the Host to collect the word, and by him it is reported to the East.
W.M.:
The word has come to the East pure and undefiled.
My Brother of Tyre, announce to the brethren that I am about to close this Mystic Chamber, and bid them be governed accordingly.
The S.W. gives notice; then the J.W. raps three, the S.W. nine, and the W.M. twenty-seven.
W.M.:
The Mystic Chamber is closed; let us ascend to the world above, and may we work and live there as true Masons.


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