Covenantersí Mystic Union
Initiation Ritual,
Third or Sublime Degree


1901


Field-Marshal in ante-room gives * * * * raps on the inner door, which is repeated by the Guardian Knight from within, who says: Who comes here?
Field-Marshal:
Your loyal Field-Marshal who has found a comrade here at the draw-bridge, on his way traveling Eastward toward the dawning of the morning in search of more light and true liberty, and who desires to be raised to the "Sublime Degree" of "Knight of the Mystic Covenant".
Guardian-Knight:
Commander, that same comrade who was but yesterday within our Mystic portals, is still traveling Eastward in search of more light and true liberty.
Com.:
Let him be admitted.
Members sing the "Initiation Ode" while the candidate (not hoodwinked) is escorted once around the Lodge and is seated between the Vice-Commander and the altar, facing the Commander, who approaches the altar and says:
Comrade we are glad to welcome you again into our midst. Thus far, you have run well. We shall now endeavor to instruct you in the emblematic work our Society.
The Four Tables that you see before you represent the Covenanter Government of Scotland, under the leadership of the Marquis of Argyle, which ruled Scotland for many years, and, as l have already informed you, consisted of the nobility, the ministers, the burgesses and the gentry, and is known in history as the ''Government of the Four Tables".
You will notice that the number "4" and its multiples, are conspicuous throughout our work.
The Tables are 16 inches square at the top, 8 inches at the center, and 12 inches at the base, and are 4 feet high; upon which is placed a globe, 12 inches in diameter.
These globes represent the historic truth that the Government of the Four Tables was largely instrumental in lifting the world upon an exalted and equitable plane of higher ideals and realizations of personal and national liberties, and their nation was the first, since the dawn from the Dark Ages, to establish a representative government of the people, by the people, and for the people. These globes also represent the creative, sustaining and controlling power of God in the universe, which inspire ns with due reverence for the Deity and His marvelous works, and encourage us in the study of astronomy, geography and navigation, with their relative arts and sciences, by which society has made such rapid progress.
The Four Tables (excepting the globes) are painted white, representing purity, and should continually remind you that all loyal and true Covenanters lead pure lives. On each side and on the top is painted in red color, the letter "H", which color represents the blood of the slain. Covenanter heroes; and which is the first letter of the four corner stones of our creed, viz: Home, Honor, Hope and Help.
Home: with all its sacred and happy memories of devoted, loving motherhood; of ennobled, worthy fatherhood; of childhood's dimpled, rippling laughter, which fills the eyes with light and the heart with joy, which drowns with each successive wave, the fretful fiend of care. O, laughter of the Home, ... make dimples enough in thy cheeks to catch and hold and glorify all the tears of grief.
My brother, the Covenanters Home, is the cradle of sacred, consecrated liberty, a haven of purity, peace and rest, earthly emblem of our eternal rest and joy beyond the river of immortality. Let no act of yours mar the beauty or sacredness of this corner stone, but ever strive to preserve the same. The emblem of Home is the bee-hive.
Honor: is one of the chief corner-stones upon which our personal and national liberties are founded. Without honor there is no observance: of law, and without observance of law, there is no true liberty. Honor is the keynote of a life crowned with success, the pledge of a life of blessing, and the mainstay of a life of struggle. Honor and protect a comrade's good name and keep your honor untarnished. The emblem of Honor is the balanced scales.
Hope: is the anchor of the soul, the compass of the weary mariner, the stepping stone to future greatness, the morning star which throws a rim of golden light around the dark clouds of the distant future; the corner stone upon which faith is founded, which snatches victory from defeat. The emblem of Hope is the anchor, enclosing a star between the points.
Help: in need, is help indeed. This corner stone reminds all Covenanters that they are linked together with the anchor chain of fraternal love, which encourages a helpful spirit, and will not permit a needy, worthy member to suffer want. The fraternal spirit of our Society should be exemplified in our ready response to supply the needs of our unfortunate members, to soothe the unhappy, to relieve their miseries, to sympathize with the desolate and bereaved in their afflictions. The emblem of Help is the clasped hands. The corner stones of every successful, fraternal Society must necessarily be founded upon high, moral ethics; the highest code of ethics and the basis of our present national laws and liberties, is the Word of God, which we recognize as the chart and compass of a truly successful life.
The dove: is a symbol of peace, purity and gentleness; and was used in ancient times as a sacrificial offering. In our secret work it symbolizes the slaughter of the Covenanter innocents and non-combatants who were ruthlessly sacrificed on the sacred altar of liberty.
When the dove was sent out from the ark by Noah, to see if the flood was abated, she found no rest for the sole of her foot, and returned unto Noah, into the ark. After seven days he again sent forth the dove out of the ark, and the dove came in to him in the evening; and lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf plucked off, so Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth: and he stayed yet other seven days, and sent forth the dove, which returned not again unto him any more.
Therefore, in our secret work, the dove living with the olive branch, is an emblem of peace, purity, gentleness and good news. The life of every Covenanter should bear these distinguishing characteristics.
The compass: we use to find the location of the morning star and rising sun, so that in traversing the pathless, stormy sea or sandy desert we shall be guided aright in our search for light and true liberty.
The red, white and blue streamers, which form a canopy over the Four Tables, display our national colors which symbolize the highest and best form of national freedom known to mankind.
The gavel: is the mace of authority, to be used by the Commander of the Assembly with wisdom and discretion, that order may prevail, and to assist the Commander in conducting the affairs of the Assembly with facility and despatch.
The crown: is an emblem of authority, splendor, victory and glory.
The palm: is an emblem of victory.
* calls the Assembly to order.
* * seats officcrs or members when standing.
* * * calls officers to their feet.
* * * * calls entire Assembly to their feet.
I will now instruct you in the signs in use by our Society. We have:
1st. An alarm at the outer door.
2nd. An entering sign and answer.
3rd. A term pass-word which is changed semi-annually on the first day of January and July of each year.
4th. The permanent pass-word, with test grip.
5th. A sign of recognition, answer, and words of recognition.
6th. A sign of salutation.
7th. A recognition grip.
8th. A distress sign and answer.
9th. A voting sign.
10th. Our emblem and its symbolisms, which are hereafter explained.
After explaining the above secret work, the Commander instructs the Candidate how to gain admission into the Commandery, as follows:
Approach the outer door and give the alarm which will attract the attention of the Sentry, to whom you will give the sign of recognition or the term password.
This will admit you to the Ante-room, where you will clothe yourself in proper regalia. Upon permission of the Sentry, you give the alarm ... at the inner door, which attracts the attention of the Guardian Knight, to whom you will give your name, the name and number of your Commandery, and the term password.
Guardian Knight will say: Vice-Commander, some worthy comrades of the Covenant are at the portal by the draw-bridge, seeking admission.
Vice-Commander will say: let them be admitted.
The members approach the altar "on the square", give the sign of salutation thus ..., when the Commander will recognize you with the same salutation sign, when you will be seated. Should you wish to retire before the Commandery is closed, you will approach the altar "on the square'", and address the Commander with the salutation sign. He will recognize you and answer, after which you may retire.
If you are visiting your own Commandery and are without the pass word, the Commander must be informed, and if you are entitled to it, he will communicate it, or cause it to be comnumicated to you.
Should you wish to visit a Commandery to which you are a stranger, you will present your name and the name and number of the Commandery to which you belong, to the Sentry, who will report the same to the Commander, who will appoint a committee of not less than two to examine you. If the committee find you eligible for admission, they will introduce you.
Commandery is the term applied to the local organization or Lodge room.
Assembly is the term applied to the collective membership.
Conventicle was the term applied in ancient times to a secret gathering of the Covenanters for religious or other purposes.
Clarion is a kind of trumpet, the sound of which is very loud and clear, the tube being narrower than in the common trumpet. The clarion was used extensively by the Covenanters, especially in times of war.
The symbols contained in our Society's emblem are explained as follows:
The all-seeing eye of God watches over and guides the destinies of mankind, and observes the innermost thoughts and intents of the heart.
The sword represents protection and defence. (Tuebor: "I will defend")
The shepherd's staff ("E Pluribus Unum, many in one") represents a community of interests, many sheep in one flock, also gentleness, leadership and pastoral pursuits.
The scales upon which the sword and shepherd's staff are equally balanced, represent honor, justice and equality.
H. H. H. H., between the scales, are the first letters of the four words which are the names of the four corner-stones of the great Temple of Covenantry, and their positions between the scales represent the fact that these corner-stones are founded upon honor, justice and equality.
The eagle's heads represent strength, endurance, keen perception, lofty ideals. swiftness of flight, and our national emblem.
The ribbon in the eagle's beaks, represents our national banner.
The rising sun and morning star represent the fact that, the Covenanters began the long struggle for their personal and national liberties at the dawning of the morning, from the dark Ages of slavery, ignorance, superstition and injustice.
The firmament around about the morning star displays the marvelous, creative handiwork of God.
The cross represents sacrifice, redemption and the blood bought freedom which we enjoy. He who expects to wear the crown, must bear the cross.
The anchor is an emblem of steadfastness, security and hope.
The anchor chain reminds us that we are, as members of the Society, interlinked with each other in a common cause; that weakness of one link, weakens the whole chain.
The crown: is an emblem of authority, splendor, victory and glory.
The clasped hands of fraternity remind us that in union is strength, and are represented as lifting up the world to higher ideals and realizations of life, liberty, and the pursuits of happiness.
The cable encircling the emblem, reminds us that a strong cal)le is made from a multitude of small, weak fibres and that great achievements can be accomplished by the uniting of a multitude of small efforts.
This cable of strength encircles and binds together all our other emblems.
Commander:
You will now be hoodwinked, to receive your final test. This test should inspire additional confidence in your comrades, and is intended as a fitting climax in your recent adventures in search of light and true liberty.
After the candidate is hoodwinked, the members form in a square about the altar, with hands joined as before. The spears and banners form a canopy. The Field-Marshal in full uniform, with sword drawn. The red lights are lit upon the Four Tables.

When the National Covenant was being circulated throughout Scotland for signatures, in the year 1638, which every citizen in the realm signed, it was presented for signature to an aged veteran, whose flowing locks had been silvered with the frosts of many winters.
Before signing the Covenant, he turned to the assembled throng about him and said: "Comrades, this document is destined to become the Magna Charta of our personal and national liberties, and it is too sacred for me to sign with ordinary ink, so I will sign my name with my own life blood''.
He opened a vein in his arm and signed the Covenant with his own blood.
Fear not, my comrade, we shall not injure you in the least, but in like manner you must sign "our Sacred Covenant''.
The left sleeve is shoved up, a drop of red ink from a glass dropper, is dropped upon the wrist, and the glass dropper pressed lightly upon the wrist to represent an incision (the wrist must not be pricked nor any incision made in any way, for the red ink might then poison the blood). The Covenant is placed upon the open Bible; a pen placed in the candidate's right hand; the hoodwink removed.

You will now dip your pen in your blood upon your wrist and inscribe your name upon "Our Sacred Covenant", which you have previously agreed to ratify, confirm and observe throughout your whole life.
The surplus red ink is rubbed off the arm as clean as possible.

By this act, my brother, you become a loyal "Knight of the Mystic Covenant". You again observe the protection granted to every loyal and true "Knight of the Mystic Covenant". In order not to injure you in the least, we have used red ink to symbolize your own blood. This teaches you that a loyal Covenanter will never knowingly wound the feelings of a comrade Covenanter in the least.
The three degrees through which you have passed, are emblematic of the historic truth that, the National Covenant of Scotland was divided into three parts.
You have been impressed with the fact that, the three degrees of Covenantry constitute a progressive, moral science, the principles and mystic ceremonies of which, as they have been illustrated and presented to you, are intended to make a deep and lasting impression upon your mind, and inspire you with an earnest zeal for the uplifting of your fellow man to higher
ideals and realizations of life, and in this effort, it is your duty, and in accordance with your solemn vows, to promote the welfare of our glorious and imperishable Society. Your past experiences and upright conduct have merited the honor which we have conferred upon you. As each of the Four Tables is built square and arranged upon a square, so it becomes your duty to always act "upon the square'' with your fellow man.
You should ever observe the solemnities of our ceremonies; treasure up in your heart the beautiful lessons contained therein; be true to your solemn vows; preserve inviolable the secrets of our Society; and throughout your whole life, worthily emulate the exemplary of the ancient Covenanters.
This concludes the "Third or Sublime Degree" of Covenantry.
My brother, in behalf of our Society and myself, I gladly extend to you the right hand of fellowship, with congratulations.


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