Sons of Temperance
Ritual of the Fidelity Degree
Prefect gives one rap and says: Brethren, We are now about to open a Fidelity Degree. The officers, and brethren will clothe themselves in Fidelity Degree regalia, and take their places.
Prefect says: The First Herald will see if any of the officers are absent, and report.
The First Herald reports, and the Prefect fills their places.
Prefect says: The First and Second Heralds, will examine all present in the pass-word of the Fidelity Degree.
The Heralds examine all present; if all are correct, they give the Prefect the sign, and answering sign, of the Fidelity Degree; if any are incorrect, they omit the signs. All present, who cannot give the password, must retire, to be reported by the Warders, and vouched for by a member present, before the prefect can admit them.
First Herald says: The brethren are all correct, in regalia, and in their proper places.
Prefect calls up. Brethren sing: Silent night, her vigil keepeth,
Watching till the rosy dawn;
For her brightest gem she weepeth,
For her fairest Pleiad gone.
Oh! may we who look up nightly,
For a glorious Temperance dawn,
Find our band still shining brightly,
Not a brother lost, and gone.
Prefect calls down, and says: I now declare this Degree duly opened.
The room brilliantly illuminated.
Prefect says: The Heralds will see if there are any candidates in waiting to be initiated into the mysteries of the Fidelity Degree.
First Herald says: Brother … is in waiting to be initiated.
Prefect says: Brother Auditor, is brother … clear of all charges on the books?
Auditor of Accounts says: He is clear.
If he reports him in arrears, he cannot be initiated until all dues are paid.
The Heralds clear the ante-room; inform the candidate that the Pledge in this Degree is perpetual; blindfold him with a blue scarf, and conduct him to the inner door. The Candidate gives … raps; the Second Warder answers with … raps.
Second Warder says: Who knocks.
First Herald says: A brother who seeks admittance into the mysteries of the Fidelity Degree.
Second Warder says: Has our brother been duly initiated into the mysteries of the Love, and Purity Degrees?
First Herald says: He has been initiated.
Second Warder says: Who vouches for him?
First Herald says: The brethren of the Love and Purity Degrees.
Prefect says: Admit him.
The Candidate is led in silence to the table in front of the Prefect. Midway on each side of the room, opposite to each other, stand two symbolic arches; the arch of Sovereign Power, and the arch of Justice. They are formed thus: two members hold the Heralds’ rods, and two members hold the Warders’ swords. The rods and swords are held together at their tips with a loop-tie of blue ribbon. In going round the room the Candidate passes under the arches.
Prefect (rising) says: And God said, let there be light.
Past Prefect (rising) says: And there was light.
The First Herald removes the bandage from the eyes of the Candidate.
Prefect calls up. Members sing: Come where the type of Sovereign Power
Its arch shall o’er thee spread
To shelter in the adverse hour
Thy else devoted head.
But come not rash, for Justice stands
In awful majesty,
And with relentless sword demands
Thy firm Fidelity.
During the singing, the Candidate is led round the room, under the arches, and in front of the Prefect.
Prefect calls down.
First Herald says: Prefect; our worthy brother seeking more light, and a higher position in the Order, has passed through the Love, and Purity Degrees: and now desires to be initiated into the mysteries of the Fidelity Degree.
Prefect (rising) says: The brethren of the Fidelity Degree, require of you a perpetual pledge of honor, to be binding for life. Are you willing to take that pledge?
Candidate says: I am.
Prefect says: Place your right hand on your left breast, and repeat after me the words of our obligation.
I solemnly pledge my sacred honour as a man, to the brethren of the Fidelity Degree, that I will NEVER make, buy, sell, nor use as a beverage, any spiritous or malt liquors, wine, or cider. And this my solemn obligation I now, and will always, consider binding, to the end of life.
I furthermore pledge myself, to exert every just and lawful means in my power, to banish this beverage of hell beyond our borders, and protect myself, and society from the evils of Intemperance.
I furthermore pledge myself, to carry out the high and honorable principles of our Order, and to fulfill the close and binding obligations, which unite me to the brethren of the Fidelity Degree. I will never wrong a brother of this Degree, or permit him to be wronged by another, without doing all in my power to assist him. When I see him in danger, I will give him the Warning Signal. When I see the signal of Distress, or hear the Cry of Distress, I will go immediately to his relief, and aid him if I can.
And lastly, I pledge myself, never to reveal to any one not entitled to receive them, the grip, signs, pass words, ceremonies, or other private affairs of the Fidelity Degree, but hide them in my heart while I live, and in my grave when I die.
Prefect calls up. Members sing: O’er the waves in stormy’ weather
Bounds the barque to breast the sea;
All her planks must hold together,
Band of brothers so must we.
As the mystic needle trembles,
Faithful to the star. lit pole
Be each heart that here assembles,
While life’s stormy billows roll.
During the singing, the Candidate is led round the room, under the arches, and to the Chaplain.
Prefect calls down.
Chaplain, with an open Bible before him, (rising) says: Brother; as each separate leaf of this sacred volume, laying his hand upon the Bible unites to make one book, so each, and all of us are bound together in Love, Purity, and Fidelity. The heavens themselves shall pass away, but the eternal principles of our Order shall never die, for they rest upon this Book. In it you will find written, in letters of living light, the motto of our Order: ‘Love, Purity, and Fidelity.’ In it you will also find, bright examples for us to follow, in the Love of Jonathan to David: in the Purity of Joseph, and Daniel, and in the Fidelity of Abraham and Job.
‘The Lord preserveth the faithful.’ May He preserve you, under the shadow of his almighty wings, in Love, Purity, and Fidelity.
Prefect calls up. Members sing: Dash down the bowl, beware its blush,
For ‘neath it lurks a treacherous snare,
To lure, to capture, and to crush;
Dash down the bowl; beware, beware,
For on its foam destruction rides
And in its tide doth ruin swim;
Perdition at the bottom hides,
And death is dancing round the brim.
During the singing, the Candidate is led , around the room, under the arches, and to the Past Prefect.
Prefect calls down.
Past Prefect (rising) says: Brother; you have passed under the arches of Sovereign Power, and of Justice. This is to teach you submission to the Sovereign Power, and to Justice. The arches are the symbol of our unity and strength. As you passed under them you saw them supported by your brethren; this is to remind you that Power and Justice, rest upon, and spring from them.
If the rod of Sovereign Power is ever delegated unto you, use it for the benefit of the brethren. If you should ever grasp the sword of justice, sometimes listen to the voice of mercy, but when wisdom bids you strike, strike without fear, or favor.
Before the Past Prefect stands a small table; on it, twenty-four round brittle rods, two-and a-half feet long, bound together with three leather straps, covered with white, red, and blue. Let white, red, and blue rosettes bide the buckles.
First Herald takes up the bundle of rods and gives it to the Second Herald.
First Herald says: Brother; break these rods.
Second Herald takes them, makes a feint to break them, and returns them unbroken to the First Herald.
Second Herald says: In their union lies their strength; Like the united brethren of the Order, they cannot be broken.
First Herald slips out a single rod from the bundle, and hands it to the Second Herald.
First Herald says: Brother; break this rod.
Second Herald takes it, breaks it, and flings the fragments at the feet of the Candidate.
Second Herald says: Thus, when alone, is the strong reed broken, and when dis-united, the beautiful rod.
Past Prefect (rising) says: Brother, This is to remind you that in our union lies our strength; that alone, we are weak and feeble.
Should the flames of anger, or dissension, ever blaze to burn the bands of our fraternal union, remember the broken rod. Should the Tempter ever bid you separate yourself from among us, remember the broken rod.
The Candidate is then led to the Prefect.
Before the Prefect stands a board, made to resemble an adult coffin, supported on narrow stands whose tops must not extend beyond the edges of the board; cover it with a long black pall, with a deep black fringe to it. On it stands a decanter, half full of water, colored to resemble wine, flanked by two wine glasses. Tie bands of black crape to them all. The Heralds with their rods stand on each side of the Candidate; the Second Herald on his right. The Warders, with their swords, stand at the head and foot of the table
First Herald, filling the two glasses, gives one to the Prefect, and the other to the Candidate.
Prefect (rising) says: Brother; let us drink a last farewell to wine.
Prefect makes a feint to drink: if the Candidate refuses, the Prefect insists. As the Candidate raises the glass to his lips, the Second Herald suddenly seizes his hand and dashes the contents of the glass upon the floor.
Prefect says: Brother; this is to remind you when hospitality, and friendship, proffer you the wine cup, to dash it down.
Division says: Dash it down!
Prefect says: In the sunshine of happiness.
Division says: Drink not!
Vice Prefect (rising) says: In the midnight of sorrow:
Division says: Drink not!
Past Prefect (rising) says: He who drinks distilled damnation
Division says: Drinks it to die.
Prefect (rising) says: And Jeremiah said unto the sons of Rechab: Drink ye wine.
Past Prefect (rising) says: We will drink no wine all our days.
Officers (rising) say: We will drink no wine all our days.
Members (rising) say: We will drink no wine all our days.
Members sing: Dash down the heart deceiving glass
He is no friend of mine
Who fills for me the fatal glass,
And tarries at the wine.
Dash down the false, seducing glass,
There lurking adders twine;
Dash down the soul beguiling glass,
The mad’ning murd’ring wine
During the singing, the Candidate is led round the room and in front of the Vice Prefect.
Prefect calls down. Vice Prefect (rising) says: By authority committed unto me, and in virtue of mine office, I now clothe you clothes him in the blue regalia of the Purity Degree: and declare you, in the presence of these brethren, a Fidelity Degree brother of the Order of the Sons of Temperance. Be faithful until death.
The Candidate is then led to the Past Prefect.
Past Prefect (rising) says: I will now instruct you how to enter a Fidelity Degree.
The pass word and explanation of the Fidelity Degree, are … whispers them. The entering signal of the Fidelity Degree is … raps, given at the inner door. You will then advance to the centre of the room and salute the Past Prefect thus, …, this is the symbol of Fidelity. The Past Prefect will do the same, then clothe yourself in Fidelity Degree regalia, and take your seat.
The Candidate signs the Constitution.
The Heralds will now conduct you out, and instruct you how to work your way into a Fidelity Degree.
The Heralds conduct the Candidate out; when he has worked his way properly, they present him to the Prefect.
Prefect (rising) says: Brother; I will now instruct you in the grip; sign, and answering sign; warning signal; sign, and cry of Distress; and also teach you how to examine, and prove, a Fidelity Degree brother.
The grip is … gives it. The warning signal is … gives it. The sign is … gives it. The answering sign is … gives it. The sign of distress is … gives it. The cry of distress is … whispers it.
The pass word, and explanation, combined, are given in syllables, one syllable alternately, as follows: You ask for the password, your brother says ‘You begin.’ You say, ‘I’ll divide it with you.’ Your brother says, ‘You divide it.’ You say: … Here the Prefect instructs the Candidate how to divide the password, and explanation combined.
He who begins the examination must always give the first syllable, you then give the next, and so on. If he makes any mistake, or cannot give the proper syllable, you must neither correct him, nor instruct him, but end the examination. This examination must always be made in a very low tone, beyond the hearing of others, and with extreme caution. Always be exceedingly cautious when you syllable the pass word and explanation. For your instruction, the Heralds will now give each other the grip, they give it. The sign, and answering sign, they give them. The warning signal, they give it. The sign of distress, they give it. The cry of distress, they whisper it. They will now examine each other in a low tone, they do so. The sign signifies ‘Be faithful.’ The answering sign signifies, ‘As God himself is faithful.’ This sign forms the arc of a rainbow, the emblem of God’s faith to man.
Prefect calls up, and says: And now, having duly initiated, and instructed you in all the mysteries of the Fidelity Degree; I give you the grip of a Fidelity Degree brother, gives it. Welcome, brother. The officers will do the same.
The officers advance, give the grip, and say: Welcome, brother.
The members will do the same. They do the same.
Prefect calls down.
Prefect calls up. Members sing: As the planets in communion
Circling round the sovereign sun,
Faithful to their mystic union,
Swift their mighty cycles run;
Sun of Temp’rance, link and’ light us,
Let no brother, wandering, fall;
But one influence strong unite us,
And one feeling bind us all.
Prefect gives one rap, and says: I now declare this Degree closed.