West End Ritual of Craft Freemasonry
WM (Gavel): I must now request all below the rank of MM to retire from the Lodge.
WM: Brethren, assist me to open the Lodge in the Third Degree (All rise) Are all present MMs?
WM: Bro JW, (JW s and s of Fc.) what is the first care of every MM?
JW: To see that the Lodge is properly t.
WM: Direct that duty to be done.
JW (Drops s): Bro. IG, (IG s. and s. of Fc.) see that the Lodge is properly t.
IG (takes appropriate action and upon being answered by the T goes to NW corner of Lodge and with s. and s. of Fc): Bro JW, the Lodge is properly t.
JW (Gavel and with s. and s. of Fc.): WM, the Lodge is properly t.
WM: Bro SW, (SW s. and s. of Fc.) the next care?
SW: To see that the Brethren appear to order as Craftsmen.
WM: To order Brethren as Masons in the Second Degree.
The Brethren stand to order as Fcs.
WM: Bro JW, are you a Master Mason?
JW: I am, WM, try me and prove me.
WM: By what instruments used in Architecture will you be proved?
JW: The S and Cs.
WM: You being acquainted with the proper method, will prove the Craftsmen MMs by ss., and demonstrate that proof to me by copying their example.
JW: Brethren, it is the WM’s command that you prove yourselves MMs, by ss.
When the JW has seen that the Brethren all stand to order as MMs, he makes the following report.
JW: WM, the Craftsmen have proved themselves MMs. by ss., and in obedience to your command I copy their example.
WM: Bro JW, I acknowledge the correctness of the signs (Gives them).
WM: Bro JW, as a MM whence come you?
JW: From the east WM.
WM: Bro SW, whither directing your course?
SW: Towards the west WM.
WM (to JW): What inducement have you to leave the east and go to the west?
JW: To seek for that which was lost, which, by your instruction and our own industry, we hope to find.
WM (to SW): What is that which was lost?
SW: The genuine secrets of a MM.
WM (to JW): How came they lost?
JW: By the untimely death of our Master HA.
WM (to SW): Where do we hope to find them?
SW: With the c.
WM (to JW): What is a c?
JW: A point within a circle, from which every part of the circumference is equi-distant.
WM (to SW): And why with a c?
SW: That being a point from which a Master Mason cannot err.
WM: Then Brethren, I will assist you to repair that loss, and may Heaven aid our united endeavours.
OMNES: So mote it be
WM: Brethren, in the name of the M.H., I declare the Lodge duly opened, (all cut sign) on the c., (all recover and cut) for the purposes of Freemasonry in the Third Degree
WM 3° Knocks
SW 3° Knocks.
JW 3° Knocks
IG 3° Knocks
Tyler 3° Knocks
During these TB changed; IPM arranges B, S & C.
WM: To order Brethren, (All with G or R s) All Glory to the M H.
All resume seats.
Raising to Third Degree
The Deacons must have laid down the s at the appropriate position folded in the form of a c.
The Candidate must have answered the questions leading to this Degree.
The Tyler, having prepared the Candidate, reports by giving the Fc knocks on door.
IG (advancing to NW corner of Lodge with s and s.): Bro. JW, there is a report. (holds s).
JW (rising, with s and s, no knocks): WM, there is a report.
WM: Bro JW., enquire who wants admission.
JW (completes s and resumes seat): Bro IG, see who seeks admission.
IG completes s, opens door, leaving it ajar for the following examination, which should be audible to the Brethren.
IG: Whom have you there?
Tyler: Bro. (name), who has been regularly initiated into Freemasonry, passed to the degree of a Fellowcraft, and has made such further progress as he hopes will entitle him to be raised to the Third Degree, for which ceremony he is properly prepared.
IG: How does he hope to obtain the privileges of the Third Degree?
Tyler: By the help of God, the united aid of the s. and cs., and the benefit of a p.g. and p.w.
IG: Is he in possession of the p.g. and p.w?
Tyler: Try him.
CAN gives p.g. to IG , instructed by Tyler if necessary.
IG: What is this?
CAN (prompted by Tyler if necessary): The p.g. leading from the Second to the Third Degree.
IG: What does this p.g. demand?
CAN (prompted by Tyler if necessary): A p.w.
IG: Give me that p.w.
(Given, if necessary prompted by Tyler).
IG: Wait while I report to the WM. It is the duty of the IG to see that the Candidate is properly prepared and wearing a Fc apron, having done so he closes door and advances to NW corner of Lodge, and with s and s.
IG: WM, Bro. (name), who has been regularly initiated into Freemasonry, passed to the degree of a Fellowcraft, has made such further progress as he hopes will entitle him to be raised to the Third Degree, for which ceremony he is properly prepared
WM: How does he hope to obtain the privileges of the Third Degree?
IG: By the help of God, the united aid of the s. and cs, and the benefit of a p.g. and p.w.
WM: We acknowledge the powerful aid by which he seeks admission; do you, Brother IG, vouch that he is in possession of the p.g. and p.w?
IG: I do WM
WM.: Then let him be admitted in due form, (IG completes s. WM gavels) Bro. Deacons.
All the lights are extinguished with the exception of the candle at the WM‘s pedestal. IG awaits arrival of Deacons. Kneeling stool is placed in position on squared pavement at NW corner.
Candidate taken in charge by SD and admitted by IG on the c.s. SD leads Candidate to Kneeling stool and stands him facing WM, SD on his right, JD on his left, IG behind momentarily holding cs over Can’s head.
SD (to Can): Salute the WM as a Fc, first as an EA. (done).
WM: Let the Can. kneel and receive the benefit of Masonic prayer.
WM gavels. Can kneels. All rise and stand to order with s. of r. Deacons hold wands crossed above Can’s: head, SD’s in front.
SD instructs Can to assume s. of r.
WM or Chaplain: Almighty and Eternal God, Architect and Ruler of the Universe, at whose creative fiat all things were made, we, the frail creatures of Thy providence, humbly implore Thee to pour down on this convocation assembled in Thy Holy Name the continual dew of Thy Blessing.
Especially we beseech Thee to impart Thy grace to this Thy servant who now seeks to partake with us the mysterious secrets of a MM. Endue him with such fortitude, that in the hour of trial he fail not, but passing safely under Thy protection through the valley of the shadow of death, he may finally rise from the tomb of transgression to shine as the stars for ever and ever.
OMNES: So mote it be.
All drop s. of r. Deacons lower wands.
WM: Let the Candidate rise. (Done, all, except SD and Candidate, sit).
SD: Step off with your l.f.
(JD resumes seat, SD s Lodge with Can on approaching WM says): Salute the WM as an Entered Apprentice in passing. (Note they do not halt for salutes ‘in passing’).
On arriving at JW pedestal they halt and stand in line.
SD (To Can): Advance lo the JW as such, showing the s. (done) and communicating the t. and w.
JW: Have you anything to communicate?
CAN: I have. (SD will prompt Can throughout this exchange)
JW rises and SD instructs Can how to communicate the t.
JW: What is this?
CAN: The g. or t. of an EAFm.
JW: What does this g. demand?
CAN: A w.
JW: Give me that w., in this instance freely and at length.
JW: Pass ….
JW resumes his seat, SD then instructs Can how to step off and, on approaching the west, instructs Can as follows.
SD: Salute the SW as an Entered Apprentice in passing.
SD conducts Candidate to NW corner of Lodge and starts as before.
SD: Step off with your l.f.
SD, again s. Lodge with Can., on approaching WM says: Salute the WM as a Fellowcraft in
On approaching the JW, says: Salute the JW as such in passing.
On arriving at SW pedestal they halt and stand in line.
SD (to Can.): Advance to the SW as such, showing the s. (done) and communicating the t. and w. of that degree.
SW: Have you anything to communicate?
CAN.: I have. (SD will prompt Can throughout this exchange).
SW rises and SD instructs Can. how to communicate the t.
SW: What is this?
CAN.: The g. or t. of a FcFm.
SW: What does this g. demand?
CAN.: A w.
SW: Give me that w., in this instance freely and at length.
SW: Pass ….
SW resumes his seat and SD conducts Can to NW corner of Lodge and both stand facing W.
WM: Brethren, take notice that Bro (full name), who has been regularly initiated into Freemasonry, passed to the degree of a FC, is about to pass before you to show that he is a candidate properly prepared to be raised to the Third Degree.
SD: Step off with your l. f.
SD s. Lodge with Can , on approaching WM says): Salute the WM again as a Fc. in passing
(on approaching JW, SD says:) Salute the JW as such in passing.
(On arriving at SW pedestal they halt and stand in line)
SD: Advance to the SW as such, s., showing the s. (Done), and communicating the p.g. and p.w. you received from the WM previous to leaving the Lodge.
SW: Have you anything to communicate?
CAN.: I have (SD will prompt Can throughout this exchange).
SW rises and SD Instructs Can how to communicate the p.g.
SW: What is this?
CAN.: The p.g. leading from the Second to the Third Degree.
SW: What does this p.g. demand?
CAN.: A p.w.
SW: Give me that p.w.
SW.: What was T.C?
CAN.: The first a. in m.
SW: The import of the word?
SW: Pass T.C.
SW remains standing, SD conducts Can. to left of SW and places Can’s r.h. in SW’s l, ensuring Can faces WM.
SW (with s. and s. of f): WM,I present to you Bro (name), a Candidate properly prepared to be raised to the Third Degree.
WM: Bro. SW direct the SD to instruct the Candidate to advance to the east by the proper steps. (SW completes s. and resumes his seat SD rakes charge of Candidate and both stand in NW corner of Lodge facing WM.)
SW: Bro SD., (SD gives s and s. of a Fc) it is the WM’s command that you instruct the Candidate to advance to the east by the proper steps.
SD (completes sign and instructs the Candidate thus): Step off with your left foot. The method of advancing from w. to e. in this degree is by s.s., t. as if s.o. an o.g., and f.b. or m.s; for your instruction I will go through them after which you will copy me.
SD and Can stand in north of Lodge. JD takes charge of Can when SD goes to centre of Lodge.
The SD goes through the proper method, and returns to collect Candidate. Places Candidate at the head of the g. and says: Place your feet together, turn out your r.f. so as to form a s., step off with your l.f. (Steps to pedestal done) JD joins SD and Can at pedestal.
WM: Bro. (name), it is but fair to inform you that a more serious trial of your fortitude and fidelity, as well as a most solemn obligation now awaits you. Are you prepared to meet them as you ought?
CAN.: I am. (If necessary SD tells Can.to answer).
WM: Then you will kneel on b.k., place both h. on the VSL. (done).
WM gavel: all stand with s. of f; Deacons hold wands over Can’s head, SD’s in front.
WM: State your several names at length and repeat after me; I (full name), in the presence of the MH., and of this worthy and worshipful L of MMs., duly constituted, regularly assembled and properly dedicated, of my own free will and accord, do hereby and hereon, (at these four words WM touches Can’s hand and then VSL) most solemnly promise and swear that I will always hele, conceal and never reveal, any or either of the secrets and mysteries of, or belonging to, the Degree of MM., to anyone in the world, unless it be to him or them to whom the same may justly and lawfully belong, and not even unto him or them until after due trial, strict examination and full conviction that he or they are worthy of that confidence, or in the body of a MM’s Lodge, duly opened on the c. I likewise solemnly engage to adhere to the principles of the s. and cs., to answer and obey all lawful signs and summonses I may receive from a MM’s Lodge if within the length of my c.t , pleading no excuse thereto save sickness or the more pressing emergencies of my public or private avocations. I further solemnly pledge myself to maintain and uphold the f.p.of F., in act as well as in word; that my h. given to a MM shall be a sure pledge of brotherhood; my f. shall traverse difficulties and dangers to unite with his in forming a column of mutual defence and support, the p. of my daily supplication shall remind me of his wants and dispose my heart to succour his weakness and relieve his necessities, as far as may fairly be done, without detriment to myself or connections; my b. shall be the safe repository of his secrets, when entrusted to my care; Murder, Treason, Felony and all other offences contrary to the laws of God and the ordinances of the realm, being at all times most especially excepted.
Finally, I will maintain a MM’s honour and carefully preserve it as mine own. I will not injure him, or knowingly suffer it to be done by others, if in my power to prevent it, but on the contrary, will boldly repel the slanderer of his good name, and most strictly respect the chastity of those nearest and dearest to him, in the persons of his wife, his sister and his child.
These several points I solemnly swear to observe without evasion, equivocation or mental reservation of any kind.
So help me the MH., and keep me steadfast in this the solemn obligation of a MM.
WM: As a pledge of fidelity and to render what you have repeated a solemn obligation, binding so long as you shall live, you will seal it with your ls.,t. on the VSI. (Done).
All complete s., Deacons lower wands.
WM: Twill once more call your attention to the position of the s. and cs.; when you were made an EA b.p. of the cs. were h; in the Second Degree o. was disclosed. In this the w. is exhibited implying that you are now at liberty to work with b. ps., (WM demonstrates with c.) in order to render the circle of your Masonic duties complete.
WM takes Candidate by both hands. (Note. The Can’s hands have remained on VSL until now). Rise, duly obligated MM.
The Brethren resume their seats, the Deacons remain standing with Candidate all retiring a few paces.
WM: Bro. (name), having taken the solemn o. of a MM you are now entitled to demand that last and greatest trial, by which means alone you can be admitted to a participation of the ss. of the Third Degree
But it is first my duty to call your attention to a retrospect of those degrees in Freemasonry through which you have already passed, that you may the better be enabled to distinguish and appreciate the connection of our whole system, and the relative dependency of its several parts. Your admission into Freemasonry in a state of helpless indigence, was an emblematic representation of the entrance of all men on this their mortal existence. It inculcated the useful lesson of natural equality and mutual dependence, it instructed you in the active principles of universal beneficence and charity, to seek the solace of your own distress by affording relief and consolation to your fellow creatures in the hour of their affliction, but above all it taught you to bend with humility and resignation to the will of the GAOTU., to dedicate your heart thus purified from every baneful and malignant passion, fitted only for the reception of truth and wisdom, to His Glory and the welfare of your fellow creatures.
Proceeding onwards, still guiding your progress by the principles of moral truth, you were led in the Second Degree to contemplate the intellectual faculties and trace them in their development through the paths of heavenly science, even to the throne of God Himself. The secrets of nature and the principles of intellectual truth were then unveiled to your view. To a mind thus modelled by virtue and science, nature however presents one great and useful lesson more. She prepares you by contemplation, for the closing hour of your existence, and when by means of that contemplation, she has conducted you through the intricate windings of this mortal life, finally instructs you how to die.
Such, my Brother is the peculiar object of research in this the Third Degree in Freemasonry. It invites you to reflect upon this awful subject, and teaches you to feel that, to the just and virtuous man, Death hath no terrors equal to the stain of falsehood and dishonour.
Of this great truth the annals of Freemasonry afford us a glorious example in the unshaken fidelity and noble death of our Master H. A., who was slain just before the completion of K.S.T., at the construction of which he was, as no doubt you are well aware, the principal Architect. The manner of his death was as follows.
WM.: Bro. Wardens.
Wardens take charge of Candidate and the JW instructs him how to stand, r.f over l.
Deacons arrange sheet and then retire.
WM: Fifteen Fellowcrafts of that superior class of workmen appointed to preside over the rest, finding that the work of the Temple was nearly completed, and they were not in possession of the secrets of the Third Degree, conspired to obtain them by any means, even to having recourse to violence. On the eve, however, of carrying their conspiracy into execution, twelve of the fifteen recanted, but three, of a more determined and atrocious character than the rest, persisted in their impious design, in the prosecution of which they placed themselves respectively at the east, north and south entrances of the Temple, whither our Master had retired to pay his adoration to the Most High, as was his wonted custom at the hour of high twelve. His devotions being ended, he attempted to return by the south entrance where he was opposed by the first of those ruffians, who, for want of other weapons, had armed himself with a p.r. (JW displays p.r.) and, in a threatening manner, demanded of our Master the secrets of his exalted degree, warning him that death would be the consequence of a refusal. Our Master, true to his o., replied that those secrets were known but to three in the world, and that without the consent and cooperation of the other two he neither could nor would divulge them, but intimated that he had no doubt patience and industry would in due time entitle a worthy mason to a participation in them, but that for his own part, he would at her suffer death than betray the sacred trust reposed in him. This answer not proving satisfactory, the ruffian aimed a blow at the head of our Master, but being startled by the firmness of his demeanour, it missed his forehead but glanced with sufficient force upon his right temple (JW demonstrates action) as to cause him to reel and sink on his left knee. (Wardens assist Candidate to suit actions to words after which Can. stands with l.f over r.)
Recovering from the shock he made for the north entrance where he was accosted by the second ruffian to whom he gave a similar answer with undiminished firmness, when the ruffian, who was armed with a l. (SW raises l.) struck him a blow on the left temple (SW demonstrates action) which brought him to the ground on his right knee (Wardens assist Candidate to suit actions to words after which Can again stands with r.f. over l.)
Finding all chances of escape cut off at both these points, our Master staggered faint and bleeding to the east entrance where the third ruffian was posted, who received a similar answer to his insolent demand, for even at this trying moment our Master remained firm and unshaken, when the villain, who was armed with a heavy maul, struck him a violent blow on the forehead (WM demonstrates action) which laid him lifeless at his feet.
Here Ws place Candidate in proper position including his hs. and f, retire a few paces and stand facing WM. Organist plays a few bars from the Dead March in Saul. Brethren stand with s of r.
WM: Brethren, take notice that throughout the recent ceremony, as well as in his present position, our Bro. (name) has been made to represent one of the brightest characters recorded in the annals of Freemasonry, namely our Master H.A. who lost his life in consequence of his unshaken fidelity to the sacred trust reposed in him. And I hope this will make a lasting impression on his and your minds should you ever be placed in a similar state of trial.
Brethren drop s. and sit.
WM: Bro JW, (JW gives s. and s.) endeavour to raise the representative of our Master by the EAs g.
JW holding s goes behind SW advances and squares s., to r. side of Can., then on l.k ,takes Can’s r.h. in EA’S g.—holding wrist with l.h.—slips, replaces hand and retires, backwards, to original position with s. and says:
JW: WM, it proves a s. (completes s.).
WM: Bro SW., (SW gives s and s): try that of a Fc.
SW, holding s. advances and squares s., to r. side of Can , then on r.k., takes Can.’s r.h. in Fc’s g.—holding wrist with l.h.—slips, replaces hand and retires, backwards, in front of JW to original position with s and says:
SW: WM, it proves a s likewise (completes s.).
WM: Bro Wardens, (Ws give s. and s.) both having failed in your endeavours, there yet remains a third method which is by taking a more f.g. of the ss. of a Brother’s r.h., and r. him on the f.p.of f., of which, with your assistance, I will now make trial
Ws’ drop s.
WM leaves his chair and, with the assistance of the Wardens raises the Candidate in ancient form. The SW attends to the Candidate’s l.h.
WM: It is thus, my Brother, that all MMs are raised from a figurative d. to a reunion with the companions of their former toil.
Brother Wardens, resume your seats.
WM turns Candidate to face south.
WM: Let me beg you to observe that the light of a MM is but d. visible, serving only to express that gloom which rests on the prospect of futurity. It is that mysterious veil which the eye of human reason cannot penetrate unless assisted by that Light, (indicates VSL) which is from above. Yet even by this g.r. (points to light on pedestal) you may perceive that you stand on the very b. of the g., into which you have just figuratively descended, and which, when this transitory life shall have passed away, will receive you into its cold bosom. Let the emblems of mortality which lie before you, (WM points) lead you to contemplate your inevitable destiny, and guide your reflections to that most interesting of all human studies, the knowledge of yourself.
Be careful to perform your allotted task while it is yet day. Continue to listen to the voice of Nature which bears witness that even in this perishable frame (WM touches Can. with both hands) resides a vital and immortal principle which inspires a holy confidence that the Lord of Life will enable us to trample the King of Terrors beneath our feet and lift our eyes to that bright morning star whose rising brings peace and salvation to the faithful and obedient of the human race.
WM wheels Candidate to face N., and SD resumes charge of him.
WM: I cannot better reward the attention you have paid to this exhortation and charge than by entrusting you with the secrets of this Degree. You will therefore advance to me as a Fc., first as an EA., showing the signs. (Done) Now take another s.s. towards me with your l.f., bringing the r.h into its h as before, (Done) that, my Bro (pointing) is the t.r.s in Fmy., and is the position in which the ss. of the Degree are communicated. They consist of Ss., a T. and Ws.: of the Ss. the first and second are casual and the third penal.
Throughout the entrusting which follows, the WM demonstrates and the Candidate copies, prompted by SD.
The first casual S. is called the s. of h., and may be taken from a Fc.H.S. Stand to order as a Fc. (Done) and copy me; it is given by dropping the l.h. to the front of the b., p.d., t.e. so as to form a s. thus; inclining the h. over the r.s., and raising the r.h., p.f., fs. and t. again e. so as to form a s. over the l.t., as if struck with h at some dreadful and afflicting sight. (SD instructs Can to drop s. of h.).
The second casual S. is called the s. of s. and is given by inclining the h. forward and g s. the f. with the p of the r.h.
The P.S is given by placing the r.h. to the l.c. of the b., p.d., t. again e. so as to f. a s., drawing it smartly a. the b. dropping it to the side and recovering on the c. thus. This alludes to the symbolic penalty of this degree, at one time included in the obligation, which implied that, as a man of honour and a M.M., (WM suits actions to words) You would rather have been s. in t. than have improperly disclosed the secrets of the degree The full penalty was that of being s. in t., the b.b. to as., and those as. scattered over the face of e. and w. by the f.c.ws. of H., so that no trace or remembrance of so vile a wretch would longer be found among men, particularly MMs
The g. or t. is the first of the f.p.of f., which are h. to h., f. to f., k. to k., b. to b. and h. over b., and may be thus briefly explained (WM goes through actions of f.p. of f. with Can.).
H. to h., I greet you as a brother, and this is the grip of a MM.; f. to f., I will support you in all your laudable undertakings; k. to k., the posture of my daily supplications shall remind me of your wants; b. to b. your lawful secrets, when entrusted to my care, I will preserve as my own; and h. over b.. I will support your character in your absence as in your presence. It is in this position, and then only in a w., except in open Lodge, that the words of a MM. are given; they are M(e). or M(h)., both words having a similar import, the one signifying the d. of the B., the other the B is s. WM resumes his seat.
WM: You are now at liberty to retire in order to restore your personal comfort, and, on your return to the Lodge, those casual ss., that t. and those ws. will be further explained and the ceremony resumed.
SD, squaring the Lodge, conducts Candidate to NW corner.
SD: Salute the WM in the three degrees, first as an EA. (Done).
Can then retires, IG resumes seat, the lights are restored, the Deacons remove the s. then return to their seats.
When Candidate ready Tyler gives one knock.
IG (s. & s.): Bro JW, there is a report.
JW, after receiving discreet acknowledgement from WM gives one knock. IG drops sign and opens door.
IG (to Tyler): Whom have you there?
Tyler: Bro (name) on his return.
IG: Wait while I report to the WM. (Closes door, goes to NW corner and with s. & s. says): WM, Bro (name) on his return.
WM: Admit him Bro IG ,—Bro SD.
IG drops sign and when joined by SD admits Candidate, secures door and resumes his seat SD places Candidate in NW corner
SD: Salute the WM in the three degrees, first as an EA. (Done).
SD then takes Candidate to left of SW and places Candidate’s r.h. in SW’s l.h.: SD standing at Candidates l. SW stands, all three in line facing WM
SW (s & s): WM., I present to you Bro (name) on his being raised to the Third Degree for some further mark of your favour.
WM: Bro. SW, I delegate you to invest our Brother with the distinguishing badge of a Master Mason
SW completes s.
SW: Bro. (name) by the Worshipful Master’s command, I invest you with the distinguishing badge of a MM to mark the further progress you have made in the science. Pay attention to the WM.
SW hands Candidate to SD and resumes his seat SD and Can go to NW corner facing WM.
WM: I will state that the badge with which you have now been invested not only points out your rank as a MM, but is meant to remind you of those great duties you have just so solemnly engaged to observe, and while it marks your superiority in the craft, it calls upon you to afford assistance and instruction to the Brethren in the inferior degrees
WM: Bro. SD, (SD gives s. & s.) conduct the Candidate this way.
SD completes s., conducts Can along the N and places him in the centre of the floor about four paces from and facing WM‘s pedestal then himself takes one pace back.
WM: We left off at that part of our traditional history which mentions the death of our Master H.A. A loss so important as that of the principal architect could not fail to be generally and severely felt. The want of those plans and designs, which had hitherto been regularly supplied to the different classes of workmen, was the first indication that some heavy calamity had befallen our Master. The Menatschin or Prefects, or more familiarly speaking, the Overseers, deputed some of the most eminent of their number to acquaint King Solomon with the utter confusion into which the absence of H. had plunged them, and to express their apprehension that to some fatal catastrophe must be attributed his sudden and mysterious disappearance. King Solomon immediately ordered a general muster of the workmen throughout the different departments, when three of the same class of overseers were not to be found. On the same day the twelve Craftsmen who had originally joined in the conspiracy, came before the King and made a voluntary confession of all they knew down to the time of withdrawing themselves from the number of the conspirators. This naturally increased the fears of King Solomon for the safety of his chief artist; he therefore selected fifteen trusty Fcs. and ordered them to make a diligent search after the person of our Master to ascertain if he were yet alive, or had suffered death in the attempt to extort from him the ss. of his exalted Degree.
Accordingly, a stated day having been appointed for their return to Jerusalem, they formed themselves into three Fc. Ls. and departed from the three entrances of the Temple.
Many days were spent in fruitless search, indeed, one class returned without having made any discovery of importance, a second, however, were more fortunate, for on the evening of a certain day, after having suffered many privations and personal fatigues, one of the Brethren, who had rested himself in a reclining posture, to assist his rising caught hold of a shrub which was near, which to his surprise came easily out of the ground. On a closer examination he found that the earth had been recently disturbed; he therefore hailed his companions and with their united endeavours reopened the ground and there found the body of our Master very indecently interred. They covered it again with all respect and reverence and, to distinguish the spot, stuck a sprig of Acacia at the head of the grave. They then hastened to Jerusalem to impart the afflicting intelligence to King Solomon, who, when the first emotions of his grief had subsided, ordered them to return and raise our Master to such a sepulchre as became his exalted rank and superior talents, at the same time informing them that, by his untimely death the ss. of a MM were lost; he therefore charged them to be particularly careful in observing any casual Ss., T, or ws which might occur whilst paying this last sad tribute of respect to departed merit.
They performed their task with the utmost fidelity and, on the re-opening of the ground, one of the Brethren, looking around, observed some of his companions in this position (WM rises and gives first c.s., Candidate does not copy any of the signs at this stage of the WM’s peroration) struck with horror at the dreadful and afflicting sight, while others, viewing the g.w. still visible on his f., s. their own sympathy with his sufferings. (WM gives second c.s. and resumes his seat).
Two of the Brethren then descended the grave, one of whom endeavoured to raise our Master by the EA g., which proved a s. The other tried that of a Fc., which proved a s. likewise. Both having failed in their attempts, a more zealous and expert Brother then descended the grave and, by taking a more firm g. of the ss. of the r.h. with their assistance raised him on the f.p. of f., while others, more animated, exclaimed M(e) or M(h) , both words having a similar import, one signifying the d. of the B., the other, the B. is s. King Solomon therefore ordered those casual ss. that t. and those ws. should designate all MMs throughout the universe until time or circumstance should restore the genuine
It only remains to account for the third class, who had pursued their researches in the direction of Joppa, and were meditating their return to Jerusalem, when, accidentally passing the mouth of a cavern, they heard sounds of deep lamentation and regret. On entering the cave to ascertain the cause they found three men answering the description of those missing, who, on being charged with the murder, and finding all chance of escape cut off, made a full confession of their guilt. They were then bound and led to Jerusalem, when King Solomon sentenced them to that death that the heinousness of their crime so amply merited.
Our Master was ordered to be re-interred as near the Sanctum Sanctorum as the Israelitish law would permit, there, in a grave from the centre three feet east and three feet west, three feet between north and south and five feet or more perpendicular. He was not buried in the Sanctum Sanctorum, because nothing common or unclean was allowed to enter there, not even the High Priest, but once a year, nor then until after many washings and purifications against the great day of expiation for sins, for, by Israelitish law, all flesh was deemed unclean. The same fifteen trusty Fcs were ordered to attend the funeral, clothed in white aprons and gloves, emblems of their innocence.
SD takes Candidate to pedestal, WM stands, SD (or DC) passes TB. to WM who proceeds, pointing— You have already been informed that the working ts with which our Master was slain were the p.r., l and h.m., the ornaments of a MM’s L are the porch, the dormer and square pavement. The porch was the entrance to the Sanctum Sanctorum, the dormer the window that gave light to the same, and the square pavement for the High Priest to walk on. The High Priest’s office was to burn incense to the honour and glory of the Most High, and to pray fervently to the Almighty, that of His unbounded wisdom and goodness He would be pleased to bestow peace and tranquility on the Israelititsh nation during the ensuing year.
The coffin, skull and cross-bones, emblems of mortality, allude to the untimely death of our Master H.A, He was slain three thousand years after the creation of the world. The three fives allude to the fifteen trusty Fcs., likewise the f.p. of f. and the sprig of acacia marked the head of the grave.
SD (or DC) returns TB to its place after which SD and Candidate retire a few steps to their previous position.
WM: You have already been informed of three ss. in this Degree; the whole are five corresponding in number with the f.p. of f.
They are the s. of h., the s. of s., the p.s., the s. of g. and d., and the s. of j. and e., likewise called the g. or r.s. For your instruction I will go through them and you will copy me.
WM rises and demonstrates each sign, as follows. Candidate, instructed by SD if necessary, copies.
This is the s. of h., this of s., this the p.s.
The s. of g. and d. is given by placing the back of the r. h., t. and fs. extended to form a s., over the r.t., drawing it slowly across the f.h. and dropping it to the side; this took its rise from the time when our Master staggered, faint and bleeding, from the north to the east entrance of the Temple, when his agony was so great that the perspiration stood in large drops on his f.h., he made use of this s. (gives s. again) as a temporary relief to his sufferings. This (raises as above h. fs. touching and recovers) is the s. of j. and e., likewise called the g. or r.s. This took its rise at the completion of the Temple of Jerusalem when King Solomon, with the princes of his household, went forth to view it: they were so struck with its magnificence and splendour that, with one simultaneous motion (gives and holds s) they exclaimed "O wonderful Masons!" (Drops s., Candidate repeats s. and ws. prompted, if necessary by SD)
On the continent the s. of g. and d. is given in a different manner, by interlacing the fs. of both hs., thus, (demonstrates) placing them bs. to the f.h. and drawing them slowly apart exclaiming "O come to my aid ye children of the widow" (Drops s., Candidate repeats s. and ws.) on the supposition that all MMs are brothers to H.A who was a widow’s son.
In Scotland, Ireland and some parts of America it is given in a still different manner; by raising the hs. thus, (demonstrates) ps. upwards towards the Hs. and d. them in three distinct movements exclaiming at each "O L. my G.,O L. my G., O L. my G., is there no h. for the w’s. s." (Candidate repeats s. and ws. in time with WM)
SD again brings Candidate forward to the WM s pedestal.
WM: I now present to your notice the working tools of a MM, they are the Skirret, the Pencil and the Compasses. The skirret is an implement which acts on a centre pin whence a line is drawn to mark out the ground for the foundation of the intended structure; with the pencil the skilful artist delineates the building in a draft or plan for the guidance and instruction of the workmen; the compasses enable him with accuracy and precision to ascertain and determine the limits and proportions of its several parts. But, as we are not all operative, but rather free, accepted or speculative Masons, we apply these tools to morals In this sense, the skirret points out that straight and undeviating line of conduct laid down for our pursuit in the V.S.L.: the pencil teaches us that our words and actions are observed and recorded by the Almighty Architect, to whom we must give an account of our conduct through life; the compasses remind us of His unerring and impartial justice, who, having defined for our instruction the limits of good and evil, will reward or punish, as we have obeyed or disregarded His divine commands. Thus, the working tools of a MM. teach us to bear in mind and act according to the laws of our Divine Creator, so, that when we shall be summoned from this sublunary abode, we may ascend to the Grand Lodge above, where the world’s Great Architect lives and reigns for ever.
You are now entitled to take your seat in a MM’s Lodge and I congratulate you.
SD conducts Candidate to a seat and resumes his own.
WM gavels followed by Ws.
WM: Brethren, assist me to close the Lodge in the Third Degree.
WM: Bro JW, (JW s & s.) what is the constant care of every Master Mason?
JW: To prove the Lodge close T.
WM: Direct that duty to be done.
JW (Cuts s): Bro. IG, (IG s & s) prove the Lodge close T.
IG (s & s): Bro JW , the Lodge is close T (cuts s).
JW (3° Knocks, s & s): WM, the Lodge is close T. (cuts s).
WM: Bro. SW, (SW s & s) the next care?
SW: To see that the Brethren appear to order as Master Masons (cuts s).
WM: To order Brethren as Masons in the Third Degree (Done).
WM: Bro. JW , as a Master Mason, whence come you?
JW: From the W, WM whither we have been in search of the genuine ss of a MM.
WM: Bro SW, have you found them?
SW: We have not WM, but we bring with us certain substituted ss., which we are anxious to impart for your approbation.
WM: Bro Wardens, let those substituted ss. be regularly communicated to me.
SW, leaving his pedestal and holding MM sign, proceeds along north side of Lodge to a point opposite JW, turns to face JW who, holding MM sign, leaves his pedestal and both move to centre of Lodge to lace each other across the Lodge about a yard apart. JW drops MM s and then with s & s of Fc in whisper and under raised hands, give p.g. and p.w. leading to Third Degree.
SW reverts to MM s. and JW to Fc s and then goes through full Third Degree ss and the ws of a MM, again in a whisper SW & JW both revert to MM s and JW returns to his pedestal.
SW faces east with s and says: WM, condescend to receive from me the substituted ss. of a MM.
WM: Bro. SW, I will receive them with pleasure, and for the information of the Brethren you will speak the words aloud.
WM leaves pedestal and stands facing west a convenient distance along the Lodge. SW advances to one pace from and facing WM, and repeats actions and words of JW, but not in a whisper, and then both, holding s return to their pedestals.
WM (after resuming chair): Brethren, the substituted ss of a MM, having been regularly communicated to me, I, as Master of this Lodge, and thereby the humble representative of K.S., do sanction and confirm with my approbation, and declare they shall designate you, and all Master Masons throughout the universe, until time or circumstance shall restore the genuine
OMNES (bending slightly forward): With gratitude to our Master we bend.
WM: To order Brethren, (with g. or r.s. given by all) All glory to the Most High.
(All resume MM.’s s.)
WM: Bro. SW, the labours of this degree being ended, you have my command to close the Ledge (3° knocks with l.h.)
SW: Brethren, in the name of the M.H., and by command of the WM, I close this MM’s Lodge. (All cut, recover and complete MM’s s. in time with last five words. SW gives 3° knocks).
JW: And it is closed accordingly (gives 2° knocks).
SD changes TB. IPM adjusts s. & c.
IG gives 2° knocks. Tyler repeats.
The Brethren resume their seats.