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THE MASONIC RITES AND DEGREES - CANADA
THE CRAFTSMAN - 1875
As an amusement for a leisure hour, I have prepared the following notes upon the various Masonic Rites and Degrees, and also the Chivalric Orders of Knighthood, as practised in Canada, more particularly with the view of showing the proper sequence in which the various Masonic Degrees should follow each other. It is not in the least intended that these Notes should bear upon the existing order of things, they are merely thrown out as "Masonic Curiosities," and may perhaps afford amusement, if not information, to the follower of the "Mystic Tie."
A MASON OF ALL RITES AND GRADES
SEQUENCE OF THE "YORK" DEGREES AS ACTUALLY WORKED IN CANADA.
SYMBOLIC OR CRAFT MASONRY
PROPER SEQUENCE OF THE DEGREES OF THE "YORK RITE" OF FREEMASONRY, AS WORKED IN CANADA.
1. ENTERED APPRENTICE MASON. - In this Degree the Neophyte is introduced into Masonry.
2. FELLOW CRAFT MASON. - Becomes a Workman and earns wages.
3. MARK [MASTER?] MASON.- Is taught how to distinguish his work by a "Mark," and the proper method of receiving his wages. [Notre.] - This and the two following degrees are improperly called "Masters," - no Master Masons, except the Three Grand Masters S.K. of I., H.K. of T., and H.A.B., were in existence until the Degree of Master Mason (No. 6,) was conferred by K.S.
4. ROYAL [MASTER?] MASON. - Receives an explanation from H.A.B. of the time and under what circumstances, only, he can be made a Master Mason.
5. SELECT [MASTER?] MASON. - Receives an explanation of how and by whom, The Sacred Treasures, afterwards discovered in the R. A. Degree, were secretly deposited.
6. MASTER MASON. - Describes the death of H.A.B. before the completion of the Temple, and the substitution of a ward for the true one, which remained concealed.
7. MOST EXCELLENT MASTER. - Describes the completion of the Temple, and the ceremonies attendant thereon.
8. PAST, OR PRESIDING MASTER. - Inspection of the finished Temple by K.S., the Q. of S., and others, and their expression of admiration at its beauty.
9. SUPER EXCELLENT MASTER. - Describes the destruction of King Solomon's Temple, and the carrying away of the Jews in captivity to Babylon.
10. "RED CROSS" OF THE UNITED STATES, CALLED IN CANADA "THE RED CROSS OF BABYLON," AND IN SCOTLAND "EXCELLENT MASTER," OR "BABYLONISH PASS." - Describes the method by which permission was obtained to rebuild the Temple, and the various obstructions met with and overcome by Z. and his companions on their journey from Babylon to Jerusalem.
11. HOLY ROYAL ARCH. - Describes the way in which the work of rebuilding the Temple of Jerusalem was conducted, and the discovery of the Sacred Treasures deposited in the S.V., as described in the S.M. Degree, (No. 5) and the finding of the True Word, for which a substitute was given in the M.M. Degree, (No. 6.) This degree is the summit and completion of ancient Masonry, as connected with the Temple at Jerusalem.
The above is the proper Historical and Chronological Sequence of the "Masonry of the Temple," worked in Canada, but in practice the Degrees are given in a sequence entirely different, viz: "Under the Grand Lodge Degrees. Nos. 1, 2, 6; Under the Grand Chapter Nos. 3, 8, 7, 11: Under the Grand Council, Nos. 4 5, 9. 10. As neither Grand Lodge nor Grand Chapter would permit any alteration in present arrangements, this "proper sequence" can only be looked upon as a "Masonic curiosity."
NOTES ON THE VARIOUS DEGREES PRACTISED IN CANADA, IN REFERENCE TO THEIR SEQUENCE AND CONNECTION WITH EACH OTHER.
ROYAL ARK MARINER. - This Degree does not properly belong to the series of Degrees practised in either the "York," or "Ancient and Accepted" Rite. It is based upon the Mosaic account of the Deluge, and can with propriety be given to any Master Mason.
ANCIENT AND ACCEPTED RITE.
1. ENTERED APPRENTICE MASON. - First introduction of the Neophyte into Masonry.
2. FELLOW CRAFT MASON. - The Apprentice becomes a Workman and is entitled to wages, and learns the necessity of knowledge.
3. MASTER MASON. - Describes, the death of H.A.B. previous to the completion of the Temple, and the reception of the Craftsman into the grade of Master with a substituted word. [Note. - The above three Degrees are not practised in Canada, or where the Craft Degrees of the "York Rite" are worked.]
4. SECRET MASTER. - This Degree originated immediately after the death of H.A.B. Seven of the most expert M.M.'s. were appointed special guardians of the S. S, and the Sacred Furniture of the Most Holy Place.
5. PERFECT MASTER. - Celebrates the Obsequies of H.A.B., and is the proper Funeral Rite of Members of this Rite.
6. INTIMATE SECRETARY. - This Degree illustrates the over zealous interference of an indiscreet friend between S.K. of I. and H.K. of T., and proves the sublime doctrine of the immortality of the soul. It is not connected with the Degree preceding or following, it, but as it occurs during the period of mourning for H.A.B., it is, chronologically in its proper place and sequence.
7. PREVOST AND JUDGE - Consequent upon the death of H.A.B., K.S. found it necessary to appoint several Officers, to keep order and decide disputes among the workmen, teaching justice as the necessary consequence of the relations between God and man.
8. INTENDANT OF THE BUILDINGS. - Five Superintendents were appointed by K.S. to supply the want of a Chief Architect, lost in the death of H.A.B.
9. KNIGHTS ELECT OF NINE. - This degree was established to reward the real of one of the favorites of K.S., who was the first to detect and bring to justice one of the murderers of H.A.B.
10. KNIGHTS ELECT of FIFTEEN. - Recounts the mode of arrest and punishment of the other Assassins of H.A.B.
11. SUBLIME KNIGHTS ELECTED. - Illustrates the reward bestowed by K.S. on 12 of the 15, who were instrumental is bringing to justice the assassins of H.A.B. This, with the two preceding Degrees, called the Elect or Elu, are intimately connected. The members are not "Knights," in the Chivalric sense, and might more properly be "Knight Masters." The term "Knights," however, is retained for reasons that every termed "Kadosh" will understand.
12. GRAND MASTER ARCHITECT. - This Degree was established as a School of Instruction for the best workmen of the Temple, to insure uniformity in work and design.
13. ROYAL ARCH OF ENOCH, OR KNIGHTS OF THE NINTH ARCH, OR ROYAL ARCH OF SOLOMON. This Degree forms the climax of Ineffable Masonry. It is the Keystone of the Arch, and discovers that which is revealed and explained is the succeeding Degree of "Perfection."
14. GRAND, ELECT, PERFECT AND SUBLIME MASON. - This Degree describes the S.T. under the S.V., in which is the P. of B, and the Holy four-letter name. In this Degree the Temple is completed. It also narrates the death of Solomon and the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem.
15. KNIGHT OF THE EAST OR SWORD. - This Degree relates to the Babylonish Captivity, and the return of the Captives to Jerusalem.
16. PRINCE OF JERUSALEM. - This Degree is intimately connected with the preceding one, and relates the difficulties upon the rebuilding of the Temple at Jerusalem and the final success of the undertaking. This is the last of the series of the Ancient Degrees, as found in strict chronological order. The preceding Sixteen Degrees of this Rite may justly be considered as being in strict sequence to each other, both as regards Time and Circumstances. They form a very perfect History of Masonry, in respect to the Temple at Jerusalem.
17. KNIGHTS OF THE EAST AND WEST. - They may be considered as the first of the Modern series of Degrees in this Rite. It figuratively represents the building of the Third Temple in the heart of man. The ceremonies are very impressive and are almost entirely drawn from the Book of Revelation.
18. KNIGHT of THE ROSE CROIX. - This Degree is plainly Christian in its teachings. It symbolizes the Crucifixion, Descent, and Ascension of our Lord, and teaches the final victory of the principle of good over evil. It is quite out of place in the A. and A. Rite, and properly belongs to the Knights Templar, within whose Preceptories it was formerly practised.
19. GRAND PONTIFF OR SUBLIME SCOTCH MASON. - This Degree is founded upon certain mysteries relating to the New Jerusalem; it inculcates the three virtues, Faith, Hope, and Charity, and is purely Christian in its teachings.
20. GRAND MASTER OF ALL SYMBOLIC LODGES, OR MASTER AD VITAM. - This may be considered as a "Chair Degree," similar in many respects to that of "Installed Master" in the "York" Rite. It teaches the proper mode to govern in all symbolic Lodges.
21. NOACHITE, A PRUSSIAN KNIGHT. - This Degree was formed at the time of the Crusades. Its object was, in a time when general disorder and lawlessness were spread over Europe, to enforce Law and Justice, and they called themselves "Noachite Masons; because they aimed at imitating the justice and purity of the Patriarch Noah. The Order was in several parts of Germany popularly known as the "Holy Vehme."
22. KNIGHT OF THE ROYAL AXE, OR PRINCE OF LIBANUS. - Alludes to the felling of the Cedars in Lebanon for the Temple. Its proper place in this Rite would appear to be immediately after the 2nd or Fellow Craft Degree.
23. CHIEF OF THE TABERNACLE. - Describes the form of the Tabernacle erected by Moses in the Wilderness.
24. PRINCE of THE TABERNACLE. - Describes the sacerdotal ceremonies of the Levitical Priesthood. It is a continuation of the preceding Degree.
25. KNIGHT OF THE BRAZEN SERPENT. - Relates to the time when the Camp of the Israelites was pitched at Punon, when the plague of "Fiery Serpents" was sent among them for their unbelief. This, with the two preceding degrees, together with the "Royal Ark Mariner," might be designated as "Mosaic Masonry," and they have no particular propriety or significance as part of the A. and A. Rite.
26. PRINCE OF MERCY, OR SCOTTISH TRINITARIAN. - This is a strictly Christian Degree, and shows the alliance between the "Natural Law," "The Law of Moses," and "The New Covenant of Christ," hence its name of "Trinitarian." It originated when Domitian was Emperor of Rome, and when in fear of persecution and death, the Christians held their Religious Assemblies in the Catacombs.
27. GRAND COMMANDER OF THE TEMPLE. - This degree originated at the seige of St. Jean de Acre, when the Knights nursed the sick and wounded by night and fought the Saracens by day. It appears to have been in imitation of the "Templar" Order, and is the first "strictly" Christian Degree of the A. and A. Rite.
28. KNIGHT of THE SUN. - This is the Grand Philosophical Degree of the A. and A. Rite. It teaches that there is but One God, uncreated and Eternal, and whose Divine attributes are Reason, Truth, and Justice. This Degree stands alone in the Rite, totally unconnected with any other, and teaches the theory of the Universal Religion.
29. KNIGHT OF ST. ANDREW, OR PATRIARCH OF THE CRUSADES. - This Degree teaches Equality among Knights, that is, that the poor Knight is equal to the Monarch. It also teaches the requisites of Knighthood.
30. KNIGHT KADOSH, ALSO STYLED WHITE AND BLACK EAGLE, AND GRAND ELECTED KNIGHT TEMPLAR. - This Degree existed with various forms and ceremonies, but the meaning now generally attached to it is that it is a commemoration of the suppression of the Order of "Knight Templars," and seems to properly belong to that Order.
31. GRAND INSPECTOR, INQUISITOR, COMANDER. - Teaches the mode of trying Offenders in the A. and A. Rite.
32. SUBLIME PRINCE OF THE ROYAL SECRET. - This Degree was instituted as a Christian Order of Knighthood, having for its object to re-conquer the Holy Land and plant the Banner of the Cross on the Walls of Jerusalem.
33. SOVEREIGN GRAND INSPECTOR GENERAL. - This is the Official Degree of the Rulers of the Rite, representing Frederick the Great of Prussia, and reciting the Constitution and Instructions "said" to have been granted by him in 1786.
NOTE. - The Statutes of the A. and A. Rite for Canada only require that the 4, 9, 14, 18, 30, 31, 32 degrees be conferred in "extenso" all the others may be "communicated." This Rite has been formed by a selection from the 800 degrees of one kind and another that flooded the Masonic world during the last century, by innovators and inventory, striving to overthrow the primitive simplicity of Masonry; and, although the systematic arrangement of the degrees of the rite have rejected all incongruities, the number might still be reduced. In England, the 18, 30, 31 and 32 are the only ones given in extenso. Some of the designations and titles used have an esoteric meaning consistent with the true spirit of Masonry. Thus the Prince is he who aims at being the first among his equals in virtue and good deeds. The Sovereign is supreme only because the law and constitutions are so which he administers and by which he like every other brother is governed. The title "Puissant," "Potent," "Wise," and "Venerable," indicate that power of virtue intelligence and wisdom which those ought to attain who are placed in high office. The degrees, then, of the A. and A. Rite, professing to be the teacher of great truths, form a connected system of moral, religious, and philosophical instruction.
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Last modified: March 22, 2014