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the masonic manual
THIS degree is the summit and perfection of ancient Masonry; and without which the history of the Royal Arch Degree can hardly be aid to be complete. It rationally accounts for the concealment and preservation of those essentials of the craft, which were brought to light at the erection of the second temple; and which lay concealed from the Masonic eye for four hundred and seventy years. Many particulars relative to those few who were selected, for their superior skill, to complete an important part of king Solomon's temple, are explained. And here, too, is exemplified an instance of justice and mercy by our ancient patron, towards one of the craft, who was led to disobey his commands by an over-zealous attachment for the institution. It ends with a description of a particular circumstance, which characterizes the degree.
The officers and stations of a Council of Select Masters are as follows:
Thrice Illustrious Grand Master, as K. S., in the East; Deputy Illustrious as H., K. T. on the right, in the East; Principal Conductor of the Work, as H. A., on the left; Treasurer, in the North; Recoder, in the South; Grand Captain of the Guards, as Adoniram, in the West Grand Marshal; Grand Steward, as Achizar (Ahishar), at the Door.
May the Supreme Grand Master graciously preside over all our counsels,
and direct us in all such things as he will be pleased to approve and
bless. May our profession as Masons be the rule of our conduct as men. May
our secret retreat ever continue to be the resort of the just and
merciful; the seat of the moral virtues, and the home of the
His foundation is in the holy mountains. The LORD loveth the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob. Glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God. Seiah. I will make mention of Rahab and Babylon to them that know me. Behold Philistia, and Tyre, with Ethiopia; this man was born there. And of Zion it shall be said, This and that man was born in her; and the Highest himself shall establish her. The LORD shall count, when he writeth up the people, that this man was born there. Selah. As well the singers, as the players on instruments, shall be there: all my springs are in thee. - PSALM lxxxvii.
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The following passages of Scripture are introduced and explained:
So king Solomon was king over all Israel. Azariah, the son of Nathan, was over the officers; and Zabud, the son of Nathan, was principal officer, and the king's friend; and Ahishar was over the household; and Adoniram, the son of Abda, was over the tribute. - I KINGS iv. 1-5-6.
And the king
commanded, and they brought great stones, costly stones, and hewed stones,
to lay the foundation of the house. And Solomon's builders and Hiram's
builders did hew them, and the stonesquarers: so they prepared timber and
stones to build the house. - I Kings v. 17-18.
The ancients of Gebal, and the wise men thereof, were in thee thy caulkers; all the ships of the sea, with their mariners, were in thee, to occupy thy merchandise." - EZEKIEL xxvii. 9.
And it came to pass,
when Moses had made an end of writing the words of this law in a book,
until they were finlished, that Moses commanded the Levites which bare the
ark of the covenant of the Lord, saying, Take this book of the law, and
put it in the side of the ark of the covenant of the LORD your GOD, that
it may be there for a witness against thee. - DEUT. xxxi.
24-26.* * *
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And the LORD said unto Moses, Bring Aaron's rod again before the
testimony, to be kept for a token. - NUMBERS xvii. 10.* * * * *
And look that thou make them after their pattern which was shewed thee in the mount. - EXODUS xxv 40.
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COMPANTON: - Having attained to this degree you have passed the circle of perfection in ancient Masonry. In the capacity of Select Master you must be sensible that your obligations are increased in proportion to your privileges. Let it be your constant care to prove yourself worthy of the confidence reposed in you, and of the high honor conferred, in admitting you to this select degree. Let uprightness and integrity attend your steps; let justice and mercy mark your conduct; let fervency and zeal stimulate you in the discharge of the various duties incumbent upon you; but suffer not an idle or impertinent curiosity to lead you astray, or betray you into danger. Be deaf to every insinuation which would have a tendency to weaken your resolution, or tempt you to an act of disobedience. Be voluntarily dumb and blind, when the exercise of those faculties would endanger the peace of your mind, or the probity of your conduct; and let silence and secrecy, those cardinal virtues of a Select Master, on all necessary occasions, be scrupulously observed. By a steady adherence to the important instructions contained in this degree, you will merit the approbation of the select number with whom you are associated, and will enjoy the high satisfaction of having acted well your part in the important enterprise in which you are engaged; and, after having wrought your regular hours, may be admitted to participate in all the privileges of a Select Master.
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COMPANIONS: - Being about to quit this sacred retreat, to mix again with the world, let us not forget, amid the cares and vicissitudes of active life, the bright example of sincere friendship, so beautifully illustrated in the lives of the founders of this degree. Let us take the lesson home with us, and may it strengthen the bands of fraternal love between us; incite our hearts to duty, and our desires to wisdom. Let us exercise Charity, cherish Hope, walk in Faith. And may that moral principle, which is the mystic cement of our fellowship remain with and bless us. So mote it be.
Response: I Do.
And now, Thrice Illustrious, with entire confidence in the rectitude of your intentions, and in the integrity cf your character as a Select Mason, I invest you with this jewel, the appropriate badge of your office.
Having been honored with the free suffrages of your Companions, and elevated to the highest office within their gift, it becomes your duty to set them tin example of diligence, industry and fidelity: to see that the officers associated with you faithfully reform their respective duties; and that the interests and reputation of your Council are not endangered by imprudence or neglect.
The important trust committed to your charge will call forth your best exertions, and the exercise of your best faculties. As the representative of the wise King of Israel, it will be your duty to recite the secret traditions, to illustrate the moral principles of the Order, to cherish the worthy, and hold in due veneration the ancient landmarks.
By frequent recurrence to the by-laws of your Council, and the general regulations of the fraternity, and a consistent observance of the great principles inculcated in the lectures and charges, you will be enabled to fulfill the important obligations resting upon you, with honor to yourself, and with credit to the Craft. And may He, without whose approving smiles our labors are all in vain, give strength to your endeavors and support to your exertions.
A COMPANION - Having been elected to the second office in this Council, it is with pleasure that I invest you with this jewel, the badge of your office. The duties of the important office to which your Companions have elevated you, will require your constant and earnest attention. You are to occupy the second seat in the Council; and it will be your duty to aid and support your chief in all the requirements of his office. In his absence, you will be called upon to preside in Council and to discharge his duties. Although the representative of a King and elevated in rank above your Companions, may you never forget that, in all the duties you owe to GOD, your neighbor, and yourself, you and they stand upon the same level of equality. Let the bright example of your illustrious predecessor in the Grand Council at Jerusalem, stimulate you to the faithful performance of every duty; and when the King of Kings shall summon you to his immediate presence, from His hand may you receive a crown of glory, which shall never fade away.
COMPANION: - As the third officer in the Council, I invest you with this badge. It is your duty to sound the Silver Trumpet at early dawn and eve of day, when the sun's first and last beams gild the mountain-tops; to announce high noon, and proclaim the time of rest and labor. In the absence of either of your superior officers, you will be required to perform his duties; and, as the interests of your Council ought never to be permitted to suffer through the want of intelligence in its officers.
You will allow me to urge upon you the necessity of being always qualified and prepared to meet such an emergency, should it ever arise. Having been admitted to the fellowship of Kings, you will be frequently reminded that the office of mediator is both honorable and praiseworthy. Let it, therefore, be your constant care to preserve harmony and unanimity of sentiment among the members of your Council. Discountenance whatever may tend to create division and dissension among the brethren in any of the departments of Masonry; and as the glorious sun at its meridian dispels the mists and clouds that obscure the horizon, so may your exertions tend to dissipate the mists of jealousy and discord, should they ever unfortunately arise in your Council.
COMPANION: - You have been elected to a responsible office, and I with pleasure invest you with this jewel. It is your duty to number and weigh out the Shekels of the Sanctuary, and to provide for the helpless orphan. The qualities which should distinguish you are accuracy and fidelity; accuracy in keeping a fair and true account of the receipts and disbursements; fidelity in carefully preserving the property and funds of the Council, and in rendering a just account of the same when required. Your interest in this Council, your attachment to the craft, and your known integrity of character, are a sure guaranty that your duties will be faithfully performed
COMCPANION: - I now
invest you with this badge of your office. The qualities which should
recommend a Recorder are correctness in recording the proceedings of the
Council; judgment in discriminating between what is proper and that which
is improper to be written; regularity in making the returns to the Grand
Council; integrity in accounting for all moneys that may pass through his
hands, and fidelity in paying the same over to the Grand Treasurer. The
possession of these qualities has designated you as a suitable Companion
for this important office; and I entertain no doubt that you will
discharge all the duties incumbent on you with fidelity aud honor. And
when you shall have completed the record of your transactions here below,
and finished the term of your probation, may you be admitted to the Grand
Council above, and find your name recorded in the book of life eternal.
A COMPANION: - Having been elected Cap tain of the Guards, I present you with this implement of your office. Guard well your post, and suffer none to pass it but the select, the faithful and the worthy Be ever attentive to the commands of your chief and always near at hand to see them duly executed
COMPANION: - The
duties of your office require but little elucidation. It is your duty, in
connection with the Conductor, to attend to the examination of visitors,
and to take special care that none are permitted to enter but such as have
proved their title to our favor and friendship. I present you with the
implement of your office, in the confident belief that it is intrusted to
competent and faithful hands.
COMPANION: - You are appointed Steward (or Sentinel) of this Council; and now invest you with this badge, and present you with this implement of your ofice. As the Sword is placed in the hands of the Steward to enable him to guard the Sanctuary and entrance to the secret passage, with sleepless vigilance, against intruders, so should it morally serve as a constant admonition to us to set a guard at the entrance of our thoughts; to place a watch at the door of our lips; to post a sentinel at the avenue of our actions; thereby excluding every unworthy thought, word, and deed; and enabling us to preserve our consciences void of offence towards GOD and man.
COMPANIONS: - From the nature of the constitution of every society, some must rule and others obey. And while justice and moderation are required of the officers, in the discharge of their official duties, subordination and respect for their rulers are equally demanded of the members. The relation is reciprocal. The interests of both are inseparable; and, without mutual co-operation the labors of neither can succeed. Let the avenues to your passions be strictly guarded; let no curious intruder find his way into the secret recesses of your retirement, to disturb the harmony which should ever prevail among the select and chosen. In so doing, you will best secure the prosperity of your Council, the respect of your brethren, and the commendation of your own consciences.
The Grand Marshal will then proclaim the Council to be regularly constituted, and its officers duly installed.
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Last modified: March 22, 2014