The Web of Hiram

University of Bradford
Home Lectures of the Craft Lectures of the Holy Royal Arch Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite The Royal Order of Scotland York Rite Side Degrees English Knights Templar Order of Women Freemasons Walter Leslie Wilmshurst

Degrees of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite

4. Secret Master

5. Perfect Master

6. Intimate Secretary

7. Provost and Judge

8. Intendant of Buildings

9. Master Elect of Nine

10. Master Elect of Fifteen

11. Sublime Master Elected

12. Grand Master Architect

13. Royal Arch of Enoch

14. Grand Elect, Perfect and Sublime Master Mason

15. Knight of the East or Sword

16. Prince of Jerusalem

17. Knights of the East and West

18. Knight of the Rose-Croix de Heredom

19. Grand Pontiff

20. Grand Master of all Symbolic Lodges

21. Noachite or Prussian Knight

22. Knight of the Royal Axe

23. Chief of the Tabernacle

24. Prince of the Tabernacle

25. Knight of the Brazen Serpent

26. Prince of Mercy

27 Commander of the Temple

28. Knight of the Sun

29. Knight of St Andrew, or Patriarch of the Crusades

30. Knight Kadosh

31. Grand Inspector Commander

32. Sublime Prince of the Royal Secret.

33. Inspector-General

MASTER ELECT OF NINE

The Ninth Grade of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, and the Sixth Degree of the Ineffable Series



Argument

The three degrees called elect, or Elu - namely, Elect of Nine, Elect of Fifteen, and Sublime Master Elected - are intimately and essentially connected. They are of an important and interesting nature, the first of the three being established to reward the fidelity and zeal of one of the favourites of the King of Israel, who was the first to detect and bring to justice a certain Craftsman, who, pending the construction of the Temple, had been engaged in an execrable deed.

The great purpose of the degree is to inculcate and illustrate this lesson: That we should be careful how we allow ourselves to be led away by an excess of zeal, even in a good cause, to in. dict, as an individual, the punishment justly due for the violation of human or divine laws

Free, Ancient and Accepted Scottish Masonry has no ambition to be considered a Charitable Institution, in the modern acceptation of that term. In that regard, we are widely different from those secret associations whose chief claim to public consideration is in the assistance they render to the unfortunate poor. However laudable alms-giving may be, we are not prepared to accept it with them as a full and complete exercise of all our duties as conveyed in the word Charity Alms-giving is not the full scope of Charity as taught in the old Free Masonic schools of Philosophy. The greatest of the divine virtues given to man is Charity.

It is that great vital principle of fraternity, of equality, and of liberty, which prompts a man to love his neighbour as himself - it is humble, retiring, hath no shadow of envy, hatred, or maliceit is that love to mankind which prompts us to rush to the rescue of our brethren in adversity, as well as to rejoice with them in their prosperity. In brief, this is the substance of all our teachings and all else is but subsidiary.

Decorations, Etc

The hangings are black, strewed with flames, suspended from eight columns, four on each side. There are nine great lights - eight forming an octagon round the altar, which is in the centre: the other light is placed half-way between the altar and the East. The altar is covered with black, and on it are placed the Book of the Testimony, two cross-swords, and a dagger.

An urn, containing a number of white and black ballots, on the Secretary's desk. There is also a room representing a cavern.

Titles

The body is styled a Chapter, and members, who represent the first Nine The officers are:

Thrice Potent Master, represents King Solomon;

Senior Inspector, represents King Hiram;

Junior Inspector, represents Adoniram;

Orator, represents Zabud;

Secretary, represents Sadoe;

Treasurer, represents Josaphat;

Hospitaller, represents Ahisar

Master of Ceremonies, represensts The Stranger Pharos, and a poor herdsman;

Captain of the Guard, reprents Banacas.

Clothing

Apron - White, lined and bordered with black, sprinkled with blood; in the centre a bloody head held by the hair; on the flap, an arm holding a dagger.

Sash - A broad black watered ribbon, worn from the right shoulder to the left hip; at the lower end nine red rosettes, four on each side, and one at the bottom, from which pendent the:

Jewel - A dagger, hilt of gold and blade of silver.

Daring a reception the Thrice Potent and Senior Inspector wear Royal robes, with crown and sceptre; the Secretary wears robes and mitre of the High Priest.

The Junior Inspector and other officers, robed in black with cowles, and the apron, sash, and jewel of this degree, sit * * * during the working of the degree, with right elbow on the knee and head on the right hand as if fatigued.

Stranger clothed as a shepherd.

Battery-* * * * * * * * * - *

The lights are not lighted until the Chapter is opened.

Hour-First hour of night.

Age-Eight and one.

Opening

Q. What are we taught as a Master Elect of Nine?

A. That we should be careful how we suffer ourselves to be led away by an excess of zeal, even in a good cause, to exercise as individuals the vengeance due for the violation of divine and human laws.

Q. What further does the degree illustrate?

A. The overthrow of ignorance by freedom

Form of the Lodge

The chamber in which this chapter is held represents the apartment in Solomon's palace. The hangings are red and white columns intermixed and strewed with flames. The master represents Solomon, King of Israel, and is styled the Most Sovereign. There is but one warden, who sits alone in the west, representing Stolkin, and is called the Inspector. All the rest of the brethren must be in black and placed in the south, as the lights are placed, eight close, and one at a distance. When there is a reception, all the brethren, being in mourning, sit with their hats flapped, and the right leg over the left, their heads leaning on their right hands, in a doleful character. Their aprons are lined and bordered with black. They wear a broad black ribbon from their left shoulder to their right hip, on the breast of which are painted three heads of fear and terror. A poniard hangs to this ribbon, with nine red roses painted on it near the bottom, four on each side, and one in the centre. Each brother has a naked poniard lying at his feet. The plan of the draft of the lodge or chapter is an oblong square, at the upper part of which, to the right, is drawn the city of Jerusalem. At the left is represented a cave near the sea-side and the river Joppa, surrounded with rocks, in which a man is seen, lying with his head on a rock, a lamp burning by him, a poniard at his feet, a running stream of water, and a cup. Over the mountain the setting sun is seen. In the middle of the draft appears a bush, which seems to be on fire, occasioned by the reflection of a rainbow. A brilliant star is fixed immediately over the cave, above the setting sun, to point out the retreat of the murderer. On the draft is likewise seen a winding road which leads from Jerusalem to Joppa. On this road a dog ' is seen near to the cave, which is the figure under which the unknown person is drawn. A man closely follows, and, at a distance, are seen eight other men walking without order. Near the room where this chapter is held there must be a small room made to represent a cave, and a large stone in it for the candidate to sit upon, a little table with a lamp lighted and, under it, the word REVENGE written. A poniard lies on the table, a spring or fountain runs in the room, a cup to drink out of, and an effigy of a man asleep.

In this chapter, the sovereign sits under a canopy, in an elevated chair of state covered with black. Before him stands a table covered with black and a grey coloured carpet, on which is a bible, a sceptre, and a dagger. Solomon strikes with his sceptre, and Stolkin strikes with his poniard, which he holds in his hand as a symbol of revenge.

Form of Opening

Q. Are you an elected Knight?

A. One cavern received me, one lamp gave me light, and one spring refreshed me.

Q. What is the clock?

A. Break of day.

The Master knocks eight and one. The inspector imitates him, and the brethren clap the same number with their hands. The Master says  This chapjter is opened.

Form of Reception

The master of the ceremonies brings the candidate to the door, knocks eight and one, which are repeated by the Master, all the brethren being in their proper postures. The Inspector rises and receives the candidate, whom he brings into the middle of the chamber, opposite to the Thrice Puissant. After a little silence, he is asked by the Master:What do you want here?

A. I am come to solicit the favour of being initiated into the degree of the Nine Elected Knights.

Q. What motives induce you to think that you deserve to have the honour conferred upon you?

A. My zeal, fervour, and constancy, which I promise shall be doubled hereafter, have made me aspise to this favour.

T. P. M. Learn, my brother, that you are to impute your present admission into this chapter, less to a desire in us to confer this degree upon you, than to an inclination to make a trial of your conduct and courage, and of your compliance with the obligations which you have contracted m the different degrees through which you have already passed. Know, my brother, that, at this moment, we have in our power one of the murderers of our respectable Master, Hiram Abiff, who groans under the enormity of his guilt and expects every instant to undergo the rigorous torture which his crimes merit, to serve as an example to deter others. This I have learnt from a stranger, who will conduct those I send to the place where the miscreant is hidden.

My dear brother, this chapter is fully convinced of your zeal, and is much disposed to confer higher degrees on you. So, now the opportunity offers of your being the first to revenge the craft, by bringing this villain to condign punishment if possible, adequate to the enormity of his crimes. - Do you find yourself disposed to vindicate the royal art, and to sacrifice the traitor in honour of masonry ? - Give me an answer.

A. I shall be happy of the opportunity to revenge the death of our dear Grand Master.

T, P. M. I must previously inform you that this man is, perhaps, one of your acquaintances, probably your friend, or your brother; but in such a case as this every sentiment must give way to that of revenge, which, with you, is to stifle every other consideration, because no bad consequences will attend your accomplishment of this revenge. Besides, this is the only opportunity that offers of making us sensible of your zeal, by which you will be admited into this degree; therefore, determine immediately.

A. I am determined.

T. P. M. Suffer yourself to be conducted, and follow the stranger to the place where the criminal is hidden.

The candidate is now blindfolded and conducted to the cave, where he is seated on a stone, opposite to the sleeping murderer. When seated, the guide tells him that he shall have to leave him for a while ; another brother shakes a parcel of chains and groans heavily. The guide places the candidate's left hand on the table, tells him to lay his head on his arm, and his right hand on his thigh and thus addresses him

My dear brother, I must leave you a little while, be of good courage, and not daunted. Promise me faithfully that you will remain in the posture in which 1 now leave you, however much alarmed you may be by any noise which you may hear. Attend to what I say ; for, if you neglect it, your life may be the cost. As soon as you hear a masonic knock, take the bandage from your eyes, and closely examine every object that is around you. When you hear a second knock drink out of the cup, which you will find near your left hand. When you hear a third knocking you must do exactly as a voice shall bid you. Although I leave you alone, believe me, the eyes of the whole chapter are upon you ; therefore, I beg that you will not fail to comply with these instructions. Farewell, I leave you. He quits the room, and shuts the door sharply after him. In a minute or two he knocks three distinct knocks; after awhile he knocks again, as before; and then again when a voice tells the candidate to take that dagger and strike the villain, first on the head, then in his heart. Cut off the head and follow me with it in your left hand, and the dagger in the right. He is again brought to the door of the lodge, and knocks eight and one. The door being opened, the Master says -

Q. Who, comes there?

A. Joabert, who has discovered where the traitor was concealed, and having revenged the death of our respectable Master, Hiram Abif, comes to lay the villain's head at the feet of Solomon, King of Israel.

He is then admitted. Holding the head out, he strikes at it. with the dagger, which brings him to the throne, where he falls on his knees, with the head and dagger exposed in his hands. The king, seeing the candidate, rises with great indignation, and says : - Wretch! what have you done? My orders were, that the traitor should be taken and brought to me, not that you should put him to death. Your disobedience of orders shall, therefore, cost you your life. Stolkin, put him to death.'

On hearing this the brethren fall on one knee, and beg pardon from Solomon for the candidate, saying, that it was an excess of. zeal and love for the memory of our respected Master, Hiram.Abif, that prompted him to disobey the King's orders. While this entreaty is making, Stolkin seizes the candidate and stands ready to execute his orders.

Solomon says - Stop! My Brother Joabert, I freely forgive you, the second time, as you meant no wrong, but beware of the third offence - The head and poniard are then taken from him, and the obligation is administered.

The penalty of this obligation embraces all those of the foregoing with a promise to revenge masonry in general ; to protect the order of one's own brethren with all one's might and power ; to submit one's self to perish by the same weapon which will be given as an honourable mark of this order, and, as a reward for zeal and constancy.

The Thrice Puissant raises the candidate and gives him the dagger, saying : - I deliver you this vindictive weapon : makea good use of it when required.

The first sign of this order is for one to take a poniard or sword and stab another on the forehead. The one that is struck claps his hand to his forehead to see if it is bloody.

The second sign is to strike your poniard to the heart of another, and say Necum. The other answers by laying his hand upon his heart, and saying - Joabert.

The grip is to take the thumb of the other's right hand, and in the bottom of yours, clench all the fingers of both hands and place the thumb erect. Is signifies the elect eight close by and one by itself.

The passwords are given

The grand word signifies the faithful guardian, chief of the Tabernacle, friend and chosen favourite.

The candidate is led to the west, the brethren resume their proper attitudes, and the Thrice Puissant delivers the folllowing:

Discourse

Thrice respectable brother elect, the unanimity and earnestness with with which this respectable assembly require your pardon, disposed my heart to grant it, especialy as your crime was only an overflow of zeal. In this you have imitated Joabert, the favourite of Solomon, King of Israel, as I am about to relate. You doubtless recollect the lamentable catastrophe of our respectable Master, Hiram. Abif. His death is the constant subject of our griefs and tears, and, in this, we imitate the wisest of kings, who bemoaned the irreparable loss which he had sustained. You know that Solomou, on hearing that he was missing, put a stop to the building, and swore that no person should be paid his wages, until this great man was found dead or alive. You also recollect that the brethren went in search of him, and that Stolkin's good luck on this melancholy occasion, endeared him to the king, and procured him his greatest confidence. Nor was Solomon contented with having the funeral obsequies of that great man celebrated with as much splendour and magnificence as possible but was also determined to take public satisfaction with the perpetrators of that horrid crime, and to sacrifice them to the manes of his deceased friend. He issued a proclamation, offering a reward to any person who would give information where the villains were concealed ; and that he would even forgive the real assassin if he would come into his presence, acknowledge his guilt, and give up his accomplices, so that they might suffer condign punishment for the expiation of the greatest of crimes. This proclamation was Iong out to no purpose. But one day, when Solomon was sitting in his hall, giving audience to more than ninety masters and other officers of the order, Jerbel, Captain of the Guards, entered and informed him that an unknown person wanted to speak to him in private, as he had a matter of high importance to impart. The brethren were alarmed at the readiness with which the king consented to a private audience from fear of danger to his person ; but the audience being short, a speedy return removed those fears. He informed them, this unknown person was acquainted with the retreat of the murderers of Hiram Abif, and had offered to accompany such people as would accompany him and inform themselves of the truth of what he asserted. The brethren, to a man, immediately stood up and ofiered their services on that occasion. The king was highly pleased at their zeal, but declared, that among such a number of virtuous brethren, they who should be employed in the honour of taking these victims of vengeance should be determined by lot The names of the Intendants of the Buildings who were present were put in a box, when the king declared the nine whose names should be first drawn should follow the unknown stranger and bring the traitors alive, to be made an example to the latest posterity. Lots were accordingly drawn, and joy gladdened the faces of those whose names came out. These received instructions from the king to follow the unknown man, who would conduct them to the cave which was the retreat of the traitors. They departed, but one of the nine, Joabert, whom you this day represent, animated with uncommon ardour, and thinking his brethren walked too slow, got before thern, and was the first that came to the cave, which was situated near the sea side, not far from Joppa. Near it was a bush, which seemed to burn ; and a star, which had conducted them, stood fixed over the cave. Joabert, inflamed with rage, entered, and by the aid of a lamp which was burning, saw the villain asleep lying on his back. A dagger lay at his feet, which Joabert seized and struck with all his might, first on the head, and then in the heart. The villain sprang up with fury; but, immediately dropped dead at his feet, and pronounced the word Necum. Joabert cut off his head, and then quenched his thirst at the spring in the cave, when he was joined by his brethren, whom he was just going to meet. They, seeing the head of the villain, represented to Joabert that he had committed a fault by his zeal, and that thus putting an end to the villain's life, he had rescued him from the tortures which Solomon had prepared for him. They promised to intercede and use their influence with the king to procure his pardon. All quenching their thirst, Joabert taking the head, they walked back to Jerusalem. On seeing them Solomon was about to give orders for the intended tortures ; but, espying the villain's head in the hands of Joabert, he could not restrain his wrath, and ordered Stolkin to put him to death. This would have been instantly executed had not all the brethren thrown theanselves on their knees and begged him off, as the illustrious brethren of this chapter have done for you. From the historical circumstances related you may see what useful instruction can be drawn. First, by the traitor's death, you see that crimes never go unpunished; but that, sooner or later, they meet their deserts. Secondly, you may learn from Joabert's danger, how unsafe it is to exceed orders ; and that it is a necessary strictly to comply with the orders of your superiors. Thirdly, by the pardon procured for this zealous brother, you may learn, how easily the heart of a good king is influenced to be merciful. You also see how necessary it is to have friends who will interest themselves warmly for us on critical occadons. And now, my dear brother, we will put an end to this discourse by applauding your reception with eight and one.

Catechism

Q. Brother, are you a master elect?

A. I have been made acquainted with the cave.

Q. What have you seen in the cave?

A. A light, poniard, and a fountain, with the traitor Ehyroh.

Q. Of what use to you were these things?

A. The light to dispel the darkness of the place, the poniard to revenge the death of our respectable master Hirain Abif, and the fountain to quench my thirst.

Q. Where were you made a master elect?

A. In the hall of audience, in Solomon's palace.

Q. How many Intendants of the Building were there present at that time?

A. Nine, of which I was one.

Q. From what order or number of people were those chosen?

A. From upwards of ninety, mostly Intendants of the Building, and some masters.

Q. By what motives were you prompted to become master?

A. The desire of revenging the death of our respectable Master, Hiram Abif, by destroying his murderer, Ehyroh

Q. Where did you find the assassin?

A. At the bottom of a cave, situated at the foot of a burning bush, by the seaside near to Joppa.

Q. Who showed you the way?

A. An unknown person.

Q. What road did you pass through?

A. Through dark and almost inaccessible roads.

Q. What did you do when you came to the cave?

A. I laid hold of a dagger, there found, and, with it, struck the villain so forcibly on the head and the heart, that he immediately expired.

Q. Did he say anything before he expired?

A. lle only answered one word.

Q. What was it?

A. Necum, which signifies revenge.

Q. How was your election consummated?

A. By revenge, disobedience, clemency, and 8 and 1.

Q. Explain this.

A. By revenge, I destroy the traitor; by disobedience, I exceeded the orders given to me by the king ; by clemency through the intercession of my brethren, I obtained the king's pardon; and, lastly, by 8 and 1, as we were only nine chosen for the business.

Q. What did you do after killing the traitor?

A. I cut off his head, quenched my thirst at the spring, and, quite fatigued, laid myself down to sleep, where I remained until my companions entered the cave crying out revenge.

Q. How did Solomon receive you on presenting the head of the traitor to him?

A. With indignation, as he had proposed to himself much gratification in punishing the villain, and even doomed me to death; but on account of my zeal forgave me.

Q. What did the dark chamber represent, into which you were conducted before your reception

A. It is the representation of the cave where the traitor was found by me.

Q. How came you to be left there blindfolded?

A. To call to my mind the traitor's sleep, and how often we may think ourselves secure, after committing a crime, when we are in the most danger.

Q. How did the elect walk?

A. Darkness obliged them to put their hands before their heads, to prevent injury, by coming against an obstruction. And, as the road was bad and uneven, they were obliged to cross their legs, and, for that reason, we sit in that position in the chapter.

Q. What does the dog represent, which you see in the draft?

A. The unknown person, or good citizen, who conducted the elect.

Q. What does the naked arm with the dagger mean?

A. That revenge ever attends

Q. What does the black ribbon with the poniard signify?

A. The grief still subsisting for Hiram Abif, though his murderer was punished, as it was perpetrated by masons, and some of them yet unpunished.

Q. What emblems do you use to explain the number of nine elected ?

A. First nine red roses, at the bottom of our black order. Second, nine lights in the chapter. And third, nine strokes to gain admittance. These are the emblems of the nine elected, and red is the emblem of the blood that was spilt in the temple, and ordered to remain there, till revenge was completed

Q. How do you wear the black order in this chapter?

A. From the left shoulder to the right hip, with a poniard hung to the bottom of it.

Q. What colour is your apron?

A. A white skin - ordered and lined with black, spotted with red, and on the flap is painted a bloody arm holding a bloody dagger.

A. With what is this chapter hung ?

A. White; red and white mixed with flames ; white flames and red flames ; and red on the white. The one indicates the blood that was spilt, and the other, the ardour and purity of the elect.

Q. Why have you no more than one warden?

A. Because the chapter was always held in Solomon's palace, where there was no one but his favourite privy to what passed.

Q. What was there more to be done ?

A. Nothing, as everything is achieved, and Hiram Abif revenged.

Q. Give me the password.

A. It is done.

Q. Give me the grand word.

A. It is done

Q. Have you any other passwords?

A. There are two.

Q. Give them to me.

A. It is done.

Q. At what time did the nine elected set out on their journey to the cave?

A. Just at dark.

Q. When did they return?

A. At the break of day.

Q. How old are you?

A. 8 and 1 perfect.

Reception

My brother, I now designate and present to you the jewel of this degree. It is the avenging blade, which will be sure to find the perjured and guilty traitor.

I invest you with the other symbols of this degree. This apron and sash denote the melancholy death of our Grand Master Hiram Abif. The bloody arm and red roses, the instrument and the blood shed by the eight and one knights to atone for his death.

You will now go and salute the Grand Inspector, and then repair to the Grand Orator for the history of this degree.

Traditional History

G.: O.: After the death of the Grand Master, the assassins having made their escape, a great assembly of Masons was convened by King Solomon, to consult as to the best means of discovering and apprehending them. Their deliberations were interrupted by the entrance of a herdsman, who demanded to speak to the king. On being admitted to an interview, he acquainted King Solomon that he had discovered persons concealed in a cave near the coast of Joppa, answering the description given of the traitors; and he offered to conduct those whom the king should select to the place of their concealment.

This being communicated to the Masters, they one and all eagerly requested to be made participators in the vengeance due the assassins. Solomon checked their ardour, declaring that only nine should undertake the task; and to avoid giving any offence, ordered a selection of nine of the brethren by lot, to accompany the stranger. At the first hour of the night, the favourite of King Solomon and eight others, conducted by the stranger, travelled onward through a rough and dreary country toward the coast of Joppa. On the way, the most ardent of the nine, learning that the murderers were hidden in a cavern not far from where they then were, pressed on ahead, found the cavern, entered it with the shepherd, where, by the dim light of the lamp, he discovered one of the assassins asleep, with a dagger at his feet. Inflamed at the sight, and actuated by an impatient patient zeal, he immediately seized the dagger and stabbed him, first in the head and then in the heart. The assassin had only time to say " Necum" [pronounced nay-coom], or " vengeance is taken," and expired.

The avenger then quenched his thirst at the fountain. When the eight arrived at the spot, they asked him what he had done. He replied, " I have slain the assassin of our Grand Master, and have performed a feat for the honour and glory of the Craft, for which I. hope to be rewarded." He then severed the head from the body, and taking it in one hand and his dagger in the other, with the eight returned to Jerusalem.

In his zeal, however, he hastened into the presence of the king, passing the guards at the entrance. Solomon was at first very much offended that it had been put out of his power to take vengeance in the presence of, and as a warning to, the rest of the workmen, and ordered the guards to put his favourite to death but by the intercession of his brethren he was pardoned for his zeal, and they became reconciled. Solomon established the grade of Master Elect of Nine, and conferred it upon the nine companions.

Form of Closing the Chapter

Solomon makes the sign by putting his hand to his forehead and says : - My brethren, let us renew our obligation. (The brethren make the sign with their daggers, first striking the head and then the heart. Solomon strikes 8 and 1 : Stolkin does the same and the chapter is closed.)



Home Lectures of the Craft Lectures of the Holy Royal Arch Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite The Royal Order of Scotland York Rite Side Degrees English Knights Templar Order of Women Freemasons Walter Leslie Wilmshurst

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