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Freemasonry Watch




Order of Royal and Select Masters, Select Master Degree




g and compass




Officers of a Council of Select Masters:

1. Thrice Illustrious Master (T.I.M.)

2. Illustrious Deputy Master (D.M.)

3. Illustrious Principal Conductor of the Work (P.C.W.)

4. Chaplain

5. Treasurer

6. Recorder

7. Director of Ceremonies

8. Captain of the Guard

9. Conductor of the Council

10. Assistant Director of Ceremonies

11. Organist

12. Steward

13. Manciples (not more than four Manciples may be appointed)

14. Sentinel


The first three represent the Grand Masters Solomon, King of Israel; Hiram, King of Tyre and Hiram Abiff. They wear robes as in the Royal Arch, with the Collars of their respective offices over their robes. On the pedestals in front of them are placed three lighted candles in the form of a triangle with the apex to the east. There is also a large lighted candle at the right hand of each.

The Ark of the Covenant is veiled.

A sword must be provided for the Chaplain of the Guard.

The door is open, and unguarded, while Ahishar feigns sleep.

The candidate is instructed by the Conductor of the Council to enter the Council, without any alarm. Candidate enters with the Conductor of the Council following.


Form of opening a Council of Select Masters

T.I.M. gavels once: Companions, assist me to open the Council

All rise.

T.I.M.: Companion Captain of the Guard, ascertain that the Secret Vault is securely guarded.

C. of G.: Companion Steward, see that the Secret Vault is securely guarded.

Steward goes to door, opens it and sees that the Sentinel is present. He then closes the door.

Stwd.: Companion Captain of the Guard, the Secret Vault is securely guarded.

C. of G.: Thrice Illustrious Master, the Secret Vault is secure.

T.I.M.: Illustrious Companion of Tyre, shall we resume our labour in the Secret Vault?

D.M.: Thrice Illustrious King Solomon, it is my most ardent wish to see the Secret Vault completed, and the sacred treasures safely deposited therein, that I may return to my own country with the satisfaction of having faithfully discharged my duty to the Craft.

T.I.M.: Companion Captain of the Guard, is our number complete?

C. of G.: I find the number three times nine.

T.I.M.: Companion Captain of the Guard, are you a Select Master?

C. of G.: I have been chosen as such, and have wrought my regular hours.

T.I.M.: Then you will call the Companions to order as Select Masters.

All stand to order with the Sign of a Select Master

C. of G.: All are in order, Thrice Illustrious Master.

T.I.M.: Of how many is a Council of Select Masters composed?

C. of G.: There should not be less than nine, nor more than twenty-seven.

T.I.M.: Your duty?

C. of G.: To assist the Thrice Illustrious Master in opening and closing the Council, to see the Secret Vault securely guarded, and to pass none but the faithful, worthy and select.

T.I.M.: The situation of the Principal Conductor of the Work?

C. of G.: On the left of the Thrice Illustrious Master in the East.

T.I.M.: Illustrious Companion Principal Conductor of the Work, your duty?

P.C.W.: The represent our Grand Master Hiram Abiff, whose great skill in the arts and sciences caused him to be selected as the most suitable person to carry out the plans for the building of God's Holy Temple, also to proclaim the hour for refreshment and rest after the fatigues and labours of the day.

T.I.M.: The situation of the Deputy master?

P.C.W.: On your right, Thrice Illustrious Master.

T.I.M.: Illustrious Deputy Master, your duty?

D.M.: To represent Hiram, King of Tyre, exhibiting the fellowship of kings and to assist the Thrice Illustrious Master with counsel and advice.

T.I.M.: The situation of the Thrice Illustrious master?

D.M.: In the East, Thrice Illustrious Master.

T.I.M.: His duty?

D.M.: As a representative of Solomon, King of Israel, to recite the secret traditions, illustrate the morals of the order, dispense rewards, confer honours and endeavour to inspire the select with the most exalted ideas of the Supreme Grand Architect of the Universe.

T.I.M.: Companion Captain of the Guard, what is the hour?

C. of G.: Nine at night, the time when all prying eyes should be closed in sleep

T.I.M.: It being nine at night, it is time to resume our labours. The Companions will repair to their several stations and, after the regular alarm of the mysterious nine, each will resume his labours as he may be directed. Gavels once.

The Companions maintaining the sign of a Select Master and, within the exception of the Steward, assemble in a circle round the Ark of the Covenant, leaving an opening in the East.

Thrice Illustrious Master, Deputy Master and Principal Conductor of the Work leave their chairs and complete the circle.

Chaplain: May the Supreme Grand Master graciously preside over all our counsels, and directs us in such things as He may 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 the merciful, the seat of all moral virtue, and the home of the select.

Omnes: So mote it be.

The Thrice Illustrious Master returns to his station. All other Companions will remain at the Ark of the Covenant.

T.I.M.: Let the Ark of the Covenant be unveiled.

D.M. and P.C.W. take post respectively on the North and South sides of the Ark of the Covenant. D.C. advances to the West of the Ark of the Covenant. Together D.M. and P.C.W. remove the Veil from the Ark of the Covenant, fold the Veil and hand it to D.C. D.M. and P.C.W. return to their stations. D.C. disposes of Veil.

D.C.: Companions, resume your positions

All companions return to their stations

T.I.M.: In the name of God and King Solomon, I now declare this Council of Select Masters to be opened.

All Companions discharge sign of a Select Master.

T.I.M.: gavels *** *** ***, repeated by D.M., P.C.W. and C. of G.

Steward goes to door and knocks *** *** ***.

Sentinel responds *** *** ***.

C. of G. opens V.S.L. at 1 Kings, chap. 7, and adjusts the Square, Compasses and Trowel.

D.C.: Be seated, Companions.


Ceremony of Reception

The Conductor of the Council, in the ante room, informs the candidate that in this degree he represents Zabud (pronounced Zaybud), a particular friend of King Solomon; that he is to enter and, if challenged, to answer: "a zealous Brother desirous of participating in your labours".

Can. enters Council; C. of G. advances with drawn sword, which he points at breast of candidate: Who comes here?

Can., replying as instructed: A zealous Brother, desirous of participating in your labours.

C. of G.: Give me the sign and token of your entrance

Can.: I cannot.

C. of G.: An intruder, an intruder.

All rise.

T.I.M., gavels once: Companions, guard the Ark of the Covenant.

The Companions quickly form a circle round the Ark of the Covenant, facing outwards.

T.I.M.: What is the cause of this alarm?

C. of G.: An intruder has penetrated the Secret Vault.

T.I.M.: Put him to death immediately.

The C. of G. raises his sword to strike the death blow, when the Conductor of the Council intervenes and prevents the blow.

C. of C.: Thrice Illustrious Master, are you aware that he, upon whom you are about to inflict this awful penalty, is none other than your friend Zabud.

T.I.M.: Zabud! Companion Captain of the Guard, bind him fast and place him in security, and let him be forthcoming when called for, or your life shall answer for his escape. Companions, be seated.

The Companions return to their stations and sit. The C. of G. returns his sword, binds the hands of the Can. with chains, and leads him out of the Council. The C. of G. returns alone. The three Principals consult.

T.I.M.: Companion Captain of the Guard, bring in the prisoner.

C. of G. leaves the Council and returns with the Can. Door remains open.

T.I.M.: Unfortunate Zabud, your curiosity and disobedience have cost you your life. I have consulted with my Companions and find them inflexible, and such is the nature of my obligation that I am unable to pardon you without their consent. You must, therefore, prepare for death.

C. of C.: Thrice Illustrious Master, I pray you to remember my great and sincere attachment to your sacred person, your service and your secrets. Of late, finding a secret work going on with which I was not acquainted, I feared I had lost your favour, and grieved in silence. At length, unable to bear it longer, I humbly made known my fears, when you directed me to remain content, for a door would soon be left open for my reception. This assurance satisfied me. This evening, having important business to communicate, I sought you as usual in your private apartment and finding the door of the Secret Vault open, assumed that it had been left open for my reception and entered; but I pray you to believe that it was not curiosity or disobedience which led me hither, but fervency and zeal in your service.

Ahishar continues to feign sleep.

D.M.: I find your friend is not guilty of the crime alleged against him. His fault is owing to an imprudent remark of your own. He must therefore be pardoned, and admitted a member amongst us.

T.I.M.: My worthy Companion of Tyre, how can that be? Are not our numbers already full?

P.C.W.: 'Tis true, Thrice Illustrious Master, our numbers are already full, but Ahishar, the Steward, is no longer worthy of your confidence; he is sleeping at his post. Let him be dismissed and banished, and Zabud be appointed to the work.

T.I.M.: I thank my illustrious Companion for his advice. Let Ahishar be dismissed and banished.

C. of G. seizes Ahishar and arouses him: Ahishar, you are dismissed and banished for sleeping at your post. Come forth.

Ahishar, wildly: Mercy! Mercy!

C. of G.: There is none for such as thee. Leads Ahishar outside of Council. C. of G. re-enters Council, without any alarm, and closes door. He advances to the centre of the Council and salutes the Thrice Illustrious Master.

C. of G.: Thrice Illustrious Master, your command has been obeyed. C. of G. resumes his place alongside Can.

T.I.M.: Zabud, are you willing to take a solemn obligation never to reveal the secrets of the Secret Vault?

Can.: I do

T.I.M.: Then, Companion Captain of the Guard, free him from his shackles and conduct him to the pedestal.

C. of G. unshackles Can. and leads him for the pedestal. Conductor of the Council takes charge of Can.; C. of G. returns to his station in the West. Conductor of the Council instructs Can. to kneel on both knees and place hands on the three great lights and trowel. Conductor of the Council remains standing behind Can.

Thrice Illustrious Master gavels once.

All stand with hand on heart.

Thrice Illustrious Master leaves his chair and stands in front of pedestal, facing West.

T.I.M.: State your several names at length and say after me: I, …, in the presence of this illustrious Council of Select Masters, do hereby and hereon solemnly swear never to reveal any of the secrets of this Degree to anyone not entitled to receive them; and further, that I will not seek to penetrate into the ninth arch without the sanction of the three Grand Masters, nor reveal to anyone the existence of such a place as the Secret Vault. All this I swear to observe on my honour as a Mason. So help me God and keep me steadfast in this my solemn obligation of a Select master.

In testimony of your sincerity you will seal this with your lips once on the Volume of Sacred Law on which your hands are resting.

All drop hand on heart. Thrice Illustrious Master takes Can.'s right hand with his right hand and places his left hand on Can.'s left breast.

T.I.M.: Rise Zabud.

D.C.: Companions, be seated.

T.I.M. moves Can. slightly to the South, clear of the pedestal.

T.I.M.: The signs of a Select master are three in number and allude to the traditional penalties contained in the former obligation.

The first asserts that you would rather have your eyes torn from their sockets demonstrates and the second to have your hands chopped off demonstrates than unlawfully divulge any of the secrets belonging to this degree. This second sign should always be given when standing to order, addressing the Thrice Illustrious Master, and when entering or leaving the Council.

The third is the Grand Hailing Sign or Sign of Distress demonstrates, that you would have your body quartered and the fragments thrown over amongst the rubbish should you ever knowingly or wilfully violate the obligation of a Select Master.

The Signs, by which you may proceed to the arches and in which you deficient when first challenged by the Captain of the Guard, when you entered the Council are as follows:

When challenged 'Who comes here?', the reply is Giblem. The Guard then says 'advance and give the sign and token of entrance, to which the reply is the Sign of Secrecy (left hand on heart). Both then give the Sign of Silence (left hand over mouth) and Darkness (right hand over eyes). With these signs you are now enabled to proceed to the first eight arches.

This is the Grip of a Select Master demonstrates. Its name is Ish Sadi, which signifies 'man of my choice', or Select Master.

The second Sign, thus demonstrates, is the Sign to be given on entering or retiring from a Council of Select Masters, or when saluting the Thrice Illustrious Master. When standing to order, or when addressing the T.I.M., only the first part of the Sign is maintained.

Zabud, being obligated and entrusted, henceforth be blind and deaf to all you have seen and heard. You have now my permission to advance through the first eight Arches.

Thrice Illustrious Master returns to his chair.

Conductor of the Council conducts Can. through the first eight Arches. The steps should start at the North-West corner of the floor, and should finish to the North of the Covenant and about two paces to the West of it, that is just short of the ninth Arch.

1. Advance with Step and Sign of an Entered Apprentice. Can. complies. That is the First Arch.

2. Advance another Step and give the password leading from the First to the Second Degree. Can complies. That is the Second Arch

3. Advance with the Step and Sign of a Fellow Craft. Can. complies. That is the Third Arch.

4. Advance another Step and give the password leading from the Second to the Third Degree. Can. complies. That is the Fourth Arch

5. Advance with the Step and the full Signs of a Master Mason. Can. complies. That is the Fifth Step.

6. Advance another Step Can. complies and give the Sign of a Mark Master Mason. That is the Sixth Arch.

7. Advance another Step Can. complies and show the Hailing Sign of a Royal Arch Mason. That is the Seventh Arch

8. Advance another Step Can. complies and give the Hailing Sign of a Select Master C. of C. gives Sn.; Can. copies. That is the Eighth Arch.

At the entrance of the Ninth Arch the C. of C. gives *** *** *** on the floor with his right foot.

P.C.W.: Who comes here?

C. of C.: Zabud, the King's friend, having advanced through the first eight Arches, now desires to be admitted to the ninth Arch.

P.C.W.: Thrice Illustrious Master, your friend Zabud, now desires to be admitted to the ninth Arch.

T.I.M., after consulting with D.M. and P.C.W.: Let him be admitted.

C. of C. and Can. enter the ninth Arch by taking three paces forward towards the East; they then pause.

After a few seconds they advance to the East, and stand in front of the T.I.M.

T.I.M.: I will now instruct you in the history of this Degree.

The C. of C. conducts Can. to the South-East, where both stand facing North.

T.I.M.: Our three Grand Masters, Solomon, King of Israel, Hiram, King of Tyre and Hiram Abiff, being in possession of the writings of Moses and the Prophets, well knew that if the Children of Israel deviated from the laws therein contained, their enemies would be let loose upon them, their cities and Holy Temple sacked, ruined and destroyed and all the sacred treasures contained in the Sanctum Sanctorum would be for ever lost. In order to prevent this evil, they agreed to construct a Secret Vault underground, leading from King' Solomon's most retired apartment and ending under the Sanctum Sanctorum or Holy of Holies. This Secret Vault was divided into nine Arches or Crypts. The ninth Arch was constructed by our three Grand Masters as a place wherein to deposit true copies of all the holy vessels and sacred treasures contained in the Sanctum Sanctorum above, and also as a place wherein the three Grand Masters could meet and confer the Degree of Master Mason when the Temple had been completed.

There were employed to work on the other eight Arches, 22 men of Gebal a city in Phoenicia, together with Adoniram and Ahishar, all of whom were well skilled in the arts and sciences generally, but particularly in sculpture.

Their hours of labour were from 9 at night until 12, the time when all prying eyes were closed in sleep. During the construction of this vault the circumstances of Zabud's attempted entry occurred; and upon this is founded the Ceremony through which you have just been passed. When the ninth Arch had been completed, our three Grand Masters deposited therein an exact copy of the Ark of the Covenant, containing facsimiles of the pot of manna and Aaron's rod, also a true copy of the Book of the Law, or all writings of the Bible up to that period. And that it might be known by whom and for what purpose it was deposited, they placed on three sides of the Ark the initials of their names, and on the fourth, the date, meaning deposited in the year of light 3,000 by Solomon, King of Israel, Hiram, King of Tyre and Hiram Abiff, for the good of the Craft in general and of the Jewish nation in particular.

Companion, having attained this Degree, you have now passed the Circle of Perfection in ancient Masonry. Let it be your constant care to prove yourself worthy of the confidence reposed in you, and of the honour conferred in admitting you to this select Degree.

Let uprightness and integrity attend your steps, let justice and mercy mark your conduct; so strive to fulfil the important duties allotted to you, that after having wrought your regular hours, you may be admitted to participate in all the privileges of a Select Master.

C. of C. leads Can. in front of T.I.M.

T.I.M.: As you have been called upon for certain fees for the conferment of the various Degrees in this Order, it is right that you should know by what authority we act. This is our Warrant of Constitution from the Grand Council of Royal and Select masters which permits us to confer this Degree as well as those through which you will pass in due course.

These are the Constitutions of the Order hands them to Can. and these are the By-Laws of this Council hands them to Can. You should study both of them for in them you will discover the duties you owe to the Order in general and to this Council in particular.

The Can. should now be invested with the Jewel. The T.I.M. offers congratulations to the Can.

T.I.M.: You are now entitled to take your seat in a Council of Select Masters. C. of C. conducts Can. to suitable seat.


Form of Closing a Council of Select Masters

T.I.M. gavels once: Companions, I rise to enquire for the first time whether any Companion has aught to propose for the good of Cryptic Masonry in general or this Council of Select Masters in particular.

Companions, I rise to enquire for the second time…

Companions, I rise to enquire for the third to ninth time…

T.I.M. gavels once: Companions, assist me to close this Council.

All rise.

T.I.M.: Companion Captain of the Guard, you will ascertain that the Sentinel is at his post, and the Secret Vault is securely guarded.

C. of G.: Companion Steward, You will ascertain the the Secret Vault is securely guarded.

Steward goes to the door, opens it and sees that the Sentinel is present. He then closes the door.

Stwd.: Companion Captain of the Guard, the Secret Vault is securely guarded.

C. of G.: Thrice Illustrious Master, the Secret Vault is secure.

T.I.M.: To order, Companions, as Select Masters.

All Companions stand to order with the Sign of a Select Master.

T.I.M.: Companion Captain of the Guard, are you a Select Master?

C. of G.: I have been chosen as such, and have wrought my regular hours.

T.I.M.: What are the hours.

C. of G.: From nine at night till twelve, the time when all prying eyes should be closed in sleep.

T.I.M.: Whom do you represent?

C. of G.: One of those who, for their fidelity and skill, were selected to assist in building the Secret Vault.

T.I.M.: What is your name?

C. of G.: Giblem.

T.I.M.: What is your age?

C. of G.: Three times nine accomplished, or twenty seven.

T.I.M.: What are your implements?

C. of G.: The sword and the trowel

T.I.M.: How explained?

C. of G.: As the sword and trowel were used by our ancient Brethren for defence and protection and to cement and complete the Secret Vault, so should we, as Select Masters, devoutly guard the inestimable secrets of our venerable Order and unite and cement the Brotherhood.

T.I.M.: What is the hour?

C. of G.: Low twelve.

T.I.M.: What remains to be done?

C. of G.: To retire in peace, practice virtue and maintain silence.

Chap.: May the Most High have us in His Holy Keeping until we meet again in His Most Holy Name.

Omnes: So mote it be. All Companions discharge Sn. of Select Master.

T.I.M.: Let the Ark of the Covenant be re-veiled.

D.M. and P.C.W. move forward to the Ark of the Covenant, where D.M. takes post on North side and P.C.W. on South side. D.C. advances to the West of the Ark of the Covenant carrying the Veil, which he hands to P.C.W. Together D.M. and P.C.W. spread the Veil to cover the Ark of the Covenant. D.M., P.C.W. and D.C. return to their stations.

T.I.M.: Companions, this Council of Select Masters is closed. Gavels *** *** ***, repeated by D.M. and P.C.W.

C. of G. gavels *** *** ***, closes V.S.L. and replaces the Square, Compasses and Trowel.

Stwd. Goes to door and knocks *** *** ***.

Sentinel responds *** *** ***.

D.C.: Companions, you will remain standing while Thrice Illustrious Master, Deputy Master, Principal Conductor of the Work, and distinguished Companions retire from the Council.


Resource: Stichtingargus.nl









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