Ancient Illustrious Order Knights of Malta
Third Degree - Scarlet
Ceremony of Initiation
order of business having been disposed of, should there be candidates to
receive the Scarlet Degree, the Sir Knight Commander will say:
Sir Knight Warder, what is
the particular cause of our assembling here?
Sir Knight Commander, knightly association, the propagation of our Order, and
the advancement of such worthy Companions as are desirous thereof.
Knight Warder, ascertain if there be any such Companions in the preparation
room by raising the wicket and inquiring of the Sentinel.
having done so:
Sir Knight Commander, there are.
Knights Captain General, Senior and Junior Wardens, retire to the preparation
room, prepare and introduce the candidates.
officers then retire to the preparation room, and the candidates are prepared
as follows: They are divested of their outer clothing and invested with the
scarlet drawers; a scarlet ribbon is tied around the neck of each, and they
are blindfolded, in which condition they are conducted to the inner door. The
Captain General then leaves the candidates in charge of the Senior and Junior
wardens, re-enters the Council Chamber, an a announces as follows:
Sir Knight Commander, the candidates are duly prepared and ready to be
General then resumes his station and the Warder gives * * to signify that the
Commandery is prepared for the reception of the candidates. The Senior Warden
then gives * * which are answered by the same number by the warder, who opens
the door and says:
Who comes here to disturb the peace and harmony of this duly convoked Scarlet
Warden: True and
worthy Sir Knights, who desire to be advanced to the dignity of Companions of
the Scarlet Degree.
How do they expect to gain admission?
Warden: By the
benefit of a password.
Have they that password?
Warden: No, but I
have it for them.
Advance and give it.
gives the entrance password to Warder.
The pass is right. I will acquaint the Sir Knight Commander with their
will then close the door.
Sir Knight Commander, there are without true and worthy Sir Knights, who
desire to be advanced to the dignity of Companions of this degree.
recommendation have they?
The entrance password of this degree, which has been presented for them by the
Senior Warden of this Commandery.
vouched for by our Senior Warden, their claims are just. You have, therefore,
my command to permit the candidates to enter.
candidates are then admitted, and after they advance a few steps into the
room, stop, and the Prelate reads:
And Joshua the son of Nun
sent out of Shittim two men to spy secretly, saying, Go view the land, even
Jericho. And they went, and came into a harlot’s house, named Rahab, and
striking each candidate upon the left shoulder with his right hand:
Go view the land, even Jericho.
candidates are then travelled twice around the room, and are seated at the
foot of the eminence; the Prelate reads:
And it was told the king of Jericho, saying, Behold, there came men in hither
to-night of the children of Israel to search out the country. And the king of
Jericho sent unto Rahab.
will now make a loud noise by slamming the inner door two or three times
quickly. The Captain General, who represents Rahab the harlot, places his
right hand upon the left shoulder of each candidate successively, and says:
Get ye up to the
housetop, lest they who seek after your lives shall find you.
candidates are then taken to the housetop, and laid down, directly underneath
the scarlet cord which is suspended from the ceiling, and covered with the
stalks of flax, or pieces of scarlet cloth when all is quiet the Prelate
reads: But she
had brought them up to the roof of the house, and hid them with the stalks of
flax, which she had laid in order upon the roof.
General, taking each of the candidates by his right hand:
I know that the Lord hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen
upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you. Now,
therefore, I pray you, swear unto me by the Lord, since I have shewed you
kindness, that ye will also shew kindness unto my father’s house, and give me
a true token. And that ye will save alive my father, and my mother, and my
brethren, and my sisters, and all that they have, and deliver our lives from
prompted by the Senior Warden:
Our lives for yours, if ye utter not this our business.
lives for yours, if ye utter not this our business.
Warden, for the candidates:
And it shall be, when the Lord hath given us the land, that we will deal
kindly and truly with thee.
will again make a loud noise by slamming the inner door. The Captain General
then goes to the door, and, opening it, inquires in a loud voice:
Who comes here? Who comes here? Who comes here?
forth the men that are come to thee, which are entered into thine house; for
they be come to search out all the country.
came men unto me, but I wist not whence they were; and it came to pass about
the time of shutting of the gate, when it was dark, that the men went out.
Whither the men went, I wot not; pursue after them quickly; for ye shall
candidates are then assisted to let themselves down from the housetop by means
of the scarlet cord, the Prelate reading:
Then she let them down by a
cord through the window; for her house was upon the town wall, and she dwelt
upon the wall.
General, placing his right hand upon the left shoulder of each candidate:
Get you to the mountain, lest the pursuers meet you; and hide yourselves there
three days, until the pursuers be returned; and afterward may ye go your way.
Senior Warden, representing
the candidates: We will be blameless of this thine oath which thou hast made
us swear. Behold, when we come into the land, thou shalt bind this line of
scarlet thread in the window which thou didst let us down by; and if thou
utter this our business, then we will be quit of thine oath which thou hast
made us to swear.
According unto your words, so be it.
silence the candidates are then led before the lantern scene of ‘the escape,’
and the hoodwinks removed for a moment, after which the hoodwinks are
replaced, and the candidates travel three times (rapidly) around the room, the
And they went, and came unto the mountain, and abode there three days, until
the pursuers were returned; and the pursuers sought them throughout all the
way, but found them not.
Prelate concludes the reading, the candidates are again taken to the housetop
as before. Seven Companions, each having a trumpet of ram’s horn, will quietly
take positions at one side of the housetop, forming in single file, and four
Companions, carrying the ARK, will take positions in rear of the first seven.
The two guards, with drawn swords, will take positions at the head of the
column. All other Companions will then fall in by twos in rear of ark. When
all is in readiness the Prelate reads as follows:
And it came to pass, when
Joshua had spoken unto the people, that the seven priests bearing the seven
trumpets of rams’ horns passed on before the Lord, and blew with the trumpets.
And the armed men went before the priests that blew with the trumpets, and the
rearward came after the ark, the priests going on, and blowing with the
trumpets. And Joshua had commanded the people, saying, Ye shall not shout, nor
make any noise with your voice, neither shall any word proceed out of your
mouth, until the day I bid you shout; then shall ye shout. So the ark of the
Lord compassed the city, going about it once.
will then raise his hand as a signal, and the column will quietly travel once
around the eminence, blowing their trumpets. As the Prelate drops his hand,
the column will stop marching and cease blowing. The Prelate will then
continue reading, as follows:
And when they had compassed
the city, they came into the camp and lodged there. And Joshua rose early in
the morning, and the priests took up the ark of the Lord. And seven priests
bearing seven trumpets of rams horns before the ark of the Lord went on
continually, and blew with the trumpets; and the armed men went before them;
but the rearward came after the ark of the Lord, the priests going on, and
blowing with the trumpets. And the second day they compassed the city once,
and returned into the camp. So they did six days.
then raises his hand, when the column will march around the eminence on which
the candidates lie, blowing their trumpets. After the Companions have marched
five times around, the Prelate will drop his hand as a signal, when they
instantly stop. The Prelate then reads as follows:
And it came to pass on the seventh day, that they rose early, about the
dawning of the day, and compassed the city after the same manner seven times;
only on that day they compassed the city seven times. And it came to pass at
the seventh time, when the priests blew with the trumpets, Joshua said unto
the people, SHOUT for the Lord hath given you the city. And the city shall be
accursed, even it, and all that are therein, to the Lord; only Rahab the
harlot shall live, she and all that are with her in the house, because she hid
the messengers that we sent. So the people shouted when the priests blew with
the trumpets; and it came to pass, when the people heard the sound of the
trumpets, and the people shouted with a great shout -
will then raise his hand as a signal, when the column will resume its march
around the eminence on which the candidates lie, blowing their trumpets as
before. At the completion of the seventh round, the Prelate will clap his
hands as a signal, when they will give a long blast with the trumpets, all
Companions in the room will give a great shout, and the proper officers will
cause the eminence to fall to the floor, care being taken that the candidates
are not injured in so doing. As soon is the eminence falls, the blowing of
trumpets will instantly cease, and the following ode be sung:
and Mary just came along)
The priests and soldiers march around,
The priests and soldiers march around,
The priests and soldiers
The walls of Jericho.
But see the walls are on the ground,
But see the walls are on the ground,
But see the walls are on the
Because the trumpets blow.
After the ode
has been sung the Prelate will read as follows:
The wall fell down flat, so
that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they
took the city. And they burnt the city with fire, and all that was therein;
only the silver and the gold, and the vessels of brass and of iron, they put
into the treasury of the house of the Lord. And Joshua saved Rahab the harlot
alive, and her father’s household, and all that she had; because she hid the
messengers which Joshua sent to spy out Jericho.
As soon as
the Prelate concludes the lesson, the candidates are raised to their feet by
the Senior and Junior wardens, and conducted to the altar, where, kneeling on
both knees, they place both hands upon the Holy Bible and crossed swords,
Commander, * * *:
Advance the sign.
Companions then rise and advance the hailing sign of the Scarlet Degree, when
the Sir Knight Commander will administer the following:
your name, Knight, do solemnly and
sincerely vow and swear, that I will forever conceal and never reveal any of
the secrets of the Scarlet Degree which I have received, am about to receive,
or may hereafter be instructed in, to any person who is not justly entitled to
receive the same. I will not confer this degree, nor be present when it is
being conferred, except it be in a lawfully convoked Commandery of Knights of
Malta, working under a regularly constituted warrant; nor except there be
present at least a quorum of this degree; unless authorized so to do by
dispensation from the Supreme Grand Commander or the Grand Commander having
immediate jurisdiction; nor unless such candidate shall have paid the required
fee. And as Rahab hid the two faithful spies of the Lord from their enemies,
so will I with secrecy cover up the indiscretions of an erring Companion, and
aid him to escape to the mountain. So help me God and keep me steadfast in
this my solemn vow.
the Holy Bible.
should now be as dark as possible, with two lights on the altar turned very
low, and the lantern scene of ‘The Falling of the walls’ arranged to be shown
in such a place that the candidates can see it from their position at the
altar. The lights and lantern should be made ready before the obligation is
given. The Sir Knight Commander, being satisfied that all is in readiness,
will say to the candidates:
In your present position what are you most in need of?
prompted by Senior Warden:
And God said, Let there be light, and there was light.
instant that the Prelate says “Light” the Senior warden will remove the
hoodwinks from the candidates’ eyes and allow them to view the scene of ‘The
Falling of the walls’ for a few moments, while the Prelate says:
Companions, the scene before you represents the falling of the walls of
Jericho. Joshua was a chosen prophet of the Lord. By faith in God he directed
his army to simply march around the wall of that great city, find by the
blowing of trumpets and a great shout, caused the strong wall to fall flat
upon the ground. The lesson is one of great importance to us, and should
incite us to put our trust in the Lord of Hosts, and to rely on His promises.
scene will now be removed or darkened, and the two lights on the altar made
very bright, when the Sir Knight Commander, addressing the candidates, will
say: How many
lights do you see before you?
two lights represent the two faithful spies of the Lord whom Rahab the harlot
concealed. In your travels through the ceremonies of this degree you have
acted the part of the faithful spies.
Knight Commander will then take the candidates each in turn by the right hand,
and, giving him the grip of the Scarlet Degree, saying:
Arise Sir Knight Companion
... of the Scarlet Degree. *
Commander: I will
now instruct you in the grip, signs, raps and passwords belonging to this
Knight Commander will then instruct the candidates in the grip, signs, raps,
and passwords of the Scarlet Degree, and the Senior and Junior wardens will
Why do you wear that
That scarlet ribbon.
As a true sign or token of the Scarlet degree.
I perceive by this that you are a Scarlet Companion yourself?
I am always taken and accepted as such by all duly and regularly initiated
companions of that degree.
How were you prepared for that degree?
I was duly prepared by being divested of my outer garments, invested with
another raiment, blindfolded, and led to the door of the Commandery.
Where were you from?
And whither were you going?
To spy what?
To spy out secretly the whole land, even unto that great city Jericho.
How did you expect to get there?
By the benefit of a password.
Have you that password?
Will you give it to me?
I will if you begin.
R... Why do you take R... for your password?
Because she concealed the two spies.
Where did she conceal them?
In her house.
Where was it situated?
Neither in the town nor out of it.
That must have been a curious place! Where was it ?
Upon the town wall.
How did she conceal them?
With stalks of unprepared flax.
How were they laid?
How in order?
One upon two.
On the roof.
Was there any covenant made between R... and those two spies?
Have you the central password of a Scarlet Companion
B... How did those spies escape?
Hand under hand, by means of a scarlet cord let down through the window.
Where are they now?
How long do they intend to remain there?
Three days, or until their pursuers shall have returned from following after
How was that great city of Jericho taken?
Six days we encompassed the city round about, once each day, and on the
seventh day seven times, with seven priests of the Lord bearing seven trumpets
of rams’ horns before the ark of the Lord. And at ‘the seventh time the
priests blew with the trumpets, the people gave a great shout, the wall of the
city fell down flat, every man went straight before him, and they took the
Have you a number?
What is your number?
The two spies.
What two spies?
The two faithful spies of the Lord.
Commander will then give the following
Charge to the Candidates
Companions, you have now been advanced to the third degree of this Ancient and
illustrious Order. You have seen how Joshua, relying on God’s promises, having
faith in their fulfilment, followed the directions of the Great Commander in
heaven, and how success crowned his exertions and perseverance, and Jericho
yielded to his victorious arms. How close is the affinity between Joshua, as
the leader of the hosts of Israel across the river Jordan into the promised
land, and Christ, the head of the Christian Church. Joshua led his People into
the land of promise; but Christ leads His people through the wilderness of
this life, across the Jordan of Death, into the Christian’s land of promise,
eternal in the heavens. By faith the followers of Joshua raised the appointed
shout, and the army of Israel entered the fated city; but what a mighty army
is the Church of Christ, and how formidable under His management as the
Captain of their salvation! Believers live in the hope of that day when they
shall raise the triumphant shout of victory over all the enemies of the
Christian Church. What a scene of animation shall the righteous present on the
banks of the Jordan of death, when, relying on God’s covenant, being clad in
the whole armor of God, having on the breastplate of righteousness and the
shield of faith, at the sound of the Gospel trumpet, marshaled by the Son of
God, they enter the abodes of the blest; and what a shout of triumph shall
then be uttered when, their spiritual warfare being accomplished, they pass
the pearly gates of heaven! Let us, therefore, each be faithful unto death,
that we may join in that great and glorious shout of the redeemed and receive
a crown of eternal life.
The Commandery will now be at ease a few moments for congratulations.