Ancient Illustrious Order Knights of Malta
Third Degree - Scarlet


Ceremony of Initiation
 
The previous 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?
Warder: Sir Knight Commander, knightly association, the propagation of our Order, and the advancement of such worthy Companions as are desirous thereof.
Sir Knight Commander: Sir Knight Warder, ascertain if there be any such Companions in the preparation room by raising the wicket and inquiring of the Sentinel.
Warder, having done so:
Sir Knight Commander, there are.
Sir Knight Commander: Sir Knights Captain General, Senior and Junior Wardens, retire to the preparation room, prepare and introduce the candidates.
These 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 received.
The Captain 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 Commandery?
Senior Warden: True and worthy Sir Knights, who desire to be advanced to the dignity of Companions of the Scarlet Degree.
Warder: How do they expect to gain admission?
Senior Warden: By the benefit of a password.
Warder: Have they that password?
Senior Warden: No, but I have it for them.
Warder: Advance and give it.
Senior Warden gives the entrance password to Warder.
Warder: The pass is right. I will acquaint the Sir Knight Commander with their request.
The Warder will then close the door.
Warder: Sir Knight Commander, there are without true and worthy Sir Knights, who desire to be advanced to the dignity of Companions of this degree.
Sir Knight Commander: What recommendation have they?
Warder: The entrance password of this degree, which has been presented for them by the Senior Warden of this Commandery.
Sir Knight Commander: Being vouched for by our Senior Warden, their claims are just. You have, therefore, my command to permit the candidates to enter.
The 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 lodged there.
Warder, striking each candidate upon the left shoulder with his right hand: Go view the land, even Jericho.
The 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.
The Sentinel 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.
The 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.
Captain 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 death.
Candidates, prompted by the Senior Warden: Our lives for yours, if ye utter not this our business.
Response by Companions: Our lives for yours, if ye utter not this our business.
Senior 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.
The Sentinel 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?
Sentinel, roughly: Bring forth the men that are come to thee, which are entered into thine house; for they be come to search out all the country.
Captain General: There 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 overtake them.
The 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.
Captain 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.
Captain General: According unto your words, so be it.
Amid perfect 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 Prelate reading: 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.
As the 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.
The Prelate 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.
The Prelate 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 -
The Prelate 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:
(AIR: Martha and Mary just came along)
The priests and soldiers march around,
The priests and soldiers march around,
The priests and soldiers march around,
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 ground,
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, palms down.
Sir Knight Commander, * * *: Advance the sign.
All Companions then rise and advance the hailing sign of the Scarlet Degree, when the Sir Knight Commander will administer the following:
 
 
Obligation
 
I, 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.
Sir Knight Commander: Kiss the Holy Bible.
The room 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?
Candidates, prompted by Senior Warden: Light.
Prelate: And God said, Let there be light, and there was light.
At the 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.
The lantern 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?
Candidates, prompted: Two.
Sir Knight Commander: These 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.
The Sir 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. *
Sir Knight Commander: I will now instruct you in the grip, signs, raps and passwords belonging to this degree.
The Sir 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 deliver the
 
 
Lecture
 
S.W.: Why do you wear that ribbon?
J.W.: What ribbon?
S.W.: That scarlet ribbon.
J.W.: As a true sign or token of the Scarlet degree.
S.W.: I perceive by this that you are a Scarlet Companion yourself?
J.W.: I am always taken and accepted as such by all duly and regularly initiated companions of that degree.
S.W.: How were you prepared for that degree?
J.W.: I was duly prepared by being divested of my outer garments, invested with another raiment, blindfolded, and led to the door of the Commandery.
S.W.: Where were you from?
J.W.: Shittim.
S.W.: And whither were you going?
J.W.: To spy.
S.W.: To spy what?
J.W.: To spy out secretly the whole land, even unto that great city Jericho.
S.W.: How did you expect to get there?
J.W.: By the benefit of a password.
S.W.: Have you that password?
J.W.: I have.
S.W.: Will you give it to me?
J.W.: I will if you begin.
S.W.: R...
J.W.: H...
S.W.: R...  Why do you take R... for your password?
J.W.: Because she concealed the two spies.
S.W.: Where did she conceal them?
J.W.: In her house.
S.W.: Where was it situated?
J.W.: Neither in the town nor out of it.
S.W.: That must have been a curious place! Where was it ?
J.W.: Upon the town wall.
S.W.: How did she conceal them?
J.W.: With stalks of unprepared flax.
S.W.: How were they laid?
J.W.: In order.
S.W.: How in order?
J.W.: One upon two.
S.W.: Where?
J.W.: On the roof.
S.W.: Was there any covenant made between R... and those two spies?
J.W.: Have you the central password of a Scarlet Companion
S.W.: O...
J.W.:
L...
S.W.: F...
J.W.: Y...
S.W.: I...
J.W.: Y...
S.W.: U...
J.W.: N...
S.W.: T...
J.W.: O...
S.W.: B... How did those spies escape?
J. W.: Hand under hand, by means of a scarlet cord let down through the window.
S.W.: Where are they now?
J.W.: Away.
S.W.: Where to?
J.W.: The mountain.
S.W.: How long do they intend to remain there?
J.W.: Three days, or until their pursuers shall have returned from following after them.
S.W.: How was that great city of Jericho taken?
J.W.: 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 city.
S.W.: Have you a number?
J.W.: I have.
S.W.: What is your number?
J.W.: Two.
S.W.: What two?
J.W.: The two spies.
S.W.: What two spies?
J.W.: The two faithful spies of the Lord.
Sir Knight Commander will then give the following

 
 
Charge to the Candidates
 
Sir Knight Commander: 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.

 

 

         

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