Ancient Illustrious Order Knights of Malta
Fourth Degree - Mark
Ceremony of Initiation
order of business having been disposed of, should there be one or more
candidates to receive the Mark 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 in the preparation room, by
raising the wicket and inquiring of the Sentinel.
having done so:
Sir Knight Commander, there are.
Knights Generalissimo, Captain General and Prelate, provide yourselves with
the necessary working tools, and take your respective positions as Master
Builders. The Senior and Junior Wardens and twelve workmen will retire and
proceed with their duties.
Generalissimo acts as First Master Builder, the Captain General as Second
Master Builder, and the Prelate as Third Master Builder, and take positions as
follows: The First Master Builder, near the door of the preparation room;
Second Master Builder, about half way from the door to the p lace where the
arch is to be erected, and the Third Master Builder at the on a the arch. In
front of each Master Builder must be placed a small pedestal or stand. On the
pedestal of the First Master Builder shall be placed a small plumb, on that of
the Second a level, and on that of the Third a small square. The Master
Builders then await the entrance of the Wardens and workmen with the
candidate. The Senior and Junior wardens, and twelve Companions, called
workmen, retire to the preparation room, where there have been placed twelve
stones or blocks and a keystone of proper form and size. The candidate is then
admitted to the preparation room. Each of the twelve workmen takes one of the
stones in his left band and lays it upon his right shoulder, and the keystone
is given to the candidate, who carries it in the same manner as the workmen
carry the other stones. The workmen then form in single file, with the
candidate in the rear, blindfolded, led by the Senior Warden. When all is in
readiness the Sentinel gives **** **** **** loud raps upon the door of the
Sir Knight Commander, there is an alarm from the Sentinel.
Ascertain the cause.
then raises the wicket, and seeing that all is in readiness answers:
Sir Knight Commander,
the workmen with material for the arch desire admittance.
opening the door:
It is the order of the Sir Knight Commander that the workmen be admitted, and
that they submit their work for inspection.
The twelve workmen, and the Senior and Junior
Wardens with the candidate, then enter the Council Chamber in single file, and
each of the workmen in turn presents his stone to the three Master Builders,
who test it with their instruments as follows - The first workman presents his
stone to the First Master Builder, who, taking it, applies his plumb to all
sides and corners of the same, and as he returns it says:
then steps along and presents his stone to the Second Master Builder, who
applies his level to the sides and edges of the stone and as he returns it
then steps along and presents his stone to the Third Master Builder, who
applies his square to all corners of the same, and throws it on the floor at
the foot of the arch, at the same time saying:
The workman then takes a seat. Each of the other
eleven workmen follows in order, and presents a stone in the same mariner to
each of the Master Builders, who apply their instruments and make the same
replies as before, the Third Master Builder retaining the stones, and throwing
them at the foot of the arch. As the workmen are relieved of their stones they
pass on and take their seats, together if possible. The candidate, conducted
by the Senior Warden, presents his keystone to the First Master Builder, who
applies his plumb to its sides and corners, and returns it to the candidate,
stone is not plumb.
then steps along and presents his keystone to the Second Master Builder, who
applies his level to its sides and edges, and returns it to the candidate,
stone is not level.
then steps along to the pedestal of the Third Master Builder and presents his
keystone. The Third Master Builder carefully applies his square to all corners
and angles of the keystone and throws it upon the floor, away from the other
stones, saying as he does so:
stone has been tried and is found wanting. It is neither plumb nor level nor
square, and is unfit for use; I, therefore, reject it and cast it out among
General should see that this keystone, or one exactly like it, is placed in
the preparation room, along with several pieces or blocks, hoards, stones or
anything to represent rubbish, at the proper time.
Knights Captain General, Senior and Junior Wardens, retire with the candidate
and proceed with your respective duties.
officers then retire to the preparation room with the candidate remove the
blindfold, and prepare him as follows: He is divested of his outer garments,
invested with a pair of blue overalls, rolled up so that the left knee is
bare; he is presented with a trowel, which is put in a waist-belt around his
body he is again blindfolded, and in this condition is led to the door of the
Council Chamber. The Captain General then leaves the candidate in charge of
the Senior and Junior Wardens, and re-enters the Council Chamber, where he
announces as follows:
Knight Commander, the candidate is duly prepared, and ready to be received.
then raises the wicket, and informs the Senior Warden that all is in
readiness. The Senior Warden then gives **** **** **** raps, which are
answered by the same number from within by the Warder, who opens the door and
says: Who comes
here to disturb the peace and harmony of this duly convoked Mark Commandery?
Warden: A true
and worthy Sir Knight who, having received the first three degrees of our
Order, now desires to be advanced to the dignity of a Companion of the Mark
How does he expect to gain admission?
Warden: By the
benefit of a password.
Has he that password?
Warden: No, but I
have it for him.
Advance and give it.
gives the entrance password to the Warder.
The pass is right. I will acquaint the Sir Knight Commander with his request.
wilt then close the door.
Sir Knight Commander, there is without a true and worthy Sir Knight who,
having received the first three degrees of our Order, now desires to be
advanced to the dignity of a Companion of the Mark Degree.
recommendation has he?
The entrance password of this degree, which has been presented for him by the
Senior Warden of this Commandery.
vouched for by our Senior Warden, his claim is just. You have therefore my
command to permit the candidate to enter.
is then admitted to the Council Chamber, and conducted slowly six times around
the room by the Senior Warden, the Prelate reading:
And unto Eber were born two sons; the name of one was Peleg; for in his days
was the earth divided; and his brother’s name was Joktan.
And the whole earth was of
one language and of one speech.
And it came to pass, as they
journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and
they dwelt there.
And they said one to
another, Go to, let us make up brick, and burn them thoroughly. And they had
brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar.
And they said, Go to, let us
build a city and a tower whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a
name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.
And the Lord came down to
see the city and the tower which the children of men builded.
And the Lord said, Behold,
the people are one, and they have all one language; and this they began to do;
and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.
Go to, let us go down, and
there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s
So the Lord scattered them
abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth; and they left off to build
Therefore is the name of it
called Babel; because the Lord did there confound the language of all the
earth; and from thence did the Lord scatter them abroad upon the face of all
and the Senior Warden should so lime and arrange the reading and walking that
the candidate shall have passed six times around the room when the Prelate
concludes his reading, and as the candidate passes the Generalissimo the sixth
time, the Generalissimo stops him by placing his hand upon his shoulder, and
accosts him thus:
Where are you from?
And whither are you going.
assist in building the temple.
Why do you leave the tower and travel to the temple?
the tower was confounded but the temple is to be dedicated.
How do you expect to get there?
prompted: By the
benefit of a password.
Will you give me that password?
will if you begin.
will then divide the entrance password with the Generalissimo, being prompted
by the Senior Warden.
is well, but before you can travel further on your journey to Jerusalem you
must receive the wages due to your participation in so unholy a work as the
erection of the tower.
then places both his arms around the neck of the Senior Warden from behind,
and the Senior Warden leans forward, thus raising the candidate off his feet,
and on to the back of the Senior Warden. The lower part of the candidate’s
back is then made bare, and he receives twelve stripes, applied with a thong
or strap by the Generalissimo, which shall he numbered by the candidate in a
loud voice as received. The Generalissimo will then address the candidate,
saying: You now
have my permission to proceed.
will then be conducted slowly once around the room, the Prelate reading:
began to build the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, on Mount Moriah, where the
Lord appeared unto David his father, in the place that David had prepared in
the threshing-floor of Oman the Jebusite.
is then conducted to the foot of the arch and directed to kneel on his left
knee, which is bare, and the Prelate will continue his reading as follows:
builders and Hiram’s builders did hew them, and the stone squarers, so they
prepared timber and stones to build the house; and the house when it was in
building was built of stone made ready before it was brought thither, so that
there was neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron heard while it was in
is now instructed by the Senior Warden to take up in his left hand one of the
twelve stones lying there, and place it upon his right shoulder. Kneel on his
left knee his right extended with his right hand laid thereon. Assisted by the
Senior Warden he travels once around the arch and places the stone upon the
lower left-hand corner of the arch. He then takes another stone and, traveling
around the arch as before places it upon the lower right-hand corner of the
arch. In like manner are all of the twelve stones placed on the left and right
sides alternately, making six on each side, thus placing a stone on each of
the twelve spaces. The arch is thus completed with the exception of the
keystone, for which space there is no stone. The candidate is then assisted to
rise, and the Senior Warden, addressing the Sir Knight Commander, says:
Sir Knight Commander, it
is impossible to complete the arch, as an important stone is missing.
is indeed a serious matter. What is the nature of the missing stone?
Knight Commander, the stone required is a keystone to place in the top of the
Knight First Master Builder, have you seen a keystone calculated to fill the
vacancy in this arch.
Knight Commander, such a stone was submitted to me for inspection by one of
the workmen, but as it was not plumb I rejected it.
Knight Second Master Builder, have you seen a keystone of this description,
designed to fit the vacant place in this arch?
Knight Commander, such a stone was also submitted to me for inspection, but I
too rejected it, as it was not level.
Knight Third Master Builder, was there a keystone of this description
submitted for your examination?
Knight Commander, such a stone was submitted to me by one of the workmen, but
after a careful inspection I found that the stone was neither plumb nor level
nor square, and I, therefore, rejected it as unfit for use, and cast it out
among the rubbish.
stone which you thus rejected was the most important of all. Sir Knights
Master Builders and Senior Warden, retire with the candidate, and search among
the rubbish for the missing stone.
Master Builders, Senior Warden and candidate then retire to the preparation
room, where the blindfold is removed from the candidate, and he discovers the
lost keystone among the rubbish. He is directed to take the keystone in his
left hand, and place it upon his right shoulder. He is again blindfolded and
conducted into the Council Chamber by the Senior Warden, and led to the arch.
The three Master Builders also return, to the Council Chamber, and quietly
take their seats. The Senior Warden then addresses the Sir Knight Commander as
Knight Commander, the stone we sought is found.
Commander: Let it
be placed in position.
Warden then assists the candidate to place the keystone in its proper position
at the top of the arch, the organist at the same time playing soft, low music.
After the keystone is in position, the candidate kneels, while the Prelate
reads: Did ye
never read in the Scriptures, the stone which the builders rejected, the same
is become the head of the corner? This is the stone which was set at naught of
you builders, which is become the head of the corner.
will now rise to his feet, and the following ode will be sung:
Through Another Week’
This shall be the sacred mark
Which shall guide us to the
Bearing, like the Holy Ark,
All the hearts who love to
This shall be the
Which the builders threw
But was found the only one
Fitted for the arch’s stay.
singing of the ode, the candidate will he conducted slowly around the room,
the Prelate reading:
Walk about Zion and go round
about her; tell the towers thereof; mark ye well her bulwarks. Consider her
palaces, that ye may tell it to the generations following; for this God is our
God forever and ever; He will be our guide even unto death.
Prelate concludes his reading the candidate will he conducted before a lantern
slide of the Pillar of Wisdom, and the blindfold will he removed for a moment,
while the Senior Warden says:
This is the Pillar of Wisdom. It is also emblematic of Faith. This faith
consists of full belief in the existence of the Eternal Jehovah or mystical
Three in One, and entire reliance upon Christ the Son of God as the only
Mediator. This wisdom is more precious than rubies, and all the things that
can be desired are not to be compared to it.
is again put on, and while the organist plays soft and low music, the
candidate is conducted slowly once around the room to a lantern slide of the
Pillar of Strength, when the blindfold is again removed for a moment, while
the Senior Warden says:
Companion, behold! This is
the Pillar of Strength, and is emblematic of Hope, which is the offspring of
faith in the heart, and is a strong support of the soul in the hour of
adversity. It also represents to us, as Marksmen, the anticipation we possess
of the ultimate triumph of the Christian faith.
is again put on arid the candidate conducted slowly once around the room, low
music being played as before, and is brought before a lantern slide of the
Pillar of Beauty. The blindfold is again removed for a moment, while the
Senior Warden says:
Companion, behold! This is
the Pillar of Beauty. It is also emblematic of Truth, which is the most
beautiful of all virtues, being, like the God of Truth, immutable and eternal.
It, moreover, teaches us to be truthful to the whole family of man, but more
especially to Companions of the Mark Degree.
ode will then be sung:
Country ‘Tis of Thee’
Spirit of truth and love,
Descending from above,
Our hearts inflame,
Till under our control
Be built, in one the whole,
A temple of the soul
To Thy great name.
is again put on the candidate and he is conducted slowly to the foot of the
arch, where the Senior Warden instructs him in the mystic steps, addressing
him as follows:
Companion, take one step with your right foot and bring your left foot up even
with the right. This is the first step on entering the Grand Mystic Temple,
and symbolizes Faith. By faith we, believe.
Companion, take another step with your right foot and bring your left foot up
even with the right. This is the second step, and symbolizes Hope. By hope we
Companion, take still another step with your right foot and bring your left
foot up even with the right. This is the third and last step, and symbolizes
Truth. Upon this foundation of truth is erected our mystic temple of the soul,
which, like that built by King Solomon, should be the dwelling of the Eternal
Commander: * * *.
Companions now rise and advance the hailing sign of the Mark Degree.
Companion, you are now standing in a place representing the porch of King
Solomon’s Temple, looking inward through the middle court into the Sanctum
Sanctorum, or Holy of Holies. If you are willing to take the solemn obligation
of a Marksman, repeat your name in full, and say after rue:
Knight, do solemnly and sincerely vow and swear that I will always conceal and
never reveal any of the signs, words or tokens, or the secret mysteries of the
Mark Degree, to any person who is not entitled to receive the same. I also
gladly reaffirm, in the presence of these my fellow Marksmen, my faith in the
eternal Jehovah as the Great Architect of the Universe, and in Jesus Christ as
the chief corner-stone of my faith. And as I now stand, emblematically, in the
porch of King Solomon’s Temple, looking inward through the middle court into
the Sanctum Sanctorum, I am resolved, as an humble builder, to ever strive to
make my soul the dwelling place of the Eternal Jehovah. May I ever have the
blessing of the Most High in fulfilling this my solemn obligation as a
the Holy Bible.
Companions now form a circle and kneel around the arch and the candidate. The
Captain General should see that gum camphor is placed in position, and as the
Prelate reads the words “The fire came down from heaven,” etc., he will set
the camphor on fire. As the prelate reads the words “They bowed themselves
with their faces to the ground,’ etc., all the Companions will how their faces
to the floor, and repeat after the Prelate three times the words “For He is
Now when Solomon
had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven,
fire is now applied to the
and consumed the burnt offering, and the glory of the Lord filled the house.
And when all the children of
Israel saw how the fire came down, and the glory of the Lord upon the house,
they bowed themselves with their faces to the ground
all bow their faces to the floor upon the
pavement and worshipped and praised the Lord, saying: For He is good, for His
mercy endureth forever.
He is good, for His mercy endureth forever. For He is good, for His mercy
endureth forever. For He is good, for His mercy endureth forever.
Companions now rise to their feet, and the Sir Knight Commander says:
Companion, in your
present position what are you most in need of?
God said Let there be light, and there was light.
is then removed from the candidate’s eyes, amid flames, thunder, and clapping
of hands, and he beholds the mercy seat, etc. which should he so arranged as
to he shown instantly at the proper moment.
will then he conducted to the station of the Prelate, who reads as follows:
ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints,
and of the household of God, and are built upon the foundations of the
apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner-stone, in
whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto a holy temple in the
Lord, in whom ye also are builded together for a habitation of God through the
will then be conducted to his previous position at the arch, facing the Sir
Knight Commander, and he will see thirty-six lights properly placed. These
lights can he quietly arranged while the candidate is at the station of the
Prelate. The Sir Knight Commander will then say:
Companion, how many lights
do you see?
after counting them:
thirty-six lights represent the great and mighty grand password of this
Commander, giving candidate the grip of the degree:
Sir Knight Companion, I greet you as a Marksman and Companion of the Mark
Degree. I will now instruct you in the secret work.
Knight Commander will then instruct the candidate in the grip, trailing signs,
raps, passwords, and also the private marks of a Marksman
and Junior Wardens, or other Companions, will repeat the:
Why do you wear that
That black ribbon edged with white.
Because I both mourn and
Why do you both mourn and rejoice?
Because Aaron the High Priest mourned and rejoiced.
For whom and for what?
He mourned for the sins of the people, and rejoiced that he had seen the glory
of the Lord.
I perceive that you are a Marksman yourself.
I am always taken and accepted as such by all Marksmen.
Who was the Lord’s first chosen Marksman?
How was that?
Because he wore the two breastplates whereon were engraved, within and
without, the names of the twelve tribes of the Children of Israel.
Have you the names of
the two breastplates?
Urim and Thummim.
Have you the entrance password of a Marksman?
Will you give it to me?
I will if you begin.
S... Did you ever work any?
In the tower.
In an inner chamber.
Did you receive anything?
What did you receive?
Wages before the work was done.
What were those wages?
Upon what did you receive them?
My naked breech.
How did you know there were twelve?
Because I counted them in my hour of affliction.
For what did you receive them?
For disobedience of the Lord’s commands.
Did you ever travel any?
The tower to the temple.
Why did you leave the tower and travel to the temple?
Because the tower was confounded, but the temple was to be dedicated.
Have you the central password of a Marksman?
Give it to me.
T... T... P...
How was the temple reared?
Without the sound of hammer, axe, or any tool of iron. The stones were hewn in
the quarry to fit, and the wood was sawed in the valley of Lebanon.
How was it built?
Wider above than below.
To signify that the heavens are wider than the earth.
How was the temple supported?
J.W.: By three pillars.
S.W.: Name them.
J.W.: W..., S... and B...
S.W.: Why W..., S... and B...?
W... to contrive, S... to support, and B... to adorn.
What do Marksmen stand most in need of?
Three great and mighty things.
Faith, Hope and Truth.
Why Faith, Hope and Truth?
Faith to believe, Hope to be saved, and Truth to be truthful to all men, more
especially to a brother Marksman, well known to be such after strict trial and
due examination, or who may be vouched for by a well-known Marksman.
Have you the great and mighty grand password of a Marksman.
Will you give it to me?
I... Have you a number?
What do you take for your number?
Because three times twelve are thirty-six.
And what does that represent?
The T... S..., the T... P... and the T... T... of the C... of I...
Knight Commander will then give the following
Charge to the Candidate
Companion, you have now been advanced to the fourth degree of this Ancient and
Illustrious Order. You have, in a previous degree, been instructed how our
Christian forefathers, the Knights of Malta, were banded together to aid and
assist those who desired to visit the holy places at Jerusalem, and their
history has been explained to you. It is supposed that during the intervals of
peace the Knights: ever keeping in view the grand work of their religion:
adopted its a means of cementing the bonds of their brotherhood and
instructing one another in the historical truths of the Bible, the conferring
of those degrees which have since been handed down to us. Not having, at that
early period, the benefits and advantages of the extended circulation of the
Scriptures such as we have, the means adopted by them were well calculated to
make a durable and lasting Impression on the minds and hearts of the
This degree affords us an
instance of the utter futility of man’s work without the guidance of the Great
Architect of the Universe. The Tower of Babel: a work of the greatest
magnitude: undertaken and carried on by the utmost skill, perseverance, and
cunning, but without the sanction and approval of the Almighty, falls to the
ground; the workmen are confounded and scattered over the earth; while the
temple, inspired by Him, and raised by His wisdom in strength and beauty, was
brought to a successful completion. Let us, therefore, be ever mindful of the
extreme danger and evil consequences of an over-reliance on our own resources.
We have a duty to perform
toward our fellow-workmen in the great labor in which we are engaged.
The Tower of Babel was
confounded and razed to the ground; but the Church of Christ, exemplified in
the Protestant faith, has been established on a more firm basis, Christ
himself being the chief corner-stone. It is our duty as members of that
Church, and as defenders of its faith, to guard well her sanctity, and to be
ever on the alert to protect her from the emissaries of Rome.
The workman, submitted his
work for inspection and received wages according to his deserts; and let us
hope that there will be no remission of labor on your part, but that you will
endeavor, by the grace of God, to follow the example of the Blessed Redeemer,
and that, as a faithful soldier and follower of Him, you will become God’s
chosen Marksman, having on the breastplate of righteousness, and your feet
shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, in anticipation of that
happy time when the righteous shall shine forth as the sun in their Heavenly