No Mason can receive the Degree of Most Excellent Master until after he has become a Past Master, and presided in a Lodge, or, in other words, been inducted into the Oriental Chair of King Solomon. When the Temple of Jerusalem was finished,1 those who had proved themselves worthy, by their virtue, skill, and fidelity, were installed as Most Excellent Masters, and, even at this date, none but those who have a perfect knowledge of all preceding Degrees are (or should be) admitted.2
A Lodge of Most Excellent Masters is opened in nearly the same manner as Lodges in the preceding Degrees. The officers are, a Master, Senior and Junior Wardens and Deacons, Secretary and Treasurer, and of course a Tyler.
The officers of a Chapter rank as follows:–
The High Priest, as Right Worshipful Master; King, as Senior Warden; Scribe, as Junior Warden; Principal Sojourner, as Senior Deacon; Royal Arch Captain, as Junior Deacon. The Treasurer, Secretary, and Tyler corresponding in rank with the same officers of other Degrees.
The symbolic color of the Most Excellent Master’s Degree is purple. The apron is of white lambskin, edged with purple. The collar is of purple, edged with gold. But, as Lodges of this Degree are held under warrants of Royal Arch Chapters, the collars, aprons, and jewels of the Chapter are generally made use of in conferring the Degree.
The Right Worshipful Master represents King Solomon, and should be dressed in a crimson robe, wearing a crown, and holding a sceptre in his hand.
A candidate receiving this Degree is said to be “received and acknowledged as a Most Excellent Master.”
Lodges of Most Excellent Masters are “dedicated to King Solomon.”
The officers of the Lodge are stationed as in the Entered Apprentice’s Degree, described on Page 8. The Master presiding calls the Lodge to order, and says:
Master (to the Junior Warden.)–Brother Junior, are they all Most Excellent Masters in the south?
J. W.–They are, Right Worshipful.
Master (to the Senior Warden.)–Brother Senior, are they all Most Excellent Masters in the west?
S. W.–They are, Right Worshipful.
Master–They are also in the east.
Master gives one rap, which calls up the two deacons.
Master (to Junior Deacon.)–Brother Junior, the first care of a Mason?
J. D.–To see the door tyled, Most Excellent.
Master–Attend to that part of your duty, and inform the Tyler that we are about to open this Lodge of Most Excellent Masters, and direct him to tyle accordingly.
Junior Deacon goes to the door and gives six knocks, which the Tyler from without answers by six more. He then gives one knock, which the Tyler answers with one, and he then partly
opens the door, and informs the Tyler that by order of the Most Excellent Master a Lodge of Most Excellent Masters is now about to be opened in this place, and he must tyle accordingly. He then returns to his place and addresses the Master:
J. D.–The Lodge is tyled, Most Excellent.
J. D.–By a Most Excellent Master Mason without the door, armed with the proper implements of his office.
Master–His duty there?
J. D.–To keep off all cowans and eavesdroppers, and see that none pass or repass without permission of the Right Worshipful Master.
The Master now questions each officer of the Lodge as to his duties, which are recited by them as in the other Degrees.
Master (to Senior Warden.)–Brother Senior, you will assemble the brethren around the altar for our opening.
S. W.–Brethren, please to assemble around the altar, for the purpose of opening this Lodge of Most Excellent Master Masons.
The brethren now assemble around the altar, and form a circle, and stand in such a position as to touch each other, leaving a space for the Right Worshipful Master; they then all kneel on their left knee, and join hands, each giving his right-hand brother his left hand, and his left-hand brother his right hand; their left arms uppermost, and their heads inclining downward: all being thus situated, the Right Worshipful Master reads the following verses from Psalm xxiv:
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