The initiation being over, the High Priest begins the closing lecture, which is a repetition, by questions and answers, of the opening of a Chapter, and the advancement of a companion of this Degree. It begins as follows:

High Priest (to Captain of the Host.)–Are you a Royal Arch Mason?

Captain–I am that I am.

High Priest–How shall I know you to be a Royal Arch Mason? Captain of Host–By three times three.

High Priest–Where were you made a Royal Arch Mason?

Captain of the Host–In a just and legally constituted Chapter of Royal Arch Masons, consisting of Most Excellent High Priest, King and Scribe, Captain of the Host, Principal Sojourner, Royal Arch Captain, and the three Grand Masters of the Veils, assembled in a room or place representing the Tabernacle erected by our ancient brethren, near the ruins of King Solomon’s Temple.

The High Priest continues his questions as to the station and duties of each officer of the Chapter, and every particular relative to the organization thereof, the initiation or advancement of candidates, &c. The Captain of the Host rehearses or describes  the whole precisely as we have given it. These closing lectures are intended to perfect members in the full understanding of each Degree.

After the lecture, the Chapter is closed in the same manner as the opening, up to the raising of the Living Arch. The companions join hands by threes, in the same manner, and say in concert:

As we three did agree The Sacred Word to keep– As we three did agree The Sacred Word to search; So we three do agreeTo close this Royal Arch.

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They then break, and the High Priest reads the following prayer:

“By the wisdom of the Supreme High Priest may we be directed, by his strength may we be enabled, and by the beauty of virtue may we be incited to perform the obligations here enjoined upon us, to keep inviolable the mysteries here unfolded to us, and invariably to practise all those duties out of the Chapter which are inculcated in it.”

Companions–So mote it be. Amen.

High Priest–I now declare this Chapter of Royal Arch Masons closed.1

It is generally conceded by Masonic writers, that ancient Masonry closes with the Royal Arch. In an edition of “The Illustrations of Masonry,” by Mr. Preston, published in London, 1829, the editor, Mr. Oliver, observes:

“All Degrees beyond the Royal Arch ought to be carefully separated from genuine Masonry, as they are mostly founded on vague and uncertain traditions, which possess not the shadow of authority to recommend them to our notice.”2

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The additional Degrees, including those considered legitimate, amount to upward of fifty. These are founded partly upon astronomical principles, agreeing with the ancient worship of the Egyptians, and partly upon the Hebrew and Christian doctrines.

It may be remarked in general, that many of the degrees of knights are founded on the Christian knighthoods got up in the time of the Crusades, in the twelfth century; and that the ceremonies thereof are an imitation of those superstitious establishments. A former Grand High Priest of the Chapters in the State of New York informs me, that he initiated a French gentleman into the Degree of Knight of Malta, who told him he was a member of the ancient order of that name, and that the ceremonies were very similar.

At the time those old knighthoods were founded, “superstition mingled in every public and private action of life; in the holy wars it sanctified the profession of arms; and the order of chivalry was assimilated in its rights and privileges to the sacred orders of priesthood. The bath and the white garment of the novice were an Indecent copy of the regeneration of baptism; his sword, which he offered on the altar, was blessed by the ministers of religion; his solemn reception was preceded by fasts and vigils; and he was created a knight in the name of God, of St. George, and of St. Michael the archangel.”–Rees’s Cycl.

The emblem of the Royal Arch Degree is called the Triple Tau, and is a figure consisting of three tau crosses. It was adopted at Chicago, 1859, by the General Grand Chapter of the United States, and is worn printed on all aprons of the Royal Arch Degree.


Question. Are you a Royal Arch Mason?

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