Each squad replies that it is right.

The officers and companions resume their seats. The High Priest raps three times with his gavel, the King repeats it, as also the Scribes; this is done three times (• • •  • • •  • • •).

High Priest (rising.)–I now declare this Chapter of Royal Arch Masons opened in due and ancient form; and I hereby forbid all improper conduct whereby the peace and harmony of this Chapter may be disturbed, under no less penalties than the by-laws, or a majority of the Chapter, may see fit to inflict.

High Priest (to Captain of the Host.)–Companion Captain, please to inform the Guard that the Chapter is open.

The Captain proceeds on this duty, while the Secretary reads the minutes of the last meeting. Should there be any candidates to be balloted for, this is the first business in order. If one or more candidates are waiting without, the Principal Sojourner goes to the preparation-room to get them ready. If there are not three of them, a companion or companions volunteer to make the trio, as not less than three can perform the ceremonies. The three take off their coats, when the Principal Sojourner ties bandages over their eyes, and, taking a long rope, coils it seven times round the body of each, leaving about three feet slack between.

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[paragraph continues] He then proceeds with them to the door of the Chapter and gives seven distinct knocks.

Captain (rising.)–There is an alarm at the door, Most Excellent.

High Priest–Attend to the cause of it, and see who comes there.

The Captain of the Host goes to the door and raps on it nine times. The Principal Sojourner, outside, answers this by three times three, and then gives one rap, which the Captain answers by one, and then partly opens the door.

Captain–Who comes there?

Principal Sojourner–Three worthy brothers, who have been initiated, passed, and raised to the sublime Degree of Master Masons, advanced to the honorary Degree of Mark Master, presided as Master in the chair, and, at the completion and dedication of the Temple, were received and acknowledged Most Excellent Masters; and now wish for further light in Masonry, by being exalted to the august sublime Degree of the Holy Royal Arch.

Captain (to candidates.)–Is it of your own free-will and accord you make this request?

First Candidate (prompted.)–It is.

Captain (to Principal Sojourner.)–Are they duly and truly prepared?

Principal Sojourner–They are.

Captain–Have they made suitable proficiency in the preceding Degrees?

Principal Sojourner–They have.

Captain–By what further right or benefit do they expect to gain admission to this Chapter of Royal Arch Masons?

Principal Sojourner–By the benefit of a pass.

Captain–Have they that pass?

Principal Sojourner–They have it not; but I have it for them.

Captain–Advance and give it.

Principal Sojourner whispers in his ear the word RABBONI.

Captain–The word is right; you will wait a time, until the Most Excellent High Priest be informed of their request, and his answer returned.

The Captain of the Host closes the door, and returns to his Place in the Chapter, gives the alarm, which is answered by the High Priest, who asks the same questions, and receives the same answers from the Captain of the Host, as were asked and given at the door.

High Priest–Since this is the case, you will let them enter this Chapter of Royal Arch Masons, and be received under a giving Arch.

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The Captain of the Host goes to the door, opens it, and says;

Captain–It is our Most Excellent High Priest’s order, that the candidates enter this Chapter of Royal Arch Masons, and be received under a Living Arch.

Principal Sojourner (leading the candidates by the rope.)–Companions, you will follow me. (Leads them in.) I will bring the blind by a way they know not: I will lead them in paths they have not known; I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and will ‘not forsake them Stoop low, brethren: he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

Meantime the brethren, or companions of the Chapter, form two lines facing each other, from the door to the centre of the room, and each one takes hold and locks his fingers with those of his opposite companion. As the candidates pass under this Living Arch, each couple place their knuckles upon the necks and backs of the candidates, kneading them pretty hard sometimes, and prostrating them on the floor. Thus they have a good deal of difficulty in forcing their way through. When they do get through, they are first conducted round the Chapter, and then to the altar, where they must kneel to receive the obligation.

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