Shibboleth: A Templar Monitor, by George Cooper Connor, , at sacred-texts.com
Acti labores jucundi.
The captives released under the decree of the great Cyrus, issued B. C. 536, entered the desolated city of Jerusalem on the 10th day of Tebeth, B. C. 535, under the leadership of Zerubbabel. On the 23d day of Adar, B. C. 515, the Second Temple was completed. It was dedicated, and the Priests and Levites assigned to their duties.
The second installment of returning captives entered Jerusalem on the 10th of Schebet, B. C. 458, under the leadership of Ezra. He began a reformation of the people by compelling them to put away their unbelieving wives. The poor, impoverished, rain-soaked people obeyed the imperative commands of this lineal descendant of Aaron when they had assembled themselves in the city, five months afterwards. They put away the wives they had brought up with them from Babylon, kept a solemn fast, and entered into a covenant to walk in God's law, as given them by his servant Moses.
The third installment entered Jerusalem, under the guidance of Nehemiah, B. C. 445, when Nehemiah became Governor. Those who, for various reasons, preferred to remain in the Persian country, were henceforth known as "The Dispersion."
On the first day of Nisan, B. C. 445, a solemn fast was held, by order of Nehemiah, and on the 24th day of the same month there was another. At these Ezra read the Book of the Law of Moses to the people, and after seven days they "rejoiced and feasted as they had not done since the days of Joshua, the son of Nun." It was then they covenanted to keep the seventh day, and the seventh year.
Thus was Israel re-established in Jerusalem, and the city and its Temple rebuilt. Other cities were built, and peace was within their walls, and prosperity within their palaces.
The ceremonials of the Illustrious Order of the Red Cross furnish ample scope for the best of elocutionary work. Dignity of manner, clearness of enunciation, and careful reading of the lines are absolutely necessary to the full development of the Ritual.
A true Mason will lay down his life rather than surrender his integrity. A Companion of the Red Cross holds his engagements sacred and inviolable, and will not accept favors or emoluments at the sacrifice of his integrity. Nor will he draw his sword in the cause of Injustice, Falsehood, or Oppression, for Justice, Truth, and Liberty are the Grand Characteristics of that Illustrious Order.
Endurance, coupled with faith and perseverance, is a shining characteristic of a Companion of the Red Cross. He is taught a lesson he never forgets in the secession of the Ten Tribes of Israel, when told by Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, that his father chastised them with whips, but that he would chastise them with scorpions. They withdrew from their allegiance, and left the tribes of Judah and Benjamin in possession of Jerusalem, its Temple, and the traditions. Their lack of patience and endurance, under such trying circumstances, resulted in their disappearance as tribes, or as a people. And to-day the Jews, scattered all over the face of the earth, claim descent from the two patient tribes,Judah and Benjamin.
Those who seek to destroy their neighbors often overreach themselves as did that Governor and nobleman of the Medo-Persian domain,Tatnai and Shethar-Boznai. The search among the archives, in Ecbatana, which they petitioned Darius to have made, resulted in the discovery of the Decree made by Cyrus, which overthrew their hopes of preventing the rebuilding of Jerusalem and its Temple. God often causes the wrath of man to praise him.
There is carved upon the Corner-Stone of the Illustrious Order of the Red Cross this Motto: "Veritas prævalebit." And surely an Order so grounded is of infinite importance to the human family. Verily, Truth will prevail.
A Companion of the Red Cross has engraved upon his escutcheon these words: "Libertas et natale solum." Can such a man be other than a good citizen? Aye, such men are willing to shed their blood in defense of liberty and native land.
"Wo unto them that decree unrighteous decrees, and that write the injustice that they have adjudged. Judge the poor with righteousness, and according to equity relieve the lowly ones of earth. Execute true judgment, and cause every one to show mercy and compassion to his brother; and let none oppress the widow nor the fatherless, the stranger nor the poor."
The origin of the device of the Eagle on royal banners can be traced to very early periods. It was the ensign of the ancient Kings of the Medo-Persian empire, of Persia and Babylon. The device was adopted by Charlemagne to denote the union of the black eagle of the east with the golden eagle of the west, typifying the "Holy Roman Empire."
Sceptre (Greek, skeptron; Hebrew, shebet) means rod of command, or staff of authority. It is the sign of power and authority, and is therefore to be preferred, in the Creation of a Companion, to the use of a Sword.
This was the promise: Zerubbabel was appointed Governor, or Tirshatha (Ezra ii: 63), of Judah by Darius. Of Zerubbabel God said: "Speak now to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, and to the residue of the people, saying, Who is left among you that saw this house in her first glory? and how do ye see it now? is it not in your eyes in comparison of it as nothing? " Haggai ii: 2, 3.
"The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also finish it." Zechariah iv: 9.
It is important to the purposes of this Monitor to describe only three Cuts, and the Thrust. These are Ritualistic, and not military.
The regular Cuts of the Sword are: On left shoulder, One; on right shoulder, Two; on left leg, Three; on right leg, Four. This is the succession, ritualistically speaking: Two, One, Three, Four.
The following illustrates these Cuts. The Swords numbered "1" are of the First Division, and those numbered "2" are of the Second Division. The Cuts are counted in illustration as given, and not as regularly numbered Sword Cuts.
These Cuts should be executed with the flat of the blade, and not with the edge. The same side of the blade touches in every Cut. It is important to remember this, and thereby avoid the awkward efforts sometimes made to reverse the blade at each Cut.
These Cuts also illustrate "Over an Arch of Steel" (Cut Three) and "Under an Arch of Steel" (Cut One).