Shibboleth: A Templar Monitor, by George Cooper Connor, , at sacred-texts.com
1. No Knight Templar can be buried with the funeral honors of Knighthood, unless he be in regular standing.
2. It is the duty of the Eminent Commander to convene the Commandery, upon notice of the death of a Sir Knight who may be entitled to receive funeral honors, upon request, made when living or by his family after his decease, for the purpose of attending the funeral ceremonies.
3. The Knights, on such occasions, will attend in full uniform, pursuant to the regulations; their sword hilts and the Banner of the Commandery suitably dressed in mourning.
4. On the coffin of the deceased will be placed his hat and sword; and if an Officer, his jewel, trimmed with crape.
5. The Eminent Commander will preside during the services, and, assisted by the Prelate, lead in the ceremonies, pursuant to the Ritual. If Grand Officers or Past Grand Officers be present, they will be allotted a place in the procession according to their rank.
6. The Knights will assemble at their Asylum, and march to the residence of the deceased, in the usual order of processions, swords at Carry; the line being headed by the Warder, and the Officers being in the rear, according to rank; that is, the Eminent Commander last.
The military movements necessary to the Burial Service will be conducted according to the Tactics of the Jurisdiction.
When desirable, the part of the service set down for the "Residence or the Church" may be deferred until the procession reaches the grave.
During the reading of the Scriptures, and during Prayer, all will Uncover without commands or signals, and Re-cover at conclusions.
If it is inconvenient to form the Triangle at the grave, the Commandery can be formed in two lines, one on each side of the grave,
the Commander and Prelate at the head, pall-bearers beside the coffin, and mourners and friends at the foot.
The Ritual directs that the body be lowered into the grave immediately after the address by the Prelate, and when the Junior Warden removes the sword from the coffin. It has been the practice of the author of this Monitor to not lower the coffin until the service was concluded, and the Lord's Prayer repeated. Then, while being lowered, to sing a hymn, which always proved a great relief to the mourners, as well as adding to the solemnities of the entire service.
It is effective to have the "Responses" made, in unison, by the Generalissimo and Captain General, only.
EC.Sir Knights, in the solemn rites of our Order, we have often been reminded of the fact that we were born to die. Mortality has been brought to view, that we might more earnestly seek an immortality beyond this fleeting life, where death comes no more forever. The sad and mournful knell has betokened that another spirit has winged its flight to a new existence. An alarm has come to the door of our Asylum, and the messenger was Death. None presumed to say to the awful presence: "Who dares approach?" A pilgrim warrior has been summoned, "and there is no discharge in that war." A burning taper of life in our Commandery has been extinguished, and none save the High and Holy One can re-light it. All that remains of our beloved companion lies mute before us, and the light of the eye, and the breathing of the lips, in fraternal greeting, has ceased to us forever on this side of the grave. His Sword, vowed to be drawn in the cause of truth, justice, and liberty, only, reposes in its scabbard, and we can no longer shield him from wrong and oppression.
The Knights here return Swords without command, on the signal of the Eminent Commander.
It is meet, at such a time, that we should be silent, and allow the words of the Infinite and Undying to speak, that we may gather consolation from His revelations, and have impressed upon our minds lessons of wisdom, instruction, and the meetness of preparation for the last great change which must pass upon us all.
Let us be reverently attentive while our Prelate reads unto us a lesson from the Holy Scriptures.
P.Help, Lord: for the faithful fail from among the children of men.
Res.Help us, O Lord.
P.The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles.
Res.Hear us, O Lord.
P.The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart: and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.
Res.Be nigh unto us, O Lord.
P.The Lord redeemeth the soul of his servants: and none of them that trust in Him shall be desolate.
Res.Redeem us, O Lord.
P.For I will not trust in my bow, neither shall my sword save me.
Res.Redeem us, O Lord.
P.But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for he shall receive me.
Res.Redeem us, O Lord.
P.Wilt thou shew wonders to the dead? Shall the dead arise and praise thee? Shall thy lovingkindness be declared in the grave? or thy faithfulness in destruction?
Res.Save us, O Lord.
P.We spend our years as a tale that is told. The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away. So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.
Res.Teach us, O Lord.
P.For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust. As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth. For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more. But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him.
Res.Show mercy, O Lord.
P.We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on in-
corruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
Res.O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
P.The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ..
Res.Thanks be unto God.
EC.Shall the memory of our departed brother fade from among men?
Res.It is cherished in our souls forever.
EC.Shall no record be left of his virtues and worth?
Res.It is inscribed upon our hearts; it is written in our archives; the heart may cease to throb, and the archives may moulder and decay, but the tablets of the Recording Angel on high can never perish.
The Recorder here opens the Book of Records of the Commandery, on which a page is set apart, suitably inscribed, and says:
Recorder.Thus it is written.
The Knights bow their heads.
EC.He was a true and courteous Knight, and has fallen in life's struggle full knightly, with his armor on.
P.Rest to his ashes and peace to his soul.
Res.Rest to his ashes and peace to his soul.
P.Sovereign Ruler of the Universe! into thy hands we devoutly and submissively commit the departed spirit.
Res.Thy will be done, O God.
A Hymn will then be sung.
The following, or an extemporaneous, Prayer will then be made by the Prelate, or by any clergyman present:
Father of Light, in this dark and trying hour of calamity and sorrow, we humbly lift our hearts to Thee. Give us, we pray, that light which cometh down from above. Thou hast mercifully said in Thy holy word, that the bruised reed Thou wouldst not break; remember in mercy, O Lord, these bereaved ones now before Thee. [Be Thou, at this hour, the Father of the fatherless, and the widow's God. Administer to them the consolations which they so sorely need.] Cause us to look away from these sad scenes of frail mortality to the hopes which lie beyond the grave, and bind us yet closer together in the ties of brotherly love and affection. While we see how frail is man, and how uncertain the continuance of our lives upon the earth, and are reminded of our own mortality, lead us, by Thy grace and spirit, to turn our thoughts to those things which make for our everlasting peace; and give us a frame of mind to make a proper improvement of all the admonitions of thy providence, and fix our thoughts more devotedly on Thee, the only sure refuge in time of need. And at last, when our earthly pilgrimage shall be ended, or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, wilt Thou, in that moment of mortal extremity be indeed EmmanuelGod with us! May the lamp of Thy love dispel the gloom of the dark valley, and may we be enabled by the intercession of Thy
[paragraph continues] Son, to gain admission into the blessed Asylum above; and in Thy glorious presence, enjoy a union with the spirits of the departed, perfect as is the happiness of heaven, and durable as the eternity of God. Amen!
Res.Amen and Amen!
The procession will then form and march to the place of interment, in the same order as before.
AT THE GRAVE.
On arriving at the place, while forming in order, a suitable Dirge may be played by the band.
The Knights will form, if convenient, a Triangle around the grave, the base being at the foot, the Eminent Commander and Prelate being at the head, and the friends and relatives at the foot. If a Triangle is inconvenient, form in two lines on the sides of the grave.
P.Sir Knights, there is one sacred spot upon the earth where the footfalls of our march are unheeded; our trumpets quicken no pulse and incite no fear; the rustling of our banners and the gleam of our swords awaken no emotion. It is the silent city of the dead where we now stand. Awe rests upon every heart, and the stern warrior's eyes are bedewed with feelings which never shame his manhood. It needs no siege, nor assault, nor beleaguering host to enter its walls; we fear no sortie, and listen for no battle shout. No Warder's challenge greets the ear, nor do we wait awhile with patience for permission to enter.
Hither must we all come at last; and the stoutest heart and the manliest form that surrounds me will then be led a captive, without title or rank, in the chains of mortality and the habiliments of slavery to the King of Terrors.
But if he has been faithful to the Captain of his Salvation,
a true Soldier of the Cross; if he has offered suitable gifts at the shrine of his departed Lord, and bears the signet of the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, then play he claim to be of that princely house and to be admitted to audience with the Sovereign Master of Heaven and Earth. Then will he be stripped of the chains of earthly captivity and clothed in a white garment, glistening as the sun, and be seated with princes and rulers, and partake of a libation, not of death and sorrow, but of that wine which is drunk forever new in the Father's kingdom above.
We can not come here without subdued hearts and softened affections. Often as the challenge conies which takes from our side some loved associate, some cherished companion-in-arms, and often as the trumpet sounds its wailing notes to summon us to the death-bed and the brink of the sepulchre, we can not contemplate "the last of earth" unmoved. Each successive death-note snaps some fiber which binds us to this lower existence and makes us pause and reflect upon that dark and gloomy chamber where we must all terminate our pilgrimage. Well will it be for our peace then, if we can wash our hands, not only in token of sincerity, but of every guilty stain, and give honest and satisfactory answers to the questions required.
The sad and solemn scene now before us stirs up these recollections with a force and vivid power which we have hitherto unfelt. He who now slumbers in that last, long, unbroken sleep of death was our brother. With him have we walked the pilgrimage of life and kept ward and watch together in its vicissitudes and trials. He is now removed beyond the effect of our praise or censure. That we loved him our presence here evinces; and we remember him in scenes to which the world was not witness, and where the better feelings of humanity were exhibited without disguise. That he had faults and foibles is but to repeat what his mortality
demonstratesthat he had a human nature, not divine. Over these errors, whatever they may have been, we cast, while living, the mantle of charity; it should, with much more reason, enshroud him in death. We who have been taught to extend the point of charity even to a foe when fallen, can not be severe or merciless toward a loved brother.
The memory of his virtues lingers in our remembrance and reflects its shining lustre beyond the portals of the tomb. The earthen vase which has contained precious odors will lose none of its fragrance, though the clay be broken and shattered. So be it with our brother's memory.
The Junior Warden removes the Sword from the coffin, which will then be lowered into the grave, while the Prelate repeats as follows: (See General Regulations for a different ceremony.)
P.I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. To the earth we commit the mortal remains of our deceased brother,we have already commended his soul to his Creator,with humble submission to Divine Providence. (Here cast some earth on the coffin.) Earth to earth (cast earth again); ashes to ashes (cast more earth); dust to dusttill the morn of the resurrection, when, like our risen and ascended Redeemer, he shall break the bonds of death, and abide the judgment of the great day. Till then, Friend, Brother, Sir Knight, farewell! Light lie the ashes upon thee, and may the sunshine of heaven beam bright on thy waking!
Res.Amen and Amen!
The Junior Warden presents the Sword to the Eminent Commander, who says:
EC.Our departed brother was taught, while living, that
this Sword, in his hands, as a true and courteous Knight, was endowed with three most estimable qualities: Its hilt with justice impartial; its blade with fortitude undaunted; and its point with mercy unrestrained. To these lessons, with their deep emblematical significance, we trust he gave diligent heed. He could never grasp its hilt without being reminded of the lively significance of the attributes it inculcated. He has borne the pangs of dissolving nature,may we trust that with the same fortitude he sustained the trials of this passing existence. To his name and memory be justice done, as we hope to receive the like justice ourselves. And may that mercy unrestrained, which is the glorious attribute of the Son of God, interpose in his behalf to parry the sword of Divine Justice, and to admit him to the blessed companionship of saints and angels in the realms of light and life eternal.
Res.Amen and Amen!
The Senior Warden presents a Cross to the Prelate, who says:
P.This symbol of faiththe Christian's hope and the Christian's trustwe again place upon the breast of our brother, there to remain till the last trumpet shall sound and earth and sea yield up their dead. Though it may, in the past history of our race, have been perverted into an ensign of oppression and wrong; though it may have been made the emblem of fraud and superstition and moral darkness, its true significance remained,the badge of the Christian warrior. To-day it calls to mind Gethsemane and its sorrowful garden; the judgment hall of Pilate and the pitiless crown of thorns; Golgotha and Calvary, and their untold agonies, that fallen man might live and inherit everlasting life. If an inspired apostle was not ashamed of the
[paragraph continues] Cross, neither should we be; if he gloried in the significance of the truths it shadowed forth, so ought we to rejoice in it as the speaking witness of our reliance beyond the grave. May this hope of the living have been the anchor to the soul of our departed brotherthe token to admit him to that peaceful haven where the wicked cease from troubling and the weary are at rest.
Res.Amen and Amen!
The Prelate drops the Cross into the grave, or lays it on the coffin, and continues:
P.The Orders of Christian Knighthood were instituted in a dark period of the world's history, but their mission was high and holy. To succor and protect the sorrowing and destitute, the innocent and oppressed, was their vow and their life-long labor and duty. For long, long years they well and nobly performed their vows and did their devoirs. In those rude ages the steel blade was oftener the arbiter of justice than the judgments of judicial tribunals or the decrees of magistrates. So long as the Templars adhered to their vows of poverty they were virtuous and innocent, and their language was in truth, "Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee." But, with the accession of wealth and civil power, they were tempted, and fell from their high estate, and their possessions attracted the cupidity and their prowess incurred the hatred of the despots of those times. When the martyred De Molai had perished and the Order was proscribed, they united with the fraternity of Free and Accepted Masons, and returned to their primitive simplicity of manners; and a rough habit, coarse diet and severe duty was all that was offered to their votaries.
In our land we have perpetuated only the distinctive rites, with the appellations and regulations of the defenders of the Holy Sepulchrethe early champions and soldiers of the Crossand this as a guerdon of merit, not a badge of rank. The Sword in our hands is more as a symbol of the duties we have vowed to fulfill than an instrument of assault or defense. We claim to exercise practical virtues in the holy bonds of our confraternity, in humble imitation of those renowned Knights of the olden time; for there is still in this refined age innocence to be guarded, widowed hearts to be relieved of their burdens, and orphanage to be protected from the chill blasts of a wintry world; and to be true and courteous is not limited to any age or clime.
Our brother, whose cold and lifeless remains have just been committed to the earth, was one of our fraternal band, bound by the same ties and pledged to the same duties. To his bereaved and mourning friends and relatives we have but little worldly consolation to offer, but we do tender them our heartfelt sympathies. And if the solemn and interesting ceremonies in which we have been engaged have not pointed them to a higher hope and a better consolation, then all our condolence would be in vain.
Sir Knight Companions, let us pray.
Here all repeat the Lord's Prayer.
The Prelate will then pronounce the following
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen!
Lines are reformed, and the Commandery returns to the Asylum.