PROVOST AND JUDGE
THE PRIESTLY ORDER OF ISRAEL
The Seventh Grade of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, and the Fourth
Degree of the Ineffable Series
In accordance with the legend of this degree, King Solomon upon the death
of the Grand Master, Hiram, found it necessary to appoint several Judges,
in order that justice might be administered among the workmen upon the Temple,
their complaints heard, and their disputes decided; for difficulties and
disturbances were now more frequent, pending the temporary cessation of work
and the period of mourning.
This duty of judgement had devolved upon the lamented Hiram, and his loss
caused the appointment of Tito and his associates to listen to and adjust
the complaints that might be brought before them.
The Apartment and its Decorations
The apartment represents the middle chamber of King Solomon's Temple, where
the records were kept. It is draped with red, and in the East is a blue canopy
representing the sky, which is embellished with stars.
Under the centre of the canopy is suspended an ebony box, ornamented with
jewels, which contains the records of the tribunal of Provosts and Judges.
In the middle of the chamber hangs an equilateral triangle, in the centre
of which is a Hebrew letter; under the triangle is hung an equipoised balance.
The Lodge-room is lighted by five lights - one in each corner and one in
the centre of the chamber.
Officers, Titles, Etc.
Thrice illustrious - represents Judge Tito, Prince of the Herodim, the oldest
of the Provosts and Judges, and is seated in the East.
Senior Warden - represents Adoniram, in the West.
Junior Warden - represents Abda, father of Adoniram, and is also seated in
Orator - represents Josaphat, son of Ahilud, in the South.
Master of Ceremonies - in the North.
Captain of the Guard - in the North.
Sentinel - at the entrance.
The seven officers should be in white robes, and all the other brethren in
Regalia, Jewels, Etc
Apron - Triangular, white, edged with red; in the middle of the area a pocket,
surrounded by five white and red rosettes; on the flap is painted or embroidered
Collar - Red, from which is suspended the
Jewel - A golden key.
Hour - Break of day - eight, two, and seven.
This lodge is held in Solomon's private arch, under the sanctum sanctorum,
and over the sepulchre of Hiram Abif, which place he was finally installed
with his jewel.
The officers are twelve; Tito Zadok, the High Priest King Solomon; Hiram,
King of Tyre, with nine grand officers. The two kings are under the High
Priest. The first of the nine grand officers is called Senior Provost.
The lodge is hung with red, and illuminated with twelve great lights in the
form of a triangle.
The High Priest sits under a rich blue canopy, ornamented with purple, scarlet
and gold, the four famous colours that adorned the veil of King Solomon's
Temple and the Tabernacle in the wilderness, under Moses, the great and inspired
Tito Zadok, in addition to the office of High Priest, bears that of Prince
of Jerusalem and Harodim. Solomon and Hiram are styled royal chiefs. These
three officers have each a sceptre in his hand. The two kings wear crowns,
and the High Priest the regular habit of the office.
The candidate for this degree, having been admitted and obligated, is thus
addressed by the High Priest.
Brother N , you having taken the solemn obligation of this degree,
I do, in virtue of the power to me given, constitute and appoint you a Provost
and Judge, with the title of High Priest of Jerusalem and Harodim, and Grand
Superintendant over the Architects of the Temple, in the place of your late
Grand Master, Hiram Abif. And we do here invest you with these four. golden
keys, suspended to this red ribbon, and with this apron bound with the same
colour, as an emblem of the ardour and zeal of Hiram Abif. The first of these
keys will open the private arch of King Solomon. The second will let you
into the tomb of the immortal widow's son. The third will let you into the
sanctum sanctorum, or holy of holies. And the other will enable you to find
the sacred treasure in the ark of the covenant.
Blest is the man who walks upright
Whom righteousness directs
Whose generous tongue disdains to speak
The thing his heart rejects
Who never did a slander forge,
His neighbours fame to wound,
Nor hearken to a false report
By malice whispered round.
Who, Vice, in all its pomp and power,
Can treat with just neglect,
And Piety, though clothed in rags,
Whose soul in wickedness disdains
His powers to employ,
Whom no rewards can ever bribe
The guiltless to destroy.
To render justice and judgement is more acceptable to the Lord than a sacrifice.
Ye shall not fear the face of man, for the judgement is God's
S.: W.: Thou shalt provide out of all the people
able men, such as fear God: men of truth and haters of injustice, and set
them to judge the people at all seasons.
J.: W.: Open thy mouth and judge righteously,
for he that followeth after righteousness and mercy, findeth life, happiness,
T.: I.: Hear the causes between your brethren,
and judge righteously between man and man, and between the citizen and the
stranger. Ye shall not respect persons in judgement, but shall listen to
the humble as well as to the great.
S.: W.: See that ye judge not falsely, nor slay
the Innocent and the righteous; and take no gift, for a gift blindeth the
wise and perverteth the words of the righteous. Blessed are the peace-makers,
for they shall see the Lord.
J.: W.: You shall have one manner of law, as
well for the stranger as for one of your own country. One ordinance shall
be for you and the stranger that sojourneth with you: one law and one custom
shall be adjudged for all.
T.: I.: Love justice, you that are the judges
of the earth. Justice is perpetual and immortal. Oppress not the poor just
man, but spare the widow, and honour the ancient gray hairs of the aged.
Let not your strength be the law of justice, nor hold that which is feeble
to be nothing worth.
Let justice be ever meted out by you; yet let it be tempered with mercy,
for as ye judge, so shall ye be judged.
My brother, it is your desire to become a Provost and Judge. Are you aware
that he, who would assume that character and would judge and decide between
his brethren, must himself be a just and upright man-impartial, cautious,
merciful-of pure morals and blameless life and conversation-and that he must,
first of all, give judgement against his own faults?
He who would assume the character of Judge is guilty of a great offence if
he does not fully inform himself of the laws and that jurisprudence which
he is called on to construe, to apply, to administer, and to enforce - nay,
he who ignores his own offences or errors, and punishes the same offences
or errors in another, is a false judge and a disloyal Mason.
Let the unjust judge tremble, for God will smite him with the sharp sword
of his wrath. Let the unjust qualified, who usurps the seat of judgement,
remember the fate of those who laid their unholy hands upon the ark, and
were smitten with God's anger for their presumption.
Having full confidence, my brother, in your zeal and devotion, I with pleasure
receive you as a Provost and Judge over the workmen of the Temple. It gives
me joy, my brother, thus to recompense your zeal and attachment to the
institution of Masonry. Well assured of your prudence and discretion, we,
without hesitation, intrust you with our most important secrets; and we doubt
not that you will discharge all your duties in this grade as you have done
in those you have already taken. You have now a twofold duty to perform-as
a Judge, to decide all matters of difference that may arise among your brethren;
and as a Provost, to rule over the workmen of the Temple. Be just, impartial,
I now invest you with the apron, collar, and jewel of this degree. I decorate
you in this quality with this golden key, suspended to a red collar.
Your apron is white, bordered with red, as an emblem of the ardour and zeal
of the Masters: the pocket in the middle of the area is intended for the
key of the box wherein is contained the plans and records of the tribunal,
which key is represented to you by that on the flap. It teaches you to lock
carefully up in your heart the secrets of Masonry, and to keep the key ever
in your own possession; and it is especially emblematical of that justice
and uprightness that alone can unlock to you the mysteries contained in the
higher degrees, and enable you to advance towards perfection. The golden
key also opens an urn of gold.
The Lodge represents the middle chamber of King Solomon's Temple.
The triangle is emblematical, here as elsewhere in Masonry, of the Deity,
of his omnipotence and omniscience; and it is also emblematical of the three
great requisites of a Judge - possessed by him in their perfection and infinitude
-- Justice, Equity, and impartiality. Let that emblem and the balance be
ever before your eyes, and remind you of the obligation which you have taken
in this degree, of the duties which devolve upon you, of the responsibilities
which rest upon you, and which, with God's eye ever fixed upon you, you cannot
evade or avoid.
Q. What is denoted by Tito Zadok
A. Tito Zadok, the Prince and High Priest of Jerusalem.
Q. What means the second name?
A. It denotes the High Priest to be just.
Q. What was the intention of King Solomon in forming this degree ?
A. To appoint grand superintendents over the architects to carry into execution
the plans of Hirain Abiff in the outer works of the Temple, and to honour
the great servant of the most high lord, who was, for that purpose, created
Prince of Harodim, and Jerusalem, set above the great and learned King of
Tyre, and the most powerful king then on earth, whose wisdom far exceeded
that of all men. This High Priest was the first admitted by these two kings
into this degree and within the holy place of the temple.
Q. Who was the second Mason exalted to this degree?
A. Zadok, the great favourite of King Solomon, and to him, was entrusted
the four keys of the sacred treasures contained in the oracle, above it in
the obelisk of lliram Abif, and below it in the sacred private arch of Solomon.
Q. In what manner did Zadok obtain admission into the Sacred places?
A. Into the obelisk he had free access without attendance. Into the sanctum
sanctoram, or holy of holies, only with permission and in the presence of
Tito Zadok, the High Priest who opened with the second key of the door the
holy place leading to the sanctum sanctorum, and having the glorious veil
of the temple, which separated the holy place from the most holy sanctum
sanetorum, thrown aside by twelve of the priesthood, representing the twelve
tribes of Israel, he was permitted, during the reading of the law by the
Senior Priest of the tribes of Israel, to view that glorious treasure exhibited
in due form by the High Priest. Into Solomon's private arch he entered,
accompanied by Solomon himself and Hiram, king of Tyre, while the nine grand
officers guarded the nine arches that led from the residence of the king
on Mount Sion to the arch under the holy Mount Moriah. And with his fourth
he entered the sepulchre of Hiram Abiff, under the arch of Solomon, and,
on that solemn and secret spot, he took the great obligation of this degree,
in the presence of the kings of Jerusulem and Tyre.
Q. What was the result of the initiation of Zadok the Priest into this degree?
A. He was so struck with admiration, in beholding the furniture of this holy
place, in the bowels of the earth, he fell prostrate, and pronounced J.:
Q. What does that denote?
A. The glorious light of God. King Solomon perceiving him in that attitude,
at the instant the words were pronounted advanced and raised him exclaiming,
J.: Az.: B.:
Q. What does that denote?
A. The sight of God. Solomon delivered to him the four keys belonging to
this degree, by which his knowledge was daily increased.
Q. What else was to be seen in that sacred lodge?
A. A triangle in the middle of the circle, and in centre of it the T T two
Q. What is denoted by the two roses?
A. The white rose represents the purity and, innocence of Hiram Abif; and
the red, on the circle stone, his blood open for the honourable cause of
Orator. It is said that King Solomon, after
the death of the Grand Master Hiram, in order that justice might be administered
among the workmen upon the Temple, their complaints heard and their disputes
be decided, appointed seven Provosts and Judges to adjust their demands,
listen to their complaints, and settle any disputes and differences that
might arise among them. He appointed Tito, Prince Of Herodim, to be the chief
Provost and Judge,
Adoniram, and Abda, his father, and four others learned in the law of Moses,
to complete the number and constitute the Tribunal. They held their sittings
in the middle chamber of the Temple, where the records of the Tribunal were
kept, in a box of ebony, studded with precious gems, the key of which was
committed to the Provosts or Judges; and there they considered and adjusted
the demands and differences of the workmen, and determined all appeals from
the judgement of a single Provost and Judge administering the same laws to
the Phoenician as to the Hebrew, and endeavouring to do entire justice, according
to the law of Moses, between man and man.
The necessity for a Court of Judges did not exist until after the death of
the Grand Master Hiram, as the number of difficulties and dissensions among
the workmen was not so numerous, and judgement was arrived at by the ready
decisions of Hiram, which all quietly acquiesced in.
As a Provost and Judge, it is your especial duty to render justice to all,
to hear patiently, remember accurately, and weigh carefully the facts and
the arguments offered. In our intercourse with others, there are two kinds
of injustice: the first, of those who offer an injury; the second, of those
who have it in their power to avert an injury from those to whom it is offered,
and yet do it not. So active injustice may be done in two ways-by force and
Respect not persons in judgement, but listen to the humble as well as to
the great. Fear God, for judgement is God's.
While you would administer justice, show mercy. Exhibit the subduing influences
of pity, the might of love, the control of mildness, the commanding majesty
of that perfect character which mingles grave displeasure with grief and
pity for the offender. So brother Masons should treat their fellow Masons
who go astray - not with bitterness, nor yet with good-natured easiness nor
The human heart bows not willingly to what is infirm or wrong in our nature.
If it yields to us, it rather yields to what is divine in us. The wickedness
of my neighbour will not submit to my wicked. ness Therefore deal faithfully
but patiently and tenderly, with evil.
Remember that it becomes not frail and sinful humanity to be vindictive towards
even the worst of criminals. Perhaps we owe it solely to a kind Providence
having kept from us those temptations, under which we, too, like them, would
Finally, as a true Mason and Judge, always remember the injunction: " Thou
shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honour the person of the mighty;
but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour."
Beware of injury to your neighbour. If you have wronged another, you may
grieve, repent, and resolutely determine against any such weakness in future;
you may, so far as it is possible, make reparation. This is well. The injured
party may forgive you, according to the meaning of human language, but the
deed is done, and all the powers of Nature, were they to conspire in your
behalf, could not make it undone; the consequences to the body, the consequences
to the soul, though no man may perceive them, are there-are written in the
annals of the past, and must reverberate throughout all time.
Repentance for a wrong done, bears, like every other act, its own fruit-the
fruit of purifying the heart and amending the future; but not of effacing
Even the pulsations of the air, once set in motion by the human voice, cease
not to exist with the sounds to which they gave rise; their quickly attenuated
force soon becomes inaudible to human ears. But the waves of air thus raised
perambulate the surface of earth and ocean; and in less than twenty hours
every atom of its atmosphere takes up the altered movement, due to that
infinitesimal portion of primitive movement, which has been conveyed to it
through countless channels, and which must continue to influence its path
throughout its future existence.
The air is one vast library, on whose pages is forever written all that man
has ever said or even whispered.
There, in their mutable but unerring characters, mixed with the earliest
as well as the latest signs of mortality, stand, forever recorded, vows
unredeemed, promises unfulfilled. God reads that book, though we cannot.
So earth, air, and ocean, are the eternal witnesses of the acts that we have
done. Every criminal is, by the laws of the Almighty, irrevocably chained
to the testimony of his crime. No more fearful punishment to a superior
intelligence can be conceived, than to see still in action, with the
consciousness that it must continue in action forever, a cause of wrong,
put in motion by itself ages before. There is its perpetual, its inevitable
punishment, which no repentance can alleviate, and no mercy can remit.
Let us be just, also, in judging of other men's motives.
No man need covet the office of Judge, for, in assuming it, he assumes the
most serious and oppressive responsibility.
On all accounts, therefore, let the true Mason never forget the solemn
injunction, necessary to be observed at almost every moment of a busy life:
"Judge not, lest ye yourselves be judged; for whatsoever judgement ye measure
unto others, the same shall in turn be measured unto you."
Form of Closing
High Priest. Companions and explorers of the bowels of the earth, be pleased
to assist me in closing the lodge of Judges of the holy city of Jerusalem.
Pray, Senior Companion, what is the last duty?
Senior Provost. To Seal the sepulchre of our departed grand master, lock
up our secrets, and retire in peace from the mansion of the dead.
H. P. Take the emblems of your office, and see that duty faithfully performed.
The Senior Companion receives from the two kings their seals - the one with
the arms of Jerusalem, the other with the rod of Aaron budding - with which
he closes the tomb, and seals the sepulchre of Hiram Abif.
The High Priest does the same with the seal which represents the arms of
the twelve tribes. Each joins the proper report as pointed out, and the lodge