NOACHITE, OR PRUSSIAN KNIGHT
The Twenty-first Grade of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, and the
Third Degree of the Historical and Philosophical Series.
Whosoever hath been wronged by the great, or oppressed by the powerful; whosoever
hath been unjustly accused, or his household outraged; whosoever hath fallen
into the hands of corrupt judges; whosoever hath suffered by bribery or
extortion; let him come freely forward and prefer his complaint, and right
shall be done him by the Grand Chapter of Prussian Knights, from whose judgment
there is no appeal; - coming from the North and the South, the East and the
West, to hear the complaints of the oppressed, judge the guilty, and teach
men how to be free.
As Knight and Mason, it is our bounden duty to shield and protect the innocent,
as it is to assist the distressed ; and that, while rendering justice, we
remember our vows, believing all guiltless until convicted; and yet, while
it is the obligation that formally makes a Mason, a violation of that vow
by an overt guilty or wilful act dissolves the knot of our alliance, and,
without the form of trial, we cease to be of the Brotherhood.
Whatever be our rank, if we wilfully err, we have no claims upon a brother
or the Order, either in sustaining us in that error - whatever may be its
advantages - or in relieving us from its consequences.
The members are denominated Knights or Prussian Masons. The mysteries for
the initiation are only to be celebrated when the moon is at its full. None
to be admitted but Masons. At the time of the Crusades the Knights of the
various nations were confederated in Palestine, and mutually communicated
their secrets in Masonry. The Prussian Knights initiated the Christian Princes
and their attendants who were Masons.
THE CHAPTER-ITS DECORATIONS, ETC
Bodies of this degree are styled GRAND CHAPTERS.
The apartment in which the reception takes place must not be in a confined
situation, as the only light permitted is from the moon.
A Grand Chapter must he held in this retired place, on the night of the full
moon, in each lunar month. The place is lighted by a large window or opening,
so arranged as to admit the rays of the moon, the only light allowed, at
as early an hour of the night as practicable.
This presiding officer is styled "Lieutentant Commander." The Commander is
unknown to the members. The other officers are - the Warden of the North,
the Warden of the South, the Orator, styled "Knight of Eloquence," the Secretary,
styled "Knight of the Chancery," the Treasurer, styled "Knight of the Finances,"
the Master of Ceremonies, the Warder, who acts as Captain of the Guards,
and the Standard Bearer, who stands at the right hand of the Lieutenant
Commander. The Knights are styled "Prussian Knight-Masons"
The dress is mainly black. except the gloves and apron: with sword and spurs.
The members of this degree wear their swords, aprons, and gloves, trimmed
with yellow, and their jewels pendant by a black ribbon to a button of their
The order is a broad black ribbon, worn from right to left; and the jewel
is a golden triangle traversed by an arrow, point downward, suspcndcd from
the collar. On the jewel is an arm upraised. holding a naked sword, and around
it the motto, "FIAT JUSTITIA RUAT COELUM"
The apron and gloves are yellow. On the upper part of the apron is an arm,
naked and upraised, holding a naked sword; and under it a human figure, erect,
with wings, the forefinger of his right hand on his lips, and the other arm
hanging, by his side, holding, a key in the left hand being the Egyptian
figure of Silence.
The blazonry of this degree is: 1st. Azure, a inoon argent, surrounded with
stars or; 2d. Sable, an equilateral triangle traversed by an arrow or.
The statutes of the Order forbid holding a Table Lodge.
The form of the assembled Lodge is triangular, and an arrow with its point
towards the earth is the symbol. The members should be ranged on each side
forming an avenue; the Master in front facing the moon.
The chapter is opened by the G. C. striking thrice with the blade of the
sword, and returning it to the scabbard. He then raises his hand towards
the moon, the brethren doing the same, and, in this posture, declares that
the chapter is lighted. The Knights examine the drawing until the candidate
is properly prepared for introduction. He is to be uncovered, without a sword,
and to wear a white apron and gloves. The drawing is to be divided into two
apartments the ground of one is blue, a silver moon and -olden stars are
to be depicted on it; the other is black, with a triangle and a golden arrow
The Knight of Introduction, who precedes the candidate, strikes thrice ;
and the Knight of Defence, whose department is to take care of the avenues,
announces him by one on the inside, opens the door, and demands, the secret
of the order, which is delivered and reported to the Grand Commander who
replies :-The Worthy Knight is at liberty to enter, if he be alone ; but
if accompanied it remains for him to be acquainted with the motives that induce
his companion to wish for admittance. This is answered, that it is a master
who is desirous of being admitted a Prussian Mason.
L. C. Let him enter and be examined.
The Knights draw their swords, and present the points to candidate.
L. C. I declare, brave Knights, that he is worthy of your countenance. Give
me your assent [which is done]. Brother N---, will you renounce pride all
the days of your life?
Candidate. I promise so to do.
L. C. Dost thou agree and promise that thou wilt be just and righteous, and
in all things strive to emulate that Patriarch from whom we take the name
of Noachites; who, alone with his family, was found worthy to be saved, when
God destroyed mankind with the Deluge?
Candidate. I promise so to do.
L. C. Dost thou promise that thou wilt be neither haughty nor vain-glorious;
nor obsequious to the great, nor insolent to thy inferiors?
Candidate. I promise so to do.
L. C. Dost thou promise that thou wilt be humble and contrite before the
Deity; and ever bear in mind the fate of Phaleg and his followers, who endeavored
to build a tower whereby they might climb beyond the reach of another Deluge,
and defy the omnipotence of God?
Candidate. I promise so to do.
L. C. Dost thou promise, as a member of this Tribunal, to give righteous
judgment only, against all persons whomsoever; to, be impartial between the
high and the low; to be cautious and slow to determine, and prompt to execute;
to smite the oppressor and the wrong-doer, and protect the widow, the orphan,
the poor, and the helpless; to be swayed neither by bribe nor fear, nor favor
nor affection; and still to temper justice with mere , remembering that there
is no man who doth not err and sin?
Candidate. I promise so to do.
L. C. Example is far superior to precept ; commence your career with an act
The candidate is led to the feet of the Grand Command by three reverences
on his left knee, and being prostrate be him, is commanded to kiss the pommel
of his sword. Before he is permitted to rise the Knight of Eloquence addresses
him on the subject of vanity, and draws his conclusions on the evil consequences
attending it from, the example of Peleg and Solomon.
L. C. Do you promise upon the faith of a Mason, to keep the secrets with
which I shall entrust you, on the conditions -,first, that you will never
reveal to any of the children Adam the mysteries of our order; second, that
you will sociate with us in future ; third, that you will never suffer at
the peril of your life any man to wear the Jewel of this order, unless he
makes himself known to you as a Prussian Mason?
Candidate. I engage myself to fulfil the prescribed condition
L. C. Knight of Eloquence you are at liberty to make known the history of
our excellent order.
K. E. To every Prussian Mason be it known notwithstanding the recent
vengeance which the Deity had taken up mankind for
their iniquities, by causing universal deluge notwithstanding the Deity had
given the rainbow as a sign reconciliation, vouchsafing that favour declared
that the world should not be again destroyed by waters, the descendants Noah,
from their want of faith in the divine prediction, being apprehensive of
a second deluge, said,-Let us build a city whose top may reach the heavens,
and let us make a name lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the earth.
To accomplish their designs, they began to erect a high tower in plain of
Shinar; but this enterprise being displeasing in the
eye of their Maker, as tending to frustrate or delay the execution of his
design, that mankind should not always continue together, he obliged them
to discontinue the project, by confounding their language, so that one could
not understand another.
From this circumstance the city took its name of Babel,
which signifies confusion; and a dispersion of the people and a planting
of nations ensued. It was on the night of the full moon that the Lord worked
this wonder, in remembrance of which, the Noahites hold their lodges at this
season. The architect was named Peleg; at least, it was he who gave the idea
of this building. As a punishment for his contumacy, and the presumption
of his brethren, he was deprived of his speech; and to avoid the outrages
of his companions, who considered him as the cause of the failure of their
design, he travelled into countries remote from Shinar, and from thence,
only by moonlight, as he was fearful of massacre if his person were recognised.
His place of retirement was Prussia, where having, erected a triangular dwelling,
he, by humiliation, and contrition for the part he had taken in the plain
of Shinar, obtained remission for his sins, and had his speech restored to
This dwelling of Peleg's was discovered fifteen cubits
deep from the surface of the earth, in the year 553. In it was found a stone
of white marble, on which was inscribed the particulars I have related in
the Hebrew tongue, and, adjacent was the following epitaph :.-Here repose
the ashes of the grand architect of the tower of Babel. The Lord had pity
on him because he became humble.
Thus we communicate our grand secret to you, unknown to every one but ourselves.
We trust it to you with pleasure. Misfortune to you, if you are weak enough
to transcribe it. Be circumspect, and for that purpose practise humility,
after the example of our grand architect.
The knights sheath their swords, and the candidate is invested with his.
The Jewel is tied to the button of his waistcoat. His apron and gloves are
decorated with yellow borders and he is entrusted with the Sign, grip, word,
The ceremony is concluded by the L. C. observing, that the lodge is obscured,
and that it is time to retire. A table lighted `with candles is introduced,
and, if a supper be provided it is to consist wholly of vegetables.
Q. Who are you?
A. Tell me who you are, and I will tell you who I am
Q. Do you know the children of Noah?
A. I know three of them.
Q. Who are they?
A I particularise them by their initials S H J.
Q. Tell me the words.
A. Begin and I will reply.
Q. Shem, Ham.
Q. What does this letter signify?
A. The initial letter of the secret word.
Q. Present the signs.
A. The arms extended towards the moon, and the face towards the east.
Q. Why is the face towards the east?
A. Because it is the part in which the moon rises.
Q. Give me the grip.
A. The hand is clenched thrice.
Q. Deliver the pass-word.
Q. How do you know the architect of the tower of Babel
A. I have mentioned him.
Q. Who acquainted you with his history?
A. The Knight of Eloquence.
Q. In what lodge?
A. In a lodge where the moon gave light.
Q. Was this edifice praiseworthy?
A. It was not, as it was never completed.
Q. What is the reason to be assigned?
A. The foundation was laid in pride.
Q. Is it to imitate the children of Noah that you retain your memory?
A. No; but to avoid the danger which they experienced.
Q. Where were the remains of Peleg deposited?
A. In a tomb.
Q. Was he not considered a reprobate?
A. No. The stone on his remains informs us that his Creator had mercy on
him on account of his subsequent humility.
Q. In what manner were you received a Prussian Mason?
A. By, three humiliations, and by kissing the pommel of the sword of the
Grand Lieutenant Commander.
Q. Why did you submit to these humiliations?
A. As a proof of my obedience to the dictates enjoined in this degree.
Q. Why do knights wear a triangle?
A. In memory of the temple of Peleg.
Q. Why is the arrow reserved in the centre of it?
A. In remembrances of the remission that took place from his contrition,
and that the cup of wrath was turned away from him.
L. C. So may it be turned aside from all his successors
To be Delivered after the Ceremony, but before the Lodge is closed, for
the instruction of the newly made Prussian Knight-Mason.
The Knights of this Order originally united themselves together in the times
of the Crusades; when, in consequence of the general disorder that prevailed
all over Europe, and the multitude of estates and titles left to be disputed,
wrong and violence went unrebuked, and became superior to the law.
Composed at first of a few Masons, who had learned the rules of justice from
the teachings of the Order, they exerted only a moral influence, owing to
the purity of their lives and the justice of their opinions. They called
themselves Noachite Masons; because they strove to imitate the primeval justice
and purity of the beloved Patriarch. Finding that where their influence was
most needed, mere advice and exhortation, addressed to the rude Barons and
haughty rapacious priesthood, had no effect, they assumed the power to enforce
performance of their judgments; and through the common people and a multitude
of the poorer Knights who had found the benefit of their protection, and
who revered their justice, they found a ready means of compelling obedience
and inflicting punishment. Their number was limited, and their persons unknown.
They met always at night, when the moon was full; and the more perfectly
to remain unknown, allowed no light but hers.
Lest their own members should become haughty and vain-glorious on account
of the mysterious power they possessed, they inculcated humility, and incessantly
reminded each other of that haughtiness and pride which led the descendants
of Noah to erect the Tower of Babel; and of the miseries of Peleg, who suggested
the idea of its building, and who therefore condemned himself to a rigorous
penitence, and buried himself in the vast solitudes of Northern Germany,
in what is now the kingdom of Prussia, where he is said to have builded a
temple in the shape of a Delta, and therein to have passed his life, imploring
the mercy of God.
The Order was popularly known as the Holy Vehmne, and even kings trembled
at its judgments. It continued to exercise its vast powers until law and
civilization rendered them no longer necessary; but the Order still continued
to exist, deciding Masonic controversies only and inflicting no other than
Masonic punishments. As in time the Order came to flourish, particularly
in Prussia, the members took the name of Prussian Knights.
The Chapters of this degree are no longer tribunals to try and punish for
offences committed without the limits of Masonry. They claim no jurisdiction
except between their own members, and exercise none between those of the
inferior degrees, except by their consent. And in all their judgments it
is their rule and duty to judge of other men's motives and actions by the
same rules by which they judge their own; to believe others equally as honest
in their views as themselves; and to find for the conduct of others the same
excuses that they find for their own; for this alone is justice. And they
prove their humility by their tolerance; which causes them to believe that
their opinions are as likely to be erroneous as the opinions of others to
the contrary, and that the Deity alone knows what is truth.
They meet only on the nights of the full moon, and allow no other light than
hers, because such was the ancient custom of the Order, derived from the
mysteries of Ceres and the old worship of Isis. In the heavenly host they
admire the work of the Supreme Creator, and the universal laws of harmony
and motion, the first two laws that emanated from God.
L. C. By the authority vested in me as Lieutenant Commander of this Lodge
of Prussian-Knight Masons, and the humble representative of our Grand Commander
I now close this lodge of Noahites.