The Fourth Degree: Secret Master


        *THE FOURTH DEGREE 
           (SECRET MASTER) 
   All of us present tonight, have received the "Ineffable Degrees" of
the Scottish Rite, but many of us have not the slightest idea what an
"Ineffable" Degree is, much less how to spell it.  Tonight, for a short
while, we will speak about the first of the Ineffable Degrees, The
Fourth Degree (Secret Master), and the lessons therewith inculcated.  
   First, let us describe what ineffable is.  According to the Random
House College Dictionary, it is something that, (1.) cannot be expressed
or described, inexpressible, unspeakable.  (2.)  not to be spoken,
unutterable.  I interpret that as something that is not to be taken or
spoken of lightly, something to be revered and honored.  You will have
to make or interpret it in your own words.
   This degree originated with King Solomon, immediately after the
assassination of Hiram Abiff.  King Solomon selected seven of the most
worthy and expert Brothers from the Craft, and appointed them guardians
of the Sanctum Sanctorum, and all things therein contained.  They were
called "Secret Masters" and in due time were advanced to a higher
degree, and as vacancies were thus created, others were elected to fill
their places.
   The duties of this degree are:  Practice silence, obedience,
fidelity.  The lessons:  That the teachings of Masonry are not to be
taken lightly, Learning far outlasts physical monuments, and duties are
not to be performed expecting reward-but expecting personal
satisfaction.  


    Reflection: May one command who does not know how to obey?

   Let us talk briefly about two of the above:  Duty and Command
(Leadership).
                                   DUTY
   DUTY IS THE ONE GREAT LAW OF MASONRY.  We are informed in the 3rd
Degree that we have three great duties:  To God, our neighbors, and
ourselves.  We further define duty as:
      INFLEXIBLE AS FATE AND EXACTING AS NECESSITY,    
           RISING WITH US IN THE MORNING AND
           WATCHING AT OUR PILLOWS AT NIGHT
     DUTY IS WITH US ALWAYS, IMPERATIVE AS DESTINY.
  In every degree, we receive and are confronted with our duty
directly or reminded of it via the opening and closing ritual or the
characterization of such heroic figures as Hiram Abiff, King Solomon,
John H. Jones Jr., our own James A. Mingo, men who personify, in every
fashion of the word, DUTY.  When we consider the times and trials these
men and others like them have faced, it becomes clear that their love of
duty provided them with the strength to not only survive, but prosper. 
Humble men, for duty need not brag or boast, it can be and readily is,
seen by all that can observe.  Throughout Morals and Dogma, duty is
discussed in a multitude of arenas - the Lodge, the Masonic fraternity,
the family, the community, the country and the world.  To complete that
thought, the following is offered:
   "Out of all the relations of life, duty grows as naturally and as
          undeniably as the leaves grow upon the trees." 

              LEADERSHIP
     "PREPARE YOURSELF TO COMMAND, BY LEARNING TO OBEY."
   What does this mean?  All too often, we vie and fight for positions
and titles and do not have a clue on how to be a good, effective leader. 
In order to lead, WE MUST KNOW HOW TO SERVE!  There is no such thing as
a born leader.  Leaders learn from others those traits necessary for
effective management.  In fact, a Leader serves his people.  Too many
want to be "In Charge", and "In Control".  If a leader serves well, all
will BE well.  Too many times we place those in position that had been
a source of antagonism, stating "When I am in charge......" yet when
presented with the opportunity to help the one ALREADY IN CHARGE, they
fail to do so.  This is the first one to want your support.  If we
profess to be such "Pillars of the Community", we need to be about the
work of SERVING OTHERS, no matter what capacity.  Remember always that
we are all subordinate to the Laws of Masonry, our country and God.  

                                   Stanley R. Conyer
                                   10/08/91

*Adapted freely from the following:  A Bridge To Light, and the Book of
The Scottish Rite.