*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.
Copyright: The Skirret, 2015