Shibboleth: A Templar Monitor, by George Cooper Connor, , at sacred-texts.com
During the period that succeeded the Crusades a civil Knight made a vow to visit the sepulchre of his Lord and Master. Attracted by the chivalrous deeds of the Knights Templar,for their deeds of charity and pure beneficence had spread their fame both far and wide,he sought admission to their ranks, the better to fulfill that vow.
The Prior of the Templars to whom he made his application being satisfied with the report made thereon as to the uprightness of character of the applicant, was moved to grant the prayer of his petition, but as a trial of his worthiness to be enrolled among the members of the valiant and magnanimous Order of the Temple, he enjoined upon him Seven Years of Preparation. These began with an unarmed pilgrimage in the direction of the Holy Shrine. An escort was furnished to guide and protect him. And so, without sword or buckler, and forbidden to do acts unbecoming an humble pilgrim, the journey began. To a man of warlike spirit and chivalrous nature such pilgrimage was indeed a trial of patience and perseverance.
Three years were passed in this weary way, mostly in a friendly country, in which the pilgrim received from pious anchorites bread and water, as well as lessons of comfort and consolation. But day after day his manhood asserted itself with accumulating vigor, when he beheld indignities offered not only to himself, but to other helpless pilgrimsmany of them delicate women. Then he yearned to cast off the garb of a pilgrim, and, laying aside the staff, to grasp the sword and perform deeds of more exalted usefulness. While pleading with his devoted escort for the gratification of his manly ambition he reached a House of the Templars. Three years of his Preparation had passed, and the zealous Knight implored his escort to crave the permission of the Prior to devote the four remaining years to deeds of more exalted usefulness.
The escort was moved by his entreaties, vouched for him to the Prior that he had performed full three years of Preparation, made his burning desires known, and cordially recommended him to official favor. The avouchment of his escort secured the favorable consideration of the Prior, who, after putting him under vows, granted him permission to take up sword and buckler, and go forth under escort of a Templar warrior, manfully wielding his sword in the defense of innocent maidens, destitute widows, helpless orphans and the Christian religion. And such a warfare was indeed a trial of his constancy and courage.
As a warrior this gallant Knight pressed forward with fortitude undaunted, giving ample proof to his warrior escort that he was worthy to draw the sword in the cause to which he had consecrated it. But his deeds of valor soon created in him an ardent desire to be admitted to where honors and rewards await the results of valor and chivalry. He met armed Templars gallantly defending the dangerous passes of his route, and he yearned to be admitted to their ranks.
[paragraph continues] Three years more passed in this vigorous warfare, and at the close of the third year he reached another House of the Templars. Then he besought his warrior guide to implore the Prior to remit the remaining year of his Preparation.
The warrior escort presented the petition to the Prior, vouched for the valor, courage and constancy of the petitioner, and that he had faithfully performed six of his seven years of Preparation, and even recommended that the remission asked for be granted, if it should so please the Prior. And though the Prior was moved by the recital of the deeds of valor wrought by the petitioner, and by the history of his courage and constancy, he could not shorten the time of Preparation laid on him at the beginning. Moreover, he feared that the memory of those acts of valor filled his heart with pride, and that self-confidence had supplanted an humble reliance upon the strong arm of the Master. He therefore commanded the petitioner to devote the remaining year of Preparation to penitence, as a trial of his faith and humility.
With the accomplishment of the penitential year the term of preparation ended, and the devoted neophyte was permitted to seal his faith and enlist under the banner of the Temple and of Emmanuel.
At the death of De Molai the ancient Order of the Temple was suppressed and its members dispersed. The warlike spirit that gave it birth has passed away, but in this modern Order of the Temple there remains a spirit of refined and moral chivalry which should prompt all of its members to be ever ready to defend the weak, the innocent, the helpless and the oppressed; and in a brother's cause to do all that may be demanded by manhood and fraternity.