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Shibboleth: A Templar Monitor, by George Cooper Connor, [1894], at

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The Grand Encampment, at its Triennial Conclave, Denver, 1892, gave its sanction to the Christmas Toast and Response, which had been inaugurated by Sir Stephen Berry, of Portland, Maine, and it made him Chairman of the Committee, ad vitam! He is charged with the duty of annually preparing the sentiment.


On Christmas Day the Knights will assemble in their Asylum one hour before the official Hour of Observance, without uniforms. The hours are:

Eastern Time, 12 noon.

Central Time, 11 o'clock.

Western Time, 10 o'clock.

Pacific Time, 9 o'clock.

The Triangle will be placed in position, on which will be twelve goblets, also one on the pedestal of the Commander. Glasses will be provided for all the Templars present.

Allowing a sufficient time in which to perform the following exercises before the Official Hour arrives, the Commander, Prelate and Recorder will take their stations, the Knights will be seated as usual, and the Commander will sound his gavel.



1. Hark the herald! angels sing
Glory to the new born king;
Peace on earth, and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled.

2. See He lays his glory by;
Born that man no more may die,
Born to raise the sons of earth;
Born to give them second birth!

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3. Hail the holy Prince of peace!
Hail, the Son of righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings,
Risen with healing in His wings!

More elaborate Music may be used if desired by the participants.

EC.—Excellent Prelate, read us the old, old story.

Prelate reads Isaiah xi: I-5; Matthew is 18; Luke ii: 4, 18-14.

P.—And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots. And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord; and shall make of him quick understanding in the fear of the Lord; and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears.

With righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth; and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.

*    *    *

Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: when as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to publicly expose her, was minded to put her away privily.

But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife; for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And

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she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS; for he shall save his people from their sins.

Now all this came to pass, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

*    *    *

And Joseph went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem.

And lo, an angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them; and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, fear not: for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. * * * And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

Choir.—Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will among men.

Then shall be sung in an adjacent room, but which singing must be quite distinct in the Asylum, a solo:


1. Lo! a star, ye sages hoary;
Lo! a wondrous star above!
He is born, the King of glory,
He, our wondrous star of love.

2. Lord of life, Redeemer, Master,
Loud the shepherd's welcome rolls,
He is born, the people's shepherd,
Aye, the shepherd of our souls.

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Choir—(Arranged as an Anthem.)

Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host,
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

If sung in long measure merely, all Templars present should join.

EC.—Sir Knights, on this joyous day we commemorate the Birth of JESUS of Nazareth, Emmanuel, author of our salvation, and the Great Captain under whose Banner all of us have enlisted.

On this day 189— years ago, there was born in Bethlehem of Judea, one who laid aside the god-head, and assumed mortal flesh; one whose glory, worth and grace no language can express; one who was horn that our lives might be purified, and who died that our souls might be redeemed from the penalty of sin.

Let us, as true Soldiers of the Cross, strive to profit by the birth, life, death, resurrection and ascension of that divine Master, and remain His faithful soldiers unto death. Seeking strength to continue that struggle let us now accompany our Excellent Prelate to the throne of the heavenly grace. Excellent Prelate, lead our devotions.

All arise, then kneel on the right knee, and how heads.

The Excellent Prelate will offer the following


Almighty and most merciful Father, remember us with pity, we beseech thee, and blot out the multitude of our transgressions, for thy beloved son's sake. And may the words of our mouths, and the meditations of our hearts be acceptable in thy sight, through Jesus Christ, our Lord.


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Father in heaven command thy blessing to rest upon all true Knights of the Temple wherever dispersed; bestow upon them a spirit of Truth, Justice, Courage, Constancy, Faith and Humility, and make of them valiant defenders of thy holy religion. Teach them to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and bind up the wounds of the afflicted, for Jesus' sake.


O Lord command thy benediction to rest upon our Grand Master. Help him to rule over us in love, and with an eye single to thy glory. Save him from error, prejudice and pride; and while giving him firmness of purpose to do right, help him to know the right, for Christ's sake.


Father, let thy choicest blessings be with the President of the United States, and upon all in authority over us. Endue them with wisdom from on high, and may it be their chiefest joy to labor for thy glory, and the good of the people for whom they legislate, and over whom they rule. Which we ask in the name of Jesus, Emmanuel.


If there are any minutes to spare, conversation and congratulations will now occur, while twelve Knights are being selected to form around the Triangle. At exactly five minutes before the Official Hour the Eminent Commander will sound his gavel, when all will he seated.

The Eminent Commander will then say:

EC.—Let the chosen twelve form around the Triangle. (Done) .

Let the water be poured into the goblets on the Triangle, and on the Pedestal. (Done).

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Let every Knight be furnished with a prepared goblet. (Done)

Thus prepared, there will be silence until two minutes before the Hour. This Monitor does not suggest what the fluid shall be, save at the Triangle, and on the Commander's pedestal. Some will prefer wine, some water. The writer simply suggests to his Fratres that even a semblance of intemperance should not be witnessed within an Asylum of Knights Templar. Just two minutes before the hour:


EC.—Sir Knights, arise! Sir Knight Recorder, read the sentiment.

The Recorder will read the sentiment, clear and loud.

EC.—(On the first stroke of the Hour.) To our Grand Master! Drink.

The Knights repeat," To our Grand Master," and drink.

EC.—Sir Knight Recorder, read Grand Master' s Response.

The Recorder will read the Response in a clear, loud voice.


The Eminent Commander will then offer the following Toasts, which will be drank in the same manner as that to the Grand Master.

1. To the Grand Commander, Knights Templar, of —

2. To all Knights Templar wherever dispersed.

3. To all Knights Templar who have shed their blood in defense of liberty and Christianity. (Silence, and heads bowed; no drinking).

4. To the Grand Master of Masons in —

5. To the Grand High Priest of the Royal Arch Chapter of —

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EC.—Let us recall the virtues of the Fratres of our own jurisdiction who have joined the silent majority.

The Knights at the Triangle will lay their goblets on the Triangle.

EC.—In memory of the dead of this jurisdiction during the year 189—

The Knights at the Triangle will drop on the right knee, all the Knights will bow their heads, and then will be sung, in soft tones, by the Choir:

Nearer, my God to thee
    Nearer to thee!
E’en though it be a cross
    That raiseth me;
Still all my song shall be,
Nearer, my God to thee,
    Nearer to thee!

EC.—Sir Knights, arise. We have been refreshed by these hallowed memories, now let us receive the benediction of our Excellent Prelate.


P.—May the Lord bless thee and keep thee; may the Lord make His face to shine upon thee and be gracious unto thee; may the Lord lift up His countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.


End of the Observance.

Next: Form of Recorder's Minutes