An honorary or side Degree once commonly conferred in the United States. The communication of it was not accompanied, it is true, with any impressive ceremonies, but it inculates a lesson of unfaltering friendship which the prospect of danger could not appall, and the hour of adversity could not betray. It is, in fact, devoted to the practical elucidation of the Masonic virtue of Brotherly Love. In conferring it, those passages of Scripture which are contained in the twentieth chapter of the First Book of Samuel, from the sixteenth to the twenty-third, and from the thirty-fifth to the forty-second verses inclusive, are usually considered as appropriate.
It may be conferred on a worthy Master Mason by any Brother who is in possession of its Ritual. There was in Holland, in 1778, a secret Masonic society called the Order of Jonathan and David, which was probably much the same as this American Degree. Kloss in his Catalogue, of 1844, gives the title of a book published in that year at Amsterdam which gives its statutes and formulary of reception.
The Grand Recorder W. C. Spratling, of London, England, where a Grand Council of the Order of the Secret Monitor was formed on June 17, 1887, has furnished information from which the following notes have been prepared.
He has found that the Order of the Secret Monitor is developed from a still more ancient Degree known as the Brotherhood of Dated and Jonathan, and is at least as old as Freemasonry itself, its principles and watch-words being founded upon the examples set by the two Hebrew Princes, as recorded in the his history and traditions of the Jews. He points out that it is often forgotten that the Israelites, slaves in Egypt for more than four hundred years, absorbed much of the ancient lore of their taskmasters who long before Jewish history begins, were already an ancient race in an advanced state of civilization. They indeed trace their mysteries as a heritage Mom a still more ancient people who overran Asia Minor long before the dawn of written history.
Brother Spratling says that Statutes covering such a Body as the above are on record in Amsterdam having the date of 1773 and indicating that the organization had been founded three years earlier. Further traces of this brotherhood of David and Jonathan are found in ] 77S hut the working of the degree seems to have had its development in the United States where it was carried by immigrants to view Amsterdam and from thence it spread through the Republic in a very simple form and capable of considerable variation. However, the prevailing ceremonies were adopted and then somewhat adapted for English use by the Grand Council in that country. The Degree had been communicated to any Master Mason with little ceremony at any time or place. In this way it was communicated to the following Brethren at or about the dates mentioned;
1840--Dr. Issachar Zacharie in California. 1845--Colonel Shadwell E. Clerke, in Malta. 1846--James Lewis Thomas, in St. Vincent, the West Indies. 1848--Rev. J. Oxley Oxland, M.A., in Jerusalem 1865--Charles Fitzgerald Alatier, by an American passing through London. Three Degrees have been prepared for use in England. The Council of Allied Masonic Degrees in the United States and the similar Body in England have also worked the Secret Monitor, but independently.
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