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Royal Arch Tracing-board

The oldest Royal Arch Tracing-Board extant is one which was formerly the property of a Chapter in the City of Chester, and which Doctor Oliver thinks was "used only a very few years after the degree was admitted into the system of constitutional Masonry. " He has given a copy of it in his work on the Origin of the English Royal Arch. The symbols which it displays are, in the center of the top an arch scroll, with the words in Greek, EN APXH HN O AOrO2, that is, In the beginning was the Fork; beneath, the word Jehovah written in Cabalistic letters; on the right side an Arch and keystone, a rope falling in it, and a sun darting its rays obliquely; on the left a pot of incense beneath a rainbow; in the center of the tracing-board, two interlaced triangles and a sun in the center, all surrounded by a circle; on the right and left of this the seven-branched candlestick and the table of shewbread. Beneath all, on three scrolls, are the words, Solomon, Ring of Israel; Hiram, King of Tyre; Hiram, the Widow's Son, in Hebrew and Latin. Doctor Oliver finds in these emblems a proof that the Royal Arch was originally taken from the Master's Degree, because they properly belong to that Degree, according to the English lecture, and here afterward restored to it. But the American Freemason will find in this board how little his system has varied from the primitive one practiced at Chester, since all the emblems, with the exception of the last three, are still recognized as Royal Arch symbols according to the American system.



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