The ring, as a symbol of the Covenant entered into with the Order, as the wedding ring is the symbol of the Covenant of Marriage, is worn in some of the higher Degrees of Freemasonry. It is not used in Ancient Craft Masonry. In the Order of the Temple the Ring of Profession, as it is called, is of gold, having on it the cross of the Order and the letters P. D. E. P., being the initials of Pro Deo et Patria, For God and Country. It is worn on the index finger of the right hand. The Inspectors General of the Thirty-third Degree of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite wear a ring. Inside is the motto of the Order, Deus meumque jus, God and my right. In the Fourteenth Degree of the same Rite a ring is worn, which is described as "a plain gold ring," having inside the motto, Virtus junxit, mors non separabit, What virtue joins, death cannot separate. The use of the ring as a symbol of a covenant may be traced very far back into antiquity. In this connection (note, Genesis xli, 42). The Romans had a marriage ring, but according to Swinburne, the great canonist, it was of iron, with a jewel of adamant "to signify the durance and perpetuity of the contract. " In reference to rings worn in the higher Degrees of Freemasonry, it may be said that they partake of the double symbolism of power and affection.. The ring, as a symbol of power and dignity, was worn in ancient times by kings and men of elevated rank and office.. Thus Pharaoh bestowed a ring upon Joseph as a mark or token of the power he had conferred upon him, for which reason the people bowed the knee to him. It is in this light that the ring is worn by the Inspectors of the Ancient and Aeeepted Scottish Freemasonry as representing the Sovereigns of the Rite. But those who receive only the Fourteenth Degree, in the same Rite, wear the ring as a symbol of the Covenant of Affection and Fidelity into which they have entered. Up until and including the 1921 Statutes, the rings in the Southern Masonie Jurisdietion, of both the Fourteenth Degree and the Thirty- third Degree, were worn on the right hand. This was the usage in the Southern Jurisdiction always from early lays. At the 1923 Session of the Supreme Council, a new set of Statutes was adopted, which provided among other things that the Fourteenth Degree ring should be worn on the third finger of the left hand and a Thirty-third degree ring on the little finger of the left hand. In the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction, a Fourteenth Degree ring is similarly worn, but the Thirty-third Degree ring is also placed on the third finger of the left hand. While on the subject of the ring as a symbol of Masonic meaning, it will not be irrelevant to refer to the magic ring of King Solomon, of xvhieh both the Jews and the Mohammedans have abundant traditions. The latter, indeed, have a book on magic rings, entitled Scalcuthal, in which they trace the ring of Solomon from Jared, the father of Enoch. It was by means of this ring, as a talisman of wisdom and power, that Solomon was, they say, enabled to perform those wonderful acts anal accomplish those vast enterprises that have made his name so celebrated as the wisest monarch of the earth.
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