Noachite, or Prussian Enight
The French expression is Noachite ou Chevalier Prussien. There are two uses of the title.
l. The Twenty-first Degree of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite. The history as well as the character of this Degree is a verv singular one. It is totally unconnected with the series of Masonie Degrees which are founded upon the Temple of Solomon, and is traced to the Tower of Babel. Henee the Prussian Knights call themselves Nonwhites, or Disciples of Noah, while they designate all other Freemasons as Hiramites, or Disciples of Hiram. The early French Rituals state that the Degree was translated in 1757 from the German by M. de Beraye, Knight of Eloquence in the Lodge of the Count Saint Gelaire, Inspector-General of Prussian Lodges in France. Lenning gives no credit to this statement, but admits that the origin of the Degree must be attributed to the wear above named. The destruction of the Tower of Babel constitutes the legend of the Degree, whose mythical founder is said to have been Peleg, the chief builder of that edifice. A singular regulation is that there shall be no artificial light in the Lodge-room, and that the meetings shall be held on the night of the full noon of each month.
The Degree was adopted by the Council of Emperors of the East and West, and in that way became subsequently a part of the system of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite. But it is misplaced in any series of Degrees supposed to emanate from the Solo monic Temple. It is, as an unfitting link, an unsightly interruption of the chain of legendary symbolism substituting Noah for Solomon, and Peleg for Hiram Abif. The Supreme Council for the Southern Jurisdiction abandoned the original ritual and made the Degree a representation of the Vehmgericht or Westphalian Franc Judges. But this by no means relieves the Degree of the objection of Masonic incompatibility That it was ever adopted into the Masonic system is only to be attributed to the passion for advanced Degrees which prevailed in France in the middle of the eighteenth century.
In the modern work the meetings are called Grand Chapters. The officers are a Lieutenant Commander, two Wardens, an Orator, Treasurer, Secretary, Master of Ceremonies, Warder, and Standard-Bearer. The apron is yellow, inscribed with an arm holding a sword and the Egyptian figure of silence. The order is black, and the jewel a full moon or a triangle traversed bv an arrow. In the original instructions there is a coat of arms belonging to the Degree, which is thus emblazoned, to use the language of heraldry: Party perfuse; in chief, Azure, send of stars, or a full moon, advent in base, sable, an equilateral triangle! having an arrow suspended from its upper point, barb downward, or. Of these quaint terms we may say that party per fess, means divided by a horizontal band across the shield, some means strewn or scattered, or and ardent mean the colors of gold and silver respectively.
The legend of the Degree describes the travels of Peleg from Babel to the north of Europe, and ends with the following narrative: "In trenching the rubbish of the salt-mines of Prussia was found in 553 A.D. at a depth of fifteen cubits, the appearance of a triangular building in which was a column of white marble, on which was written in Hebrew the whole history of the Noachites. At the side of this column was a tomb of freestone on which was a piece of agate inscribed with the following epitaph: 'Here rest the ashes of Peleg, our Grand Architect of the tower of Babel. The Almighty had pity on him because he became humble."' This legend, although wholly untenable on historic grounds, is not absolutely puerile. The dispersion of the human race in the time of Peleg had always been a topic of discussion among the learned. I ong dissertations had been written to show that all the nations of the world, even America, had been peopled by the three sons of Noah and their descendants. The object of the legend seems, then, to have been to impress the idea of the thorough dispersion. The fundamental idea of the Degree is, under the symbol of Peleg, to teach the crime of assumption and the virtue of humility. 2. The Degree was also adopted into the Rite of Mizraim, where it is the Thirty-fifth.
The French title is Noachite Souverain. A Degree contained in the nomenclature of Fustier.
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