Late 19th Century Charge: Order of Malta

Graig Huber

Below is a charge from the Order of Malta in the late 1800s. It is worthy of note that at this time, as was mentioned in a previous article, the Order of Malta was the last Order conferred in the Commandery. So at the time of this being given it was given to the Sir Knight right at the conclusion of his progression thru the York Rite. The charge is from “The Beauseant; A Manual for the use of Knights Templar” written by John W. Simmons:

"Sir Knight: You have now passed through the various grades conferred in a Commandery of Knights Templar, and are entitled to the rights and privileges, as well as subject to the rules and regulations that inure to, and govern those who have proceeded you. We trust that you have not lightly assumed the solemn vows her pronounced, and that in good faith it is your purpose to live up to the profession you have espoused, and, so far as strength may be given you, to exemplify, in your daily walk and conversation, the excellent tenets of that faith sealed by the blood of Immanuel.

The valiant Knights, whose name we bear, and whose good deeds it should ever be our pride to emulate, gave up for the sake of that faith all those things men are most prone to value; and went into the battle with a literal determination to conquer or to die. With them it made no difference whether the enemy were one or ten thousand; they had enlisted for a perpetual warfare, and only when there was no longer a single Knight capable of wielding a sword, could the Saracen feel that the victory was his. The progress of light and education in the world have made it improbable that ever again will there be a religious war; hence the Sword in our hands is but a symbol of honor, and a memorial of days passed away forever, but it does not follow that there is nothing for us to do, or that the Christian religion is so firmly established that in needs no further defenders. Right around us are more dangerous enemies than Saladin and his hosts, and even some of those who make the most pretence to piety are but betraying the cause of the Master. The cause still needs soldiers, not in mailed panoply and surrounded by the pomp and circumstance of war, but the heroes of example; men whose ears will ever be open to the cry of distress, who, when a brother stricken down by the vicissitudes of the world appeals for sympathy and assistance, will not pass by on the other side; men to whom the widow and the fatherless can look for that defence the world so commonly refuses; men who may not offer long prayers at the street-corners to be seen of others, who may be unwilling to quarrel over modes of faith, but whose lives, adorned by Christian virtues, whose dealings and whose example are such as all should emulate. If you have resolved to be of these, if in your hands the Templar Sword is to be thus wielded, then indeed may the Order congratulate itself upon you accession to its numbers. Be worthy of the selection. Keep ever in view your vows, and never forget that by our very title, by our love for each other, by our devotion to the principles we profess, by our admiration for the right, and our promise to maintain it, we are bound to keep the field while the enemy is in presence. The legions of vice, ignorance, superstition, and all uncharitableness, are ever before us, seeking not only to undo our work, but to lead us from the straight paths of rectitude into the easy decline that leads to darkness and death. Stand firm against them, and when at last your warfare here is done, when the mandate none may resist, comes to you, death will the page to unbuckle your harness, to relieve you from your armor, and to lead you to that rest prepared from before the foundation of the world."


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