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Prince of Mercy

The title in French is Prince de Merci. The Twenty-sixth Degree of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, called also Scottish Trinitarian or Ecossais Trinitaire. It is one of the eight Degrees which were added on the organization of the Scottish Rite to the original twenty-five of the Rite of Perfection.

It is a Christian Degree in its construction, and treats of the triple covenant of mercy which God made with man; first with Abraham by circumcision; next, with the Israelites in the wilderness, by the intermediation of Moses; and lastly, with all mankind, by the death and sufferings of Jesus Christ. It is in allusion to these three acts of mercy, that the Degree derives its two names of Scottish Trinitarian and Prince of Mercy, and not, as Ragon supposes, from any reference to the Fathers of Mercy, a religious society formerly engaged in the ransoming of Christian captives at Algiers. Chemin Dupontes (Memoire Sur l'Ecossisime, page 373) says that the Scottish Rituals of the Degree are too full of the Hermetic philosophy, an error from which the French Cahiers are exempt; and he condemns much of its doctrines as "hyperbolique plaisanteric. " But the modern rituals as now practiced are obnoxious to no such objection. The symbolic development of the number three of course constitutes a large part of its lecture; but the real dogma of the Degree is the importance of Truth, and to this all its ceremonies are directed.

Bodies of the Degree are called Chapters. The presiding officer is called Most Excellent Chief Prince, the Wardens are styled Excellent. In the old rituals these officers represented Moses, Aaron, and Eleazar; but the abandonment of these personations in the modern rituals was in the opinion of Doctor Mackey an improvement. The apron is red bordered with white, and the jewel is an equilateral triangle, within which is a heart. This was formerly inscribed with the Hebrew letter tau, now with the letters I.H.S.; and, to add to the Christianization which these letters give to the Degree, the American Councils have adopted a tessera in the form of a small fish of ivory or mother-of-pearl, in allusion to the well-known usage practices of the primitive Christians (see Tessera Hospitalis, and Mark).



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