General Ahiman Rezon, by Daniel Sickels, , at sacred-texts.com
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CORN. WINE. OIL.
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Geometry, the first and noblest of sciences, is the basis on which the superstructure of Freemasonry is erected. By Geometry, we may curiously trace Nature through her various windings, to her most concealed recesses. By it, we discover the power, wisdom, and goodness of the GRAND ARTIFICER of the universe, and view with delight the proportions which connect this vast machine. By it, we discover how the planets move in their respective orbits, and demonstrate their various revolutions. By it, we account for the return of the seasons, and the variety of scenes which each season displays to the discerning eye. Numberless worlds are around us, all framed by the same Divine Artist, which roll through the vast expanse, and are all conducted by the same unerring law of Nature.
A survey of Nature, and the observation of her
beautiful proportions, first determined man to imitate the divine plan, and study symmetry and order. This gave rise to societies, and birth to every useful art. The architect began to design; and the plans which he laid down, being improved by time and experience, have produced works which are the admiration of every age.
The lapse of time, the ruthless hand of ignorance, and the devastations of war, have laid waste and destroyed many valuable monuments of antiquity, on which the utmost exertions of human genius have been employed. Even the Temple of Solomon, so spacious and magnificent, and constructed by so many celebrated artists, escaped not the unsparing ravages of barbarous force. Freemasonry, notwithstanding, has still survived. The Attentive Ear receives the sound from the Instructive Tongue, and the mysteries of Masonry are safely lodged in the repository of Faithful Breasts. Tools and implements of architecture and symbolic emblems, most expressive are selected by the Fraternity, to imprint on the mind wise and serious truths; and thus, through a succession of ages, are transmitted unimpaired the most excellent tenets of our institution.
The lecture closes by paying profound homage to the sacred name of the Grand Geometrician of the Universe, before whom all Masons, from the youngest E. A., who stands in the north-east corner of the Lodge, to the W. M., who presides in the East, humbly, reverently, and devoutly bow.
154:* Astronomy stands confessedly the most exalted and sublime science that has ever been cultivated by man. By this divine science, the Grand Architect of the Universe leas enabled the mind of man, not only to view his wonderful omnipotency in a much stronger light than he could otherwise effect, but also to demonstrate, even to the skeptic, if any such exist, that nothing less than the Almighty power could establish such innumerable systems of the heavenly bodies, and place them at their relative distances, and finally keep the whole in universal order. To view the starry firmament without this science, mankind are impressed with a reverential awe of heavenly wisdom; but when we explore the science with its demonstrative truths, we are lost in astonishment at the boundless fields of ether, where those vast systems are placed. In short, it is by the help of this sublime science that mankind are enabled to plough the trackless ocean—to traverse the sandy waste of the immense desert; by commerce to civilize rude and savage nations—to unite men of all countries, sects, and opinions—and conciliate true friendship among persons who would otherwise have remained at an immense distance asunder.
154:† The passages of Scripture which are referred to in this part of the section will be found in JUDGES xii. 1-6. The Vulgate version gives a paraphrastic p. 155 translation of a part of the sixth verse, as follows: "Say, therefore, Shibboleth, which, being interpreted, is an ear of corn." The same word also in Hebrew signifies a rapid stream of water, from the root SHaBaL, to flow copiously. The too common error of speaking, in this part of the ritual, of a "water-ford," instead of a "water-fall," which is the correct word, must be carefully avoided. A water-fall is an emblem of plenty, because it indicates an abundance of water. A water-ford, for the converse reason, is, if any symbol at all, a symbol of scarcity.—MACKEY's Manual of the Lodge.