Illustrations of Masonry, by William Morgan, , at sacred-texts.com
"What does a Master's lodge represent?"
Ans. "The Sanctum Sanctorum, or holy of holies of King Solomon's Temple."
"How long was the temple building?"
Ans. Seven years, during which it rained not in the day-time, that the workmen might not be obstructed in their labor."
"What supported the temple."
Ans. "Fourteen hundred and fifty-three columns and two thousand nine hundred and six pilasters, all hewn from the finest Parian marble."
"What further supported it?"
Ans. "Three grand columns, or pillars."
"What were they called?"
Ans. "Wisdom, strength and beauty."
"What did they represent?"
Ans. "The pillar of wisdom represented Solomon, King of Israel, whose wisdom contrived the mighty fabric; the pillar of strength, Hiram, King of Tyre, who strengthened Solomon in his glorious undertaking; the pillar of beauty, Hiram Abiff, the widow's son, whose cunning craft and curious
workmanship beautified and adorned the temple."
"How many were there employed in the building of King Solomon's Temple?"
Ans. "Three Grand Masters, three thousand three hundred Masters, or overseers of the work, eighty thousand Fellow Crafts, and seventy thousand Entered Apprentices; all those were classed and arranged in such a manner by the wisdom of Solomon that neither envy, discord nor confusion were suffered to interrupt that universal peace and tranquillity that pervaded the work at that important period."
"How many constitutes an Entered Apprentice lodge?"
Ans. "Seven; one Master and six Entered Apprentices."
"Where did they usually meet?"
Ans. "On the ground floor of King Solomon's Temple."
"How many constitute a Fellow Craft's lodge?"
Ans. "Five; two Masters and three Fellow Crafts."
"Where did they usually meet?"
Ans. "In the middle chamber of King Solomon's Temple."
"How many constitute a Master's lodge?"
Ans. "Three Master Masons."
"Where did they usually meet?"
Ans. "In the Sanctum Sanctorum, or holy of holies of King Solomon's Temple."
"Have you any emblems on this degree?"
Ans. "We have several, which are divided into two classes."
"What are the first class?"
Ans. "The pot of incense, the bee-hive, the book of constitutions, guarded by the Tyler's sword, the sword pointing to a naked heart, the all-seeing eye, the anchor and ark, the forty-seventh problem of Euclid, the hour-glass, the scythe, and the three steps usually delineated on the Master's carpet, which are thus explained: The pot of incense is an emblem of a pure heart, which is always an acceptable sacrifice to the Deity and, as this glows with fervent heat, so should our hearts continually glow with gratitude to the great and beneficent Author of our existence for the manifold blessings and comforts we enjoy. The bee-hive is an emblem of industry, and recommends the practice of that virtue to all created beings, from the highest seraph in heaven to the
lowest reptile of the dust. It teaches us that, as we came into the world rational and intelligent beings, so we should ever be industrious ones, never sitting down contented while our fellow-creatures around us are in want, when it is in our power to relieve them without inconvenience to ourselves. When we take a survey of nature, we behold man, in his infancy, more helpless and indigent than the brute creation; he lies languishing for days, weeks, months and years, totally incapable of providing sustenance for himself; of guarding against the attacks of the wild beasts of the field, or sheltering himself from the inclemencies of the weather. It might have pleased the great Creator of heaven and earth to have made man independent of all other beings, but, as dependence is one of the strongest bonds of society, mankind were made dependent on each other for protection and security, as they thereby enjoy better opportunities of fulfilling the duties of reciprocal love and friendship. Thus was man formed for social and active life, the noblest part of the work of God, and he that will so demean himself, as not to be endeavoring to add to the common stock of knowledge and understanding, may be deemed a drone in the hive of nature, a useless member of society, and unworthy of our protection as Masons.
The book of constitutions, guarded by the Tyler's sword, reminds us that we should be ever watchful and guarded in our thoughts, words, and actions, particularly when before the enemies of Masonry, ever bearing in remembrance those truly Masonic virtues, silence and circumspection. The sword pointing to a naked heart, demonstrates that justice will sooner or later overtake us; and although our thoughts, words and actions may be hidden from the eye of man yet that all-seeing eye, whom the sun, moon and stars obey, and under whose watchful care even comets perform their stupendous revolutions, pervades the inmost recesses of the human heart, and will reward us according to our merits. The anchor and ark, are emblems of a well grounded hope and a well spent life. They are emblematical of that Divine ark which safely wafts us over this tempestuous sea of troubles, and that anchor which shall safely moor us in a peaceful harbor, where the wicked cease from troubling, and the weary shall find rest.
The forty-seventh problem of Euclid: This was an invention of our ancient friend and brother, the great Pythagoras, who, in his travels through Asia, Africa and Europe, was initiated into several orders of priesthood, and raised to the sublime degree of a Master Mason. This wise philosopher enriched his mind abundantly in a general knowledge of things, and more especially in Geometry, or Masonry, on this subject he drew out many problems and theorems; and among the most distinguished he erected this, which, in the joy of his heart, he called Eureka, in the Grecian language signifying, I have found it; and upon the discovery of which he is said to have sacrificed a hecatomb. It teaches Masons to be general lovers of the arts and sciences. The hour glass is an emblem of human life. Behold! how swiftly the sands run, and how rapidly our lives are drawing to a close. We cannot without astonishment behold the little particles which are contained in this machine; how they pass away, almost imperceptibly, and yet to our surprise in a short space of an hour they are all exhausted. Thus wastes man! To-day, he puts forth the tender leaves of hope; to-morrow, blossoms, and bears his blushing honors thick upon him; the next day comes a frost, which nips the root, and when he thinks his greatness is still ripening, he falls like autumn leaves, to enrich our mother earth. The scythe is an emblem of time, which cuts the brittle thread of life, and launches us into eternity. Behold! what havoc the scythe of time makes among the human race; if by chance we should escape the numerous evils, incident to childhood and youth, and with health and vigor come to the years of manhood, yet withal we must soon be cut down by the all-devouring scythe of time, and be gathered into the land where our fathers have gone before us. The three steps usually delineated upon the Masters carpet, are emblematical of the three principal stages of human life, viz.: youth, manhood and age. In youth, as Entered Apprentices, we ought industriously to occupy our minds in the attainment of useful knowledge; in manhood, as Fellow Craft, we should apply our knowledge to the discharge of our respective duties to God, our neighbors, and ourselves, that so in age, as Master Mason, we may enjoy the happy reflections consequent on a well spent life, and die in the hope of a glorious immortality.
"What are the second class of emblems?"
Ans. "The spade, coffin, death-head, marrow-bones, and sprig of cassia, which are thus explained: The spade opens the vault to receive our bodies where our active limbs will soon moulder to dust. The coffin, death-head, and marrowbones, are emblematical of the death and burial, of our Grand Master, Hiram Abiff, and are worthy of our serious attention. The sprig of cassia is emblematical of that important part of man which never dies—and when the cold winter of death shall have passed, and the bright summer's morn of the resurrection appears, the Son of Righteousness shall descend, and send forth his angels to collect our ransomed dust; then, if we are found worthy, by his pass word, we shall enter into the celestial lodge above, where the Supreme Architect of the Universe presides, where we. shall see the King in the beauty of holiness and with him enter into an endless eternity. Here ends the three first degrees of Masonry, which constitute a Master Mason's Lodge. A Master Mason's Lodge and a chapter of Royal Arch Masons, are two distinct bodies, wholly independent of each other. The members of a Chapter are privileged to visit all Master Mason's Lodges when they please, and may be, and often are members of both at the same time; and all the members of a Master Mason's Lodge, who are Royal Arch Masons, though not members of any Chapter, may visit any Chapter. I wish the reader to understand that neither all Royal Arch Masons nor Master Masons are members of either Lodge or Chapter; there are tens of thousands who are not members and scarcely ever attend, although privileged to do so. A very small proportion of Masons, comparatively speaking, ever advance any further than the third degree, and consequently never get the great word which was lost by Hiram's untimely death. Solomon, king of Israel; Hiram, king of Tyre, and Hiram Abiff; the widow's son having sworn that they nor neither of them would ever give the word except they three were present; [and it is generally believed that there was not another person in the world at that time that had it], consequently the word was lost, and supposed to be forever; but the sequel will show it was found after the lapse of four hundred and seventy years; notwithstanding the word Mah-hah-bone,
which was substituted, by Solomon, still continues to be used by Master Masons, arid no doubt will be as long as Masonry attracts the attention of men; and the word which was lost is used in the Royal Arch degree.
What was the word of the Royal Arch degree before they found the Master's word which was lost at the death of Hiram Abiff, and was not found for four hundred and seventy years? Were there any Royal Arch Masons before the Master's word was found? I wish some Masonic gentleman would solve these two questions. The ceremonies, history, and the lecture, in the preceding degree, are so similar, that perhaps, some one of the three might have been dispensed with, and the subject well understood by most readers, notwithstanding, there is a small difference between the work and history, and between the history and the lecture. I shall now proceed with the Mark Master's degree, which is the first degree in the Chapter. The Mark Master's degree, the Past Master's, and the Most Excellent Master's are called lodges of Mark Master Masons, Past Masters, and Most Excellent Masters; yet, although called lodges, they are a component part of the Chapter. Ask a Mark Master Mason if he belongs to the Chapter, he will tell you he does, but that he has only been marked. It is not an uncommon thing, by any means, for a Chapter to confer all four of the degrees in one night, viz.: The Mark Master, Past Master, Most Excellent Matter, and Royal Arch degree.