The beautiful virgin weeping over the broken column denotes the unfinished state of the Temple, likewise the untimely death of our Grand Master, Hiram Abiff; the book open before her, that his virtues lay on perpetual record; the sprig of acacia in her right hand, the divinity of the body; the urn in her left, that his ashes were therein safely deposited, under the “Sanctum Sanctorum, or Holy of Holies,” of King Solomon’s Temple.
Time, unfolding the ringlets of her hair, denoted that time, patience, and perseverance accomplish all things.
The Master now gives and explains to the candidate the several signs and tokens of this Degree, commencing with the first (see Figs. 5, 6, and 7, pages 17 and 18) and ending with the grips. (See Figs. 16 and 17, pages 97 and 120; also see Note L, Appendix.)
The Master next calls the candidate’s attention to the three grand Masonic pillars, usually delineated on Master’s carpet (a
[paragraph continues] Master’s carpet is a large map that Lodges generally keep, which is highly embellished with Masonic emblems).
Master, pointing to these pillars, says: “These are called the three grand Masonic columns or pillars, and are designated Wisdom, Strength, and Beauty.
“The pillar of Wisdom represents Solomon, King of Israel, whose wisdom contrived the mighty fabric; the pillar of Strength, Hiram, king of Tyre, who strengthened Solomon in his grand undertaking; the pillar of Beauty, Hiram Abiff, the widow’s son, whose cunning craft and curious workmanship beautified and adorned the Temple.
“The construction of this grand edifice was attended with two remarkable circumstances. From Josephus we learn, that although seven years were occupied in building it, yet, during the whole time, it rained not in the daytime, that the workmen might not be obstructed in their labor, and from sacred history it appears that there was neither the sound of hammer, nor axe, nor any tool of iron, heard in the house while it was building. This famous fabric was supported by fourteen hundred and fifty-three columns, and two thousand nine hundred and six pilasters–all hewn from the finest Parian marble.
“There were employed in its building three Grand Masters; three thousand three hundred Masters, or overseers of the work; eighty thousand Fellow Crafts, or hewers on the mountains and in the quarries; and seventy thousand Entered Apprentices, or bearers of burdens. All these were, classed and arranged in such a manner, by the wisdom of Solomon, that neither envy, discord, nor confusion was suffered to interrupt that universal peace and tranquillity which pervaded the world at that important period.”1
“Brother Gabe, seven constitute a Lodge of Entered Apprentices–one Master Mason, and six Entered Apprentices. They usually meet on the Ground Floor of King Solomon’s Temple.
“Five constitute a Lodge of Fellow Crafts two Master Masons and three Fellow Crafts. They usually meet in the Middle Chamber of King Solomon’s Temple.
“Three constitute a Lodge of Master Masons–three Master Masons. They meet in the Sanctum Sanctorum, or Holy of Holies of King Solomon’s Temple.”
The Master either reads or repeats the following from a Monitor, which by many is committed to memory; but when he has the “work” (i.e., that part which is not monitorial), it is not necessary that he should commit to memory what is called the Master’s carpet of emblems, but as it is a part of the initiation of the Third Degree, the author proposes to give it in its regular order of Lodge business.
THE THREE STEPS
Usually delineated upon the Master’s carpet, are emblematical of the three principal stages of human life, viz.: youth, man-hood, and age. In youth, in Entered Apprentices,
we ought industriously to occupy our minds in the attainment of useful knowledge; in manhood, as Fellow Crafts, we should apply our knowledge to the discharge of our respective duties to God, our neighbors, and ourselves; so that in age, as Master Masons, we may enjoy the happy reflections consequent on a well-spent life, and die in the hope of a glorious immortality.
Moe is the founder of GnosticWarrior.com. He is a father, husband, author, martial arts black belt, and an expert in Gnosticism, the occult, and esotericism.