140:1 The questions and answers in this lecture, relative to the disposition of the body and its discovery, &c., &c., are precisely like the historical part of this Degree, page 122, or that portion describing the conferring of the Degree, page 107.
142:1 LECTURE.–In the Masters’ Degree, the first section illustrates the ancient and proper mode of raising a candidate to this sublime Degree. In the second section, the historical traditions of the Order are introduced, and an important instance of Masonic virtue is exemplified. In the third section, our emblems are explained, and the construction of Solomon’s Temple described.–Lexicon.
146:1 “In the performance of a ceremony so solemn and momentous as the closing of a Mason’s Lodge, every member has a lively interest. At the usual report, preceded by an inquiry involving the best interests of Masonry, the brethren are again reminded what is the chief care of a Mason. The avenues to the Lodge are carefully inspected by the meridian officer, whose knowledge and fidelity have entitled him to the confidence of the brethren, and, after he had publicly proclaimed the security of the Lodge, the business of closing proceeds. The particular duties of the leaders of the respective bands of craftsmen are rehearsed. At the command of the Worshipful Master, the Senior Warden performs his duty, after seeing that the brethren have received their due proportion of Masonic instruction and improvement; and the whole concludes with an impressive address to the brethren on their respective duties as men and Masons, when pursuing their accustomed avocations in the world; and with a fervent petition to the Deity, supplicating his blessing on the fraternity wheresoever dispersed under the wide canopy of heaven.”–Theo. Phil., p. 297.
This Degree has a reference to the Christian dispensation, when the day of salvation is more fully revealed; atonement is made for sin; and the resurrection from the dead plainly communicated and confirmed by the resurrection of Christ from the grave. The Jewish law had degenerated into a mass of rottenness and corruption:–piety, which planned the Temple at Jerusalem, was expunged; the reverence and adoration due to the Divinity was buried in the filth and rubbish of the world; and religion and morality were scattered to the four winds of heaven. Three ruffian nations from the south, the west, and the east–the Syrians, the Chaldeans, and the Romans–gave in succession this temporary dispensation its death-blow; those who sought religion through the wisdom of the ancients were not able to raise her; she eluded their grasp, and the polluted hands were also stretched forth in vain for her restoration. Her tomb was in the rubbish and filth cast forth from the Temple, and acacia waved its branches over her monument. In this state of darkness and despair she lay until the Saviour came, instituted the five points of Christian fellowship, and raised her from the dust, in which she had been indecently interred, to a more glorious inheritance.”–Theo. Phil., p. 309.
This interpretation is borne out in the higher Degrees of sublime Masonry. Thus, in the thirty-second, or Degree of Prince of the Royal Secret, according to the Continental nomenclature, the following analogies are p. 147 explained: “The symbolical mystery of the death of (Hiram Abiff) represents that of the Messiah; for the three (blows) which were given to him at the three gates of (the Temple) allude to the three points of condemnation against Christ at three separate places, viz.: before Caiaphas. Herod, and Pilate. It was from the last that he was led to that most violent and excruciating death. The three (blows) were given with the three (tools, i.e., gauge, square, and gavel). These are symbols of the blow on the cheek of Christ, the flagellation, and the blow with the spear. Some substitute for the latter, but with less propriety, the crown of thorns. The brethren assembled around the grave of (Hiram Abiff) is a representation of the disciples lamenting the death of Christ. The Word, which was said to be lost, was pronounced upon the cross, which the Jews could not comprehend. The false brethren are represented by Judas, who proved false to his Master; and the sprig of cassia represented the cross, of which wood it is said to have been composed.”–Historical Landmarks, vol. ii. p. 176.
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