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a similar plan, and many orders of a more recent date. Masonry, however, is not only the most ancient, but the most moral institution that ever subsisted; every character, figure and emblem, depicted in a lodge, has a moral tendency, and inculcates the practice of virtue.
The Badge of a Mason.
Every candidate, at his initiation, is presented with a lamb-skin, or white leather apron.
The lamb has in all ages been deemed an emblem of innocence; he, therefore, who wears the lamb-skin as a badge of masonry, is thereby continually reminded of that purity of life and conduct, which is essentially necessary to his gaining admission into the Celestial Lodge above, where the Supreme Architect of the Universe presides.
The Third Section.
The third section explains the nature and principles of our constitution, and teaches us to discharge with propriety the duties of our respective stations. Here, too, we receive instruction relative to the form, supports, covering, furniture, or naments, lights and jewels of a lodge, how it should be situated, and to whom. dedicated. A
proper attention is also paid to our ancient and venerable patrons.
From east to west, freemasonry extends, and between the north and south, in every clime and nation, are masons to be found.
Our institution is said to be supported by wisdom, strength and beauty, because it is necessary that there should be wisdom to contrive, strength to support, and beauty to adorn, all great and important undertakings. Its dimensions are umlimited, and its covering no less than the canopy of heaven. To this object the mason's mind is continually directed, and thither he hopes at last. to arrive, by the aid of the theological ladder, which Jacob in his vision saw ascending from earth to heaven; the three principal rounds of which are denominated faith, hope and charity; and which admonish us to have faith in God, hope in immortality, and charity to all mankind.
Every well governed lodge is furnished with the Holy Bible, the Square and the Compass; the bible points out the path that leads to happiness, and is dedicated to God; the square teaches to regulate our conduct by the principles of morality and virtue, and is dedicated to the Master; the compass teaches to limit our desires in every station, and is dedicated to the Craft.
The Bible is dedicated to the service of God, because it is the inestimable gift of God to man ; the Square to the Master, because, being the proper masonic emblem of his office, it is constantly to remind him of the duty he owes to the lodge over which he is appointed to preside; and the Compass to the Craft, because, by a due attention to its use, they are taught to regulate their desires, and keep their passions within due bounds.
The ornamental parts of a lodge, displayed in this section, are, the Mosaic pavement, the indented tessel, and the blazing star. The Mosaic pavement is a representation of the ground floor of king Solomon's temple; the indented tessel, that beautiful tesselated border, or skirting, which surrounded it; and the blazing star, in the centre, is commemorative of the star which appeared, to guide the wise men of the east to the place of our Saviour's nativity. The Mosaic pavement is emblematic of human life, checquered with good and evil; the beautiful border which surrounds it, those blessings and comforts which surround us, and which we hope to obtain by a faithful reliance on Divine Providence, which is hieroglyphically represented by the blazing star in the centre.
The moveable and immoveable jewels alsq claim our attention in this section.
The rough ashler is a stone as taken from the quarry in its rude and natural state. The perfect ashler is a stone made ready by the hands of the workman to be adjusted by the working tools of the fellow craft. The trestle-board is for the master workman to draw his designs upon.
By the rough ashler, we are reminded of our rude and imperfest state by nature; by the perfect ashler, that state of perfection at which we hope to arrive, by a virtuous education, our own endeavours, and the blessing of God; and by the trestle-board, we are reminded, that as the operative workman erects his temporal building agreeably to the rules and designs laid down by the master on his trestle-board, so should we, both operative and speculative, endeavour to erect our spiritual building agreeably to the rules and designs laid down by the Supreme Architect of the Universe, in the book of life, which is our spiritual trestle-board.
By a recurrence to the chapter upon the dedication of lodges, it will be perceived, that although our ancient brethren dedicated their lodges to King Solomon, yet masons professing christianity dedicate theirs to St. John the Baptist, and St. John the Evangelist, who were eminent patrons of masonry; and since their time there is represented in every regular and well governed lodge,
a certain point within a circle; the point representing an individual brother, the circle representing the boundary line of his duty to God and man, beyond which he is never to suffer his passions, prejudices or interests to betray him, on any occasion. This circle is embordered by two perpendicular, parallel lines, representing St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist; who were perfect parallels, in christianity, as well as masonry; and upon the vertex rests the book of Holy Scriptures, which point out the whole duty of man. In going round this circle, we necessarily touch upon these two lines, as well as upon the Holy Scriptures, and whilst a mason keeps himself thus circumscribed, it is impossible that he should materially err.
This section, though the last in rank, is not the least considerable in importance. It strengthens those which precede, and enforces, in the most engaging manner, a due regard to character and behaviour in public, as well as in private life; in the lodge, as well as in the general commerce of soci ety.
It forcibly inculcates the most instructive lessons. Brotherly love, relief and truth, are themes on which we here expatiate.