FELLOWCRAFT DEGREE

MIDDLE CHAMBER LECTURE

My Brother, the second section of this degree is

principally devoted to the explanation of physical

science, and by the studies attached thereto, the

mind is improved and elevated to a communion

with its Maker. Circumstances of importance to

the Craft, and of peculiar interest to the Mason

who delights in the study of the mystic beauties

of his profession, are here developed and

explained.

The second section of this degree also has

reference to the origin of the institution, and views

Masonry under two denominations, operative and

Speculative.

By operative masonry, we allude to the proper

application of the useful rules of architecture,

whence a structure will derive figure, strength

and beauty, and whence will result a due

proportion and just correspondence in all its parts.

It furnishes us with dwellings and convenient

shelter from the vicissitudes and inclemencies of

seasons; and while it displays the effects of human

wisdom, as well in the choice as in the

arrangement of the sundry materials of which an

edifice is composed, it demonstrates that a fund

of science and industry is implanted in man for

the best most salutary and beneficent purposes.

By Speculative, or Free, Masonry, we learn to

subdue the passions, act upon the Square, keep

a tongue of good report, maintain secrecy, and

practice charity. It is so far interwoven with

religion as to lay us under obligation to pay that

rational homage to the Deity which at once

constitutes our duty and our happiness. It leads

the contemplative to view with reverence and

admiration the glorious works of creation, and

inspires him with the most exalted ideas of the

perfection of his Divine Creator.

The second section of this degree also refers to

the origin of the Jewish Sabbath, as well as to

the manner in which it was kept by our ancient

Brethren.

In six days God created the heaven and the earth,

and rested on the seventh day; the seventh,

therefore, our ancient Brethren consecrated as

a day of rest from their labor, thereby enjoying

frequent opportunities to contemplate the glorious

works of Creation, and to adore their Great

Creator.

At the building of King Solomonís Temple there

were eighty thousand Fellow Crafts employed.

These were all under the immediate direction of

our ancient Operative Grand Master Hiram Abif.

On the evening of the sixth day their work was

inspected, and all who had proved themselves

worthy, by strict fidelity to their duties, were

invested with certain mystic signs, grips, and

words, to enable them to gain admission into the

Middle Chamber of King Solomonís Temple. On

the same day and hour, King Solomon,

accompanied by his confidential officers,

consisting of his Secretary, Senior and Junior

Wardens, repaired to the Middle Chamber to meet

them.

His Secretary he placed near his person, the

Senior Warden at the inner and the Junior Warden

at the outer door, giving them strict instructions

to suffer none to enter except such as were in

possession of certain mystic signs, grips, and

words, previously established, so that when any

did enter, he, knowing that they must have been

faithful workmen or they could not have gained

admission, had nothing to do but order their names

recorded as such, and pay them their wages,

which they received in corn, wine and oil,

emblematical of nourishment, refreshment and joy,

and after solemnly admonishing them of the

reverence due the great and sacred name of Deity,

suffered them to depart in peace until the time

should arrive to commence the following weekís

work.

This, you will perceive, was all accomplished on

the evening of the sixth day, that there might be

no unnecessary labor performed on the seventh,

that being a day set apart for rest and meditation.

We, my Brother, are in possession of the same

mystic signs, grips and words as were our ancient

Brethren, and are about to endeavor to work our

way into a place representing the Middle Chamber

of King Solomonís Temple, and should we

succeed, I have no doubt we shall be alike

received and rewarded.

In doing this it will be necessary for us to make

an advance, emblematically, through a porch, up

a flight of winding stairs consisting of three, five,

and seven steps, through an outer and inner door.

In making this advance we necessarily pass

between two pillars or columns, representing

those pillars erected at the entrance to the porch

of King Solomonís Temple; one on the right hand,

the other on the left. The name of the one on the

left hand was Boaz, denoting strength; the name

of the one on the right, Jachin, denoting

establishment, collectively alluding to several

promises of God to David, one of which reads:

"And thine house and thy kingdom shall be

established forever before thee."

"Also he made before the house two pillars of

thirty and five cubits high, and the chapiter that

was on the top of each of them was five cubits."

Their composition was of molten or cast brass,

the better to withstand inundation or conflagration,

that they might not be removed by flood or

destroyed by fire. They were cast in the clay

grounds on the banks of the River Jordan,

between Succoth and Zeredatha, where King

Solomon ordered these and all the sacred vessels

of the Temple to be cast. They were cast hollow

for the purpose of containing the rolls and records

which composed the archives of our ancient

Brethren.

The chapiters were adorned with leaves of lilywork,

network and chains of pomegranates, denoting

Peace, Unite, and Plenty. The Lily, from its

extreme whiteness, as well as the retired situation

in which it grows, denotes Peace; the Network,

from the intimate connection of all its parts, Unity;

and the Pomegranate, from the exuberance of its

seed, Plenty.

These pillars are surmounted by two artificial

spherical bodies, on the convex surfaces of which

are represented the countries, seas, and various

parts of the earth; the face of the heavens, the

planetary revolutions, and other important

particulars.

Contemplating these bodies, we are inspired with

a due reverence for the Deity and His works,

and are induced to encourage the studies of

astronomy, geography, navigation, and the arts

dependent on them, by which society has been

so much benefited.

Passing between these columns, the next object

to which our attention is particularly drawn is a

representation of a flight of winding stairs,

consisting of three, five, and seven steps, each

of which has certain Masonic significance.

The three steps allude to the Three Great Lights

in Masonry, the Holy Bible, Square and

Compasses; also to the three principal officers

of the Lodge, the Worshipful Master, Senior and

Junior Wardens, who represent the three great

supports of Masonry: Wisdom, Strength and

Beauty, it being necessary that there should be

wisdom to contrive, strength to support, and

beauty to adorn all great and important

undertakings.

The three steps also allude to the great luminary

of creation as he appears to us at the three

principal points of observation: he rises in the

east to open the day with a mild and gentle

influence, and all Nature rejoices at the

appearance of his beams; he gains his meridian

in the south, invigorating all things with the

perfection of his ripening qualities; with declining

strength he sets in the west to close the day,

leaving mankind to rest from their labor.

This is the type of the three principal stages in

the life of man; infancy, manhood, and age.

The first of these is characterized by the blush of

innocence as pure as the tints that gild the eastern

portals of the day; and the heart rejoices in the

unsuspecting integrity of its own unblemished

virtue, nor fears deceit, because it knows no guile.

Manhood succeeds; the ripening intellect attains

the meridian of its powers. At the approach of old

age, strength decays - his sun is setting in the

west. Enfeebled by sickness and bodily

infirmities, he lingers on until death finally closes

his eventful day, and happy is he if the setting

splendors of a virtuous life gild his departing

moments with the gentle tints of Hope, and close

his short career in peace, harmony, and brotherly

love.

Ponder well, my Brother, upon the wisdom taught

by these emblems, and be admonished:

"That when thy summons comes to join

The innumerable caravan, which moves

To that mysterious realm, where each shall take

His chamber in the silent halls of death,

Thou go not, like the quarry-slave at night,

Scourged to his dungeon, but, sustained and

soothed

By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave

Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch

About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams."

We will make a further advance and ascend the

five steps. The five steps allude to the five orders

of architecture, and the five human senses.

By order in architecture is meant a system of all

the members, proportions and ornaments of

columns and pilasters; or it is the regular

arrangement of the projecting parts of a building,

which, united with those of a column, form a

beautiful, perfect and complete whole.

From the first formation of society, order in

architecture may be traced. When the rigors of

seasons obliged men to contrive shelter from the

inclemency of the weather, we learn that they

first planted trees on end, and then laid others

across to support a covering.

The bands which connected those trees at top

and bottom are said to have given rise to the

idea of the base and capital of pillars, and from

this simple hint originally proceeded the more

improved art of architecture.

The five orders are thus classed: the Tuscan,

Doric, Ionic, Corinthian, and Composite.

The ancient and original orders of architecture

revered by Masons are no more than three - the

Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian, which were invented

by the Greeks. To these the Romans have added

two - the Tuscan, which they made plainer than

the Doric, and the Composite, which was more

ornamental, if not more beautiful than the

Corinthian. The first three orders alone, however,

show invention and particular character, and

essentially differ from each other; the two others

have nothing but what is borrowed, and differ

only accidentally. The Tuscan is the Doric in its

earliest state, and the Composite is the Corinthian

enriched with the Ionic. To the Greeks, therefore,

and not to the Romans, we are indebted for that

which is great, judicious and distinct in

architecture.

The five human senses are Hearing, Seeing,

Feeling, Smelling and Tasting, the first three of

which have ever been deemed prerequisite to

being made a Mason, for by Hearing we hear

the word, Shibboleth; by Seeing, we see the sign;

and by Feeling, we feel that friendly and brotherly

grip whereby one Mason may know another in

the dark as in the light.

We will now make a still further advance and

ascend the seven steps. The seven steps allude

to the seven liberal arts and sciences, which are:

Grammar, Rhetoric, Logic, Arithmetic, Geometry,

Music, and Astronomy.

Grammar is the science which teaches us how

to express our ideas in appropriate words, which

we afterward beautify and adorn with Rhetoric;

while Logic instructs us how to think and reason

with propriety, and to make language subordinate

to thought.

Arithmetic, which is the science of computing by

numbers, is absolutely essential, not only to a

thorough knowledge of all mathematical science,

but also to a proper pursuit of our daily vocations.

Geometry treats of the powers and properties of

magnitudes in general, where length, breadth and

thickness are considered - from a point to a line,

from a line to a superficies, and from a superficies

to a solid.

A point is the beginning of all geometrical matter.

A line is the continuation of the same.

A superficies has length and breadth without a

given thickness.

A solid has length and breadth with a given

thickness, which forms a cube and comprehends

the whole.

By this science the architect is enabled to

construct his plans and execute his designs; the

general to arrange his soldiers; the engineer to

mark out grounds for encampments; the

geographer to give the dimensions of the world

and all things therein contained - to delineate the

extent of the seas, and specify the divisions of

empires, kingdoms and provinces. By it also,

the astronomer is enabled to make his

observations, and to fix the duration of times and

seasons, years and cycles. In fine, Geometry is

the foundation of architecture and the root of

mathematics.

To be without a perception of the charms of Music

is to be without the finer traits of humanity. It is

the medium which gives the natural world

communication with the spiritual, and few are they

who have not felt its power and acknowledged its

expressions to be intelligible to the heart. It is a

language of delightful sensations, far more

eloquent than words. It breathes to the ear the

clearest intimations; it touches and gently agitates

the agreeable and sublime passions; it wraps us

in melancholy and elevates us to joy; it dissolves

and inflames; it melts us in tenderness and excites

us to war.

It has a voice for every age and a capacity for

every degree of taste and intelligence. Its lullaby

soothes the infant in its motherís arms; its joyous

notes wing the tripping feet of the dancers on the

green; its martial tones inspire the spirit of

patriotism, nerve the warriorís arm, and fire his

heart. The stirring strains of national airs, heard

on the rough edge of battle, have ever thrilled the

soldier, causing him to burn with an emulous

desire to lead the perilous advance, and animating

him to deeds of heroic valor and the most sublime

devotion. Amid the roar of cannon, the din of

musketry and the carnage of battle, he is stricken

to the dust.

Raising himself to take one last long look on life,

he hears in the distance that plaintive strain,

"Home, Sweet Home."

It was our motherís evening hymn, and has often

lulled us to sleep in infancy. The mellowing tides

of old cathedral airs, vibrating through aisles and

arches, have stilled the ruffled spirit, and

sweeping aside the discordant passions of men,

have bourne them along its resistless current,

until their united voices have joined in sounding

aloud the chorus of the heaven-born anthem:

"Peace on earth, good will toward men."

But music never sounds with such seraphic

harmony as when employed in singing hymns of

gratitude to the Creator of the Universe:

"Be Thou, O God, exalted high,

And as Thy glory fills the sky,

So let it be on earth displayed,

Till Thou art here, as there, obeyed."

Astronomy is that sublime science which inspires

the contemplative mind to soar aloft and read the

wisdom, strength and beauty of the Great Creator

in the heavens. How nobly eloquent of the Deity

is the celestial hemisphere - spangled with the

most magnificent heralds of His infinite glory!

They speak to the whole universe; for there is no

people so barbarous as to fail to understand their

language; no nation so distant that their voices

are not heard among them.

My Brother, we are now approaching a place

representing the outer door to the Middle

Chamber of King Solomonís Temple, which we

will find partly open but closely tyled by the Junior

Warden, who will doubtless demand of us the

pass-word of a Fellow Craft. Let us advance

and make a regular alarm.

SD: * * *.

JW: Who comes here?

SD: Fellow Crafts endeavoring to work their way into

a place representing the Middle Chamber of King

Solomonís Temple.

JW: How do you expect to gain admission?

SD: By the pass-word of a Fellow Craft.

JW: Give it.

SD: Shibboleth.

JW: What does it denote?

SD: Plenty.

JW: How represented?

SD: By a sheaf of corn, suspended near a waterfall,

which teaches us that while we have bread to eat

and pure refreshing water to drink, we have all

that necessity requires.

JW: By whom instituted?

SD: By Jephthah, a Judge of Israel, in a war with the

Ephraimites. The Ephraimites had long been a

stubborn and rebellious people, whom Jephthah

had striven to subdue by mild and lenient

measures, but without effect. They were highly

incensed at Jephthah for not being called to fight

and share in the rich spoils of the Ammonitish

war, and gathered together a mighty army,

crossed the River Jordan, and prepared to give

Jephthah battle; but, being apprised of their

approach, he called together the men of Israel,

went forth, gave them battle, and put them to flight;

and to make his victory more complete he

stationed guards at the different passes along

the banks of the River Jordan and said unto them,

"If ye see any strangers pass this way, say unto

them, ĎNow say ye, Shibboleth,í but the

Ephraimites, being of a different tribe, could not

frame to pronounce the word and said ĎSibboleth.í

This trifling defect proved them to be enemies

and cost them their lives, and there fell that day

on the field of battle and at the different passes

along the banks of the River Jordan, forty and

two thousand, after which Jephthah ruled quietly

in Israel until the time of his death, in all about six

years.

This was what affected us to distinguish a friend

from a foe, and has since been adopted as the

pass-word to be given before entering any regular

and well governed Lodge of Fellow Crafts.

JW: I am satisfied; pass on.

SD: My Brother, we are now approaching a place

representing the inner door to the Middle

Chamber of King Solomonís Temple, which we

will find partly open but closely tyled by the Senior

Warden, who will doubtless demand of us the

real grip and word of a Fellow Craft. Let us

advance and make a regular alarm.

SD: * * *.

SW: *. Who comes here?

SD: Fellow Crafts endeavoring to work their way into

a place representing the Middle Chamber of King

Solomonís Temple.

SW: How do you expect to gain admission?

SD: By the real grip and word of a Fellow Craft.

SW: Advance and give it. What is that?

SD: The real grip of a Fellow Craft.

SW: Has it a name?

SD: It has.

SW: Will you give it to me?

SD: I did not so receive it; neither will I so impart it.

SW: How will you dispose of it?

SD: Letter or halve it.

SW: Letter it and begin.

SD: You begin.

SW: Begin you.

SD: A;

SW: J;

SD: C;

SW: H;

SD: I;

SW: N.

SD: Jachin.

SW: I am satisfied; pass on and in.

SD: My Brother, we are now in a place representing

the Middle Chamber of King Solomonís Temple.

Behold the letter G, suspended in the East! It is

the initial of Geometry, the first and noblest of

sciences, and 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 compose this vast machine; by it we

discover how the planets move in their respective

orbits, and demonstrate their various revolutions;

by it we count 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 observations 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, still

survives. The attentive ear receives the sound

from the instructive tongue, and the mysteries of

Freemasonry are safely lodged in the repository

of faithful breasts.

Ages ago, upon the Eastern plains, was our

institution set up, founded upon principles more

durable than the metal wrought into the statues

of ancient kings. Age after age rolled by; storm

and tempest hurled their thunders at its head;

wave after wave of bright insidious sands curled

about its feet and heaped their sliding grains

against its sides; men came and went in fleeting

generations; seasons fled like hours through the

whirling wheel of time; but through the attrition of

the waves and sands of life - through evil report

as well as good, Freemasonry has maintained

its beneficent influence, spreading wider and

wider over the earth.

Tools and implements of architecture and

symbolic emblems most expressive have been

selected by the Fraternity to imprint on the mind

wise and serious truths, and thus through the

succession of ages have been transmitted,

unimpaired, the most excellent tenets or our

institution.

Every Brother admitted within the walls of this

Middle Chamber should heed the lessons here

inculcated, and consider that as a Freemason

he is a builder, not of a material edifice, but of a

temple more glorious than that of Solomon - a

temple of honor, of justice, of purity, of knowledge,

and of truth - and that these tools of the operative

masonís art indicate the labors he is to perform,

the dangers he is to encounter, and the

preparations he is to make in the uprearing of

that spiritual temple wherein his soul will find rest

forever and forevermore; then, indeed will the

attentive ear have received the sound from the

instructive tongue, and the mysteries of

Freemasonry shall be safely lodged in the

repository of faithful breasts.

SD: (S) Worshipful Master.

WM: Brother Senior Deacon.

SD: I have the pleasure of presenting Brother ____,

who has made an advance, emblematically,

through a porch, up a flight of winding stairs,

consisting of three, five, and even steps, through

an outer and inner door, into a place representing

the Middle Chamber of King Solomonís Temple,

and now awaits your pleasure.

WM: My Brother, I congratulate you on arriving at a

place representing the Middle Chamber of King

Solomonís Temple.

It was there our ancient brethren had their names

recorded as faithful workmen; it is here that you

are entitled to have yours recorded as such.

Brother Secretary, please make the proper

record.

Secy: Worshipful Master, the record will be made.

WM: It was there also our ancient Brethren received

their wages, consisting of Corn, Wine, and Oil,

emblematical of nourishment, refreshment, and

joy, which was to signify that our ancient Brethren,

when passed to this degree, were entitled to

wages sufficient to procure not only the

necessaries and comforts of life, but many of its

superfluities; and may your industrious habits and

strict application to business procure for you a

plenty of the Corn of nourishment, the Wine of

refreshment, and the Oil of joy.

WM: * * *.

WM: The letter G, to which your attention was directed

on your passage hither, has a still greater and

more significant meaning. It is the initial of the

grand and sacred name of God, before whom all

Masons, from the youngest Entered Apprentice

who stands in the Northeast corner of the Lodge,

to the Worshipful Master who presides in the East,

should most humbly, reverently, and devoutly bow.

WM: *. My Brother, this concludes the ceremonies of

this degree, and if you will remain standing, I will

repeat to you the charge.

Fellowcraft Degree - Charge

 

         

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