MASTER MASON DEGREE 

THE LECTURE

WM: *

Lect: Sacred history informs us that it was determined

in the councils of infinite wisdom that a Temple

should be founded at Jerusalem, which should

be erected to God, and dedicated to His Holy

Name. The high honor and distinguished privilege

of performing this sacred service was denied to

David, King of Israel, because, as the Scriptures

inform us, he had made great wars and shed

blood abundantly. From the same sacred source

we learn that the God of Israel had promised

David that out of his loins he should raise up

seed to serve Him. This divine and memorable

promise was afterward fulfilled in the person of

Solomon, and in the splendid and unexampled

career of his prosperity.

After David had been gathered to his fathers, and

the last honor paid to his memory, Solomon

wielded the sceptre of Israel, peace reigned within

her borders, and the Children of Israel looked

forward with peculiar satisfaction for the display

of that wisdom which was destined to astonish

and amaze the world.

In the second month of the fourth year of his reign,

Solomon commenced the erection of this edifice,

the curious workmanship of which was calculated

to excite the wonder and admiration of all

succeeding ages. It was located on Mount

Moriah, near the place where Abraham was about

to offer up his son Isaac, and where David met

and appeased the destroying angel that was

visible over the threshing floor of Ornan, the

Jebusite.

About that time, King Solomon received a

congratulatory letter from Hiram, King of Tyre,

offering him every assistance in his power, and

manifesting a strong desire to participate in the

high honors then clustering around the Throne

of Israel. Thus was the building progressing,

with the assistance of Hiram, King of Tyre, and

under the immediate supervision of our ancient

operative Grand Master Hiram Abif, and was well

nigh completed when several of the Craft, in an

attempt to extort from Grand Master Hiram Abif

the secrets of a Master Mason, became his

assassins, and for a short period the building was

impeded in its progress.

You, my brother, have this evening represented

that cunning workman who fell a martyr to his

integrity and inflexible fidelity.

His death was premeditated by fifteen Fellow

Crafts who, seeing the Temple about to be

completed and being desirous of obtaining the

secrets of a Master Mason, whereby they could

travel in foreign countries and receive wages as

such, entered into the horrid conspiracy of

extorting them from our Grand Master Hiram Abif

or taking his life. But, reflecting on the atrocity

of their intentions and being stricken with horror,

twelve of them recanted; the other three, however,

persisted in their murderous designs.

It was the usual custom of this great and good

man, at high twelve, when the craft were called

from labor to refreshment, to enter into the

Sanctum Sanctorum or Holy of Holies, there to

offer up his adorations to Deity, and to draw his

designs on the trestle-board. The three Fellow

Crafts who persisted in their murderous design,

knowing that to be his usual custom, placed

themselves at the south, west and east gates of

the Temple and there awaited his return.

On the day of his death, having fulfilled his usual

custom, he attempted to retire by the south gate,

where he was accosted by Jubela, who thrice

demanded of him the secrets of a Master Mason,

and on being refused, gave him a blow with a

twenty-four inch gauge across the throat, upon

which he fled and attempted to pass out at the

west gate where he was accosted by Jubelo, who

in like mind, thrice demanded of him the secrets

of a Master Mason, and on being refused, gave

him a blow with a square upon his breast, upon

which he fled and attempted to make his escape

out at the east gate, where he was assaulted by

Jubelum, who in like manner thrice demanded of

him the secrets of a Master Mason, and on being

thrice refused, gave him a violent blow with a

setting maul oh his forehead, which felled him

dead on the spot.

They then buried the body in the rubbish of the

Temple until low twelve, or twelve at midnight, when

they met by agreement and carried it in a due

west course from the Temple to the brow of a hill,

where they buried it in a grave dug six feet deep

east and west and six feet perpendicular, at the

head of which they planted a sprig of acacia,

that the place might be known should occasion

ever require it, and made their exit.

The following day our Grand Master Hiram Abif

was missing. His absence was detected by there

being no designs drawn on the Trestle-board.

King Solomon being informed of this supposed

him to be indisposed, and ordered strict search

to be made for him throughout the several

apartments of the Temple to see if he could be

found. Strict search was made but he could not

be found. King Solomon then feared that some

fearful accident had befallen him.

The twelve Fellow Crafts, who had recanted from

their murderous design, presented themselves

before King Solomon, clothed in white gloves and

aprons, in token of their innocence, confessed

their premeditated guilt and implored his pardon.

King Solomon then ordered a roll of the workmen

to be called and upon roll-call there were three

Fellow Crafts missing, namely Jubela, Jubelo,

and Jubelum.

King Solomon then ordered them to divide

themselves into parts of three and three travel east,

three west, three north and three south in pursuit

of the ruffians.

The twelve departed and those who traveled a due

west course from the Temple went until they met

with a way-faring man of whom they inquired if he

had seen any strangers pass that way, who

informed them that he had, three, who from their

appearance were workmen from the Temple,

seeking a passage to Ethiopia, but not having

obtained one, returned back into the country.

They returned and brought this information to

King Solomon, who ordered them to divide as

before and travel as before, with the positive

injunction to find the criminals, and as positive

assurance that if they did not, they would be

deemed the murderers, and should suffer for their

enormous crime.

They traveled as before and as those who

pursued a due west course from the Temple were

returning, one of their number becoming more

weary than the rest, sat down at the brow of a hill

to rest and refresh himself, and on arising he

accidentally caught hold of a sprig of acacia,

which easily giving way, excited his curiosity, and

while they were meditating over the singularity of

the occasion, they heard three frightful

exclamations issuing from the clefts of the

adjacent rocks. The first was the voice of Jubela,

exclaiming O, that my throat had been cut across,

my tongue torn out, and with my body buried in

the sands of the sea at low-water mark, ere I

have been accessory to the death of so great

and good a man as our Grand Master Hiram Abif.

The second was the voice of Jubelo, exclaiming,

O, that my left breast had been torn open, my

heart and vitals taken thence, and with my body  

given as a prey to the vultures of the air, ere I

have been accessory to the death of so great

and good a man as our Grand Master Hiram Abif;

and the third was the voice of Jubelum, exclaiming

more horribly than the rest, it was I who gave the

fatal blow, it was I who killed him. O, that my

body had been severed in twain, by bowels taken

thence, and with my body burned to ashes and

the ashes thereof scattered to the four winds of

Heaven, ere I have been guilty of the death of so

great and good a man as our Grand Master Hiram

Abif.

Whereupon they rushed in, seized, bound, and

took them before King Solomon, who ordered

them taken without the gates of the city and there

executed according to their several imprecations

in the clefts of the rocks. They were accordingly

executed.

King Solomon then ordered the Fellow Crafts to

go in search of the body of our Grand Master

Hiram Abif, and if found, to observe whether the

Masterís Word or a key to it could be found on

or about it.

His body was found at the brow of the hill where

one worthy Brother sat down to rest and refresh

himself. The Masterís Word or a key to it could

not be found on or about it.

King Solomon then ordered them to go with him

to raise the body for more decent interment, and

ordered that as the Masterís Word was then lost,

the first sign given at the grave and the first word

spoken after the body was raised should be

adopted for the regulation of all Masters Lodges,

until future ages should find out the right.

They repaired to the grave where King Solomon

ordered them to take the body by the grip of an

Entered Apprentice and endeavor to raise it, but

owing to the horrible state of putrefaction, the

body having been dead fifteen days, the skin

slipped from the flesh and it could not so be

raised. King Solomon then ordered them to take

it by the real grip of a Fellow Craft and endeavor

to raise it, but owing to the reason before given,

the flesh cleaved from the bones, and it could

not be so raised. King Solomon then took it by

the strong grip of a Master Mason and raised it

on the Five Points of Fellowship, which are, foot

to foot, knee to knee, breast to breast, hand to

back, and cheek to cheek or mouth to ear.

They teach us these important lessons; foot to

foot, that we should be ever ready to go on foot,

even barefoot, on a worthy Master Masonís

errand, should his necessities require it and we

be no better provided; knee to knee, that we

should ever remember our Brethren in our

devotions to Deity; breast to breast, that the

secrets of a worthy Brother Master Mason, when

communicated to us as such, should be as secure

and inviolate in our breasts as they were in his

before communication; hand to back, that we

should be ever ready to stretch forth a hand to

support a falling Brother and aid him on all lawful

occasions; cheek to cheek or mouth to ear, that

we should be ever ready to whisper wise counsel

into the ear of an erring Brother and warn him of

approaching danger.

They carried the body to the Temple and buried it

in due form, and Masonic tradition informs us that

a monument was erected to his memory, on which

was delineated a beautiful Virgin weeping over a

broken column; before her lay a book, open; in

her right hand a sprig of acacia; in her left, an urn;

and behind her stood Time with his fingers

unfolding and counting the ringlets of her hair.

The broken column denotes the untimely death

of our Grand Master Hiram Abif; the beautiful

Virgin, weeping, denotes the Temple, unfinished;

the book open before her, that his virtues there

lie on perpetual record; the sprig of acacia in

her right hand, the timely discovery of his body;

the urn in her left, that his ashes were there safely

deposited to perpetuate the remembrance of so

distinguished a character; and Time standing

behind her unfolding the ringlets of her hair

denotes that time, patience and perseverance will

accomplish all things.

Thus we close the second section with a tribute

to the memory of that distinguished artist, who

preferred to lose his life rather than betray his

trust, and whose death exhibited an instance of

virtue, fortitude and integrity seldom equaled, and

never excelled in the history of man.

In the third section, many particulars relative to

King Solomonís Temple are considered. This

section also illustrates certain hieroglyphical

emblems and inculcates many useful lessons to

extend knowledge and promote virtue.

This magnificent Temple, which long challenged

the admiration of the world, far exceeded in

splendor all other structures that had hitherto been

erected. It was begun in the month of April, A.

M. 2992, 480 years after the Children of Israel

came out of the land of Egypt, and it was finished

in the month of October, A. M. 2999, 1005 years

before Christ.

There were two remarkable events attending the

erection of the edifice. Sacred history informs

us that there was not heard the sound of axe,

hammer, or any metal tool in the building; and

Josephus informs us that, although a little more

than seven years were employed in its erection,

it did not rain except in the night season and

while the Craft were gone from labor to

refreshment. This we regard as a striking

manifestation of the superintending care of Divine

Providence.  

The Temple is said to have been supported by

1453 columns and 2906 pilasters, all hewn from

the finest Parian marble.

There were employed in its erection, three Grand

Masters, three thousand three hundred Masters

or overseers of the work, eighty thousand Fellow

Crafts or hewers in the mountains and quarries,

and seventy thousand Entered Apprentices or

bearers of burdens. All these were classed and

arranged in such manner by the wisdom of King

Solomon that neither envy, discord nor confusion

was suffered to interrupt or disturb the peace

and good fellowship which prevailed among the

workmen.

Entered Apprentices formerly held their meetings

on the checkered pavement, or ground floor of

King Solomonís Temple, where they met every

evening to receive instructions relative to the work

of the following day. A Lodge of Entered

Apprentices consists of seven or more and must

be composed of one Master Mason and six or

more Entered Apprentices.

Fellow Crafts held their meetings in the Middle

Chamber of King Solomonís Temple, where they

met on the evening of the sixth day of each week

to receive their wages. A Lodge of Fellow Crafts

consists of five or more, and must be composed

of two Master Masons and three or more Fellow

Crafts.

Master Masons held their meetings in the

Sanctum Sanctorum or Holy of Holies of King

Solomonís Temple, where they met occasionally

to devise plans for the prosecution of the work.

A Lodge of Master Masons consists of three or

more, and must be composed of three Master

Masons, representing Solomon, King of Israel;

Hiram, King of Tyre; and Hiram Abif.

The three pillars here represented were explained

in a preceding degree, and there represented

Wisdom, Strength and Beauty. Here they

represent our three ancient Grand Masters:

Solomon, King of Israel; Hiram, King of Tyre;

and Hiram Abif. The pillar Wisdom, Solomon,

King of Israel, by whose wisdom the Temple was

erected, the superb model of excellence which

has so honored and exalted his name; the pillar

Strength, Hiram, King of Tyre, who strengthened

King Solomon in his great and important

undertaking; and the pillar Beauty, Hiram Abif,

the Widowís Son of the tribe of Naphtali, by whose

cunning workmanship the Temple was so

beautified and adorned.

The three steps usually delineated on the Masterís

carpet are emblematical of the three principal

stages of human life: 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 Crafts, we should apply our knowledge to

the discharge of our respective duties to God,

our neighbor, and ourselves, so that in age, as

Master Masons, we may enjoy the happy

reflection consequent on a well spent life, and

die in the hope of a glorious immortality.

There are nine classes of Masonic emblems, the

first eight of which are: the Pot of Incense, the

Beehive, the Book of Constitutions guarded by

the Tylerís Sword, the Sword pointing to the Naked

Heart, the All-seeing Eye, the Anchor and the

Ark, the Forty-seventh Problem of Euclid, the

Hour-glass and the Scythe.

The Pot of Incense is an emblem of a pure heart,

which is always an acceptable sacrifice to 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 Beehive 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,

especially when it is in our power to relieve them

without inconvenience to ourselves.

The Book of Constitutions guarded by the Tylerís

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 the Naked Heart

demonstrates that justice will sooner or later

overtake us; and although our thoughts, words

and actions may be hidden from the eyes of men,

yet that All-seeing Eye, whom the Sun, Moon

and Stars obey, and under whose watchful care

even the Comets perform their stupendous

revolutions, pervades the inmost recesses of the

human Heart, and will reward us according to

our merits.

The Anchor and the Ark are emblems of a well-grounded

hope and a well-spent life. They are

emblematical of the 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 are at rest.

The Forty-seventh Problem of Euclid 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 the short space of an hour they are

all exhausted. Thus wastes man. Today he puts

forth the tender leaves of hope; tomorrow

blossoms, and bears his blushing honors thick

upon him; the next day comes a frost which nips

the shoot; and when he thinks his greatness is

still aspiring, 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 ills incident to childhood

and youth, and with health and vigor arrive at 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 ninth is not monitorial; it is the Setting Maul,

the Spade, the Coffin, and the Sprig of Acacia.

The Setting Maul is that by which our Grand

Master Hiram Abif was slain; the Spade, that

which dug his grave; the Coffin, that which

received his lifeless remains; and the Sprig of

Acacia, that which bloomed at the head of his

grave.

The first three are striking emblems of mortality

and afford serious reflection to all thinking men,

but they would be more dark and gloomy were it

not for the Sprig of Acacia that bloomed at the

head of the grave, (WM: * * *.) which serves to

remind us that there is an imperishable part within

us which bears the nearest affinity to the Supreme

Intelligence which pervades all nature and which

will never, never, never die. (WM: *)

 

Thus we close the explanation of the

emblems upon the solemn thought of

death, which without revelation would be

dark and gloomy, but we are suddenly

revived by that ever green and ever living

sprig of Faith, which strengthens us with

confidence and composure, to look

forward to a blessed immortality, and we

doubt not that on the glorious morn of

resurrection our bodies will rise and

become as incorruptible as our souls.

Then let us imitate the example of our

Grand Master Hiram Abif, in his virtuous

and amiable conduct, in his unfeigned

piety to God, in his inflexible fidelity to

his trust, that we may welcome the grim

tyrant, Death, and receive him as a kind

messenger sent from our Supreme

Grand Master to translate us from this

imperfect to that perfect, glorious and

celestial Lodge above, where the

Supreme Architect of the Universe

presides.

WM: My Brother, this concludes the Third

Degree of Freemasonry, with the

exception of the Charge. If you will rise,

I will repeat it to you.

Master Mason Degree - Charge

 

              

               

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