the glossary by clicking on any of the letters below.
A | B |
C | D |
E | F |
G | H |
I | J |
K | L |
O | P |
Q | R |
S | T |
U | V | W
| X | Y | Z
Alphabetically Arranged with
Cyclopedic Meanings and Bible References
another name for the Promised Land of Israel, or for the Holy Land, situated
on the coast of the Mediterranean, extending from Lebanon on the north to the
borders of Egypt on the south, and extending east to the deserts of Syria.
It was conquered from the Canaanites by the Hebrews in 1450 B.C. and became
the national land of this people for fifteen centuries, even though it was
subjugated by the Assyrians, and the Babylonians during certain periods of
that time, and became subjugated to Persia, Alexander the Great, and the
Romans during the last few centuries of this period. The division of the
country into two Israelitish nations in 975 B.C. and the subsequent
destruction of the Northern Kingdom by Assyria, left only the tribes of Judah
and Benjamin, or the Kingdom of Judah, for the perpetuation of Jewish history.
With the Holy Land, especially with the building of
Temple and its successor, Zerubbabel's Temple, the mythical, and much of the
authentic, history of Freemasonry has been closely connected. From the
wars of the Crusaders in Palestine, the order of Knights Templar had its
origin. Although the principles of Freemasonry have swayed men from the
beginning of time, and fraternal Orders of a similar character most probably
existed from time immemorial, Freemasonry as we have it today quite certainly
had its beginnings at the building of King Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem.
Paper pulp mixed
with glue, chalk and sand, then compressed in a mold. It is then japanned
usually black, but also in other colors. It may be painted, or inlaid with
pearl shell and pewter. T he popularity of the material reached its height in
the early years of Queen Victoria, but had died out by late in the 19th
well-regulated Lodge there is found a
point within a circle, which circle is imbordered by two perpendicular parallel lines. These lines are
representative of St. John the Baptist and St, John the Evangelist, the two
great patrons of Freemasonry to whom our Lodges are dedicated, and who are
said to have been "perfect parallels in Christianity as well as
This is a
facetious name sometimes given to a Mason who commits to memory and repeats in
perfect rote the catechetical questions and answers on the Degree work of the
Lodge, but neither seeks nor learns anything of the real meaning and teachings
of Freemasonry. In reality, he is a poor specimen of a real Mason.
This is the
feast celebrated by the Jews in commemoration of the Passover, better known as
the Passover Feast. Christians observe the Feast of Easter in
celebration of the Resurrection of Christ as the successor to the old Jewish
Passover. The Paschal Feast, called also the Mystic Banquet, is kept by
all princes of the Rose Croix. Ex. 12:3-28 -
Deut. 16:1-8 - 1 Cor. 5:7
A candidate, on
receiving the Second Degree, is said to be "passed as a Fellow
Craft." It alludes to his having passed through the porch to the
Middle Chamber of the Temple, the place in which Fellow-Crafts received their
A legal document
describing a device or process that displays some new and previously
unrecorded aspects of manufacture or production. When accepted by an
appropriately appointed national government body, the document provides for a
specified period of time protection to the patentee against the device or
process being copied by another person or company, within the realm of the
appointed body, without prior consent. Regulations and other factors vary from
country to country. ARTICLE
Certificates of the advanced Degrees in the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite
are called Patents.
In the phrase
"time, patience, and perseverance will enable us to accomplish all things, and
perhaps at last to find the true Master's Word," Masons are certainly
encouraged to the practice of this noble virtue, with the assurance of
Soft luster on
bronze caused by tiny scratches, natural ageing and handling that comes with
daily use. Usually associated with brass and bronze items. May be the
result of atmospheric conditions and/or handling, or may be artificially
induced (a chemical treatment to enhance the appearance of an item).
Darkens the surface, providing a rich color. Note:
It should not be cleaned off.
spirit of Freemasonry is antagonistic to war. Its tendency is to unite
all men in one brotherhood, whose ties must necessarily be weakened by all
dissension. Hence, as Brother Albert Pike says, "Freemasonry is the
great Peace Society of the world. Wherever it exists, it struggles to
prevent international difficulties and disputes, and to bind republics,
kingdoms, and empires together in one great band of peace and amity."
Isa. 2:4 - Psalms 46:9 -
Luke 2:1-20 - 1 Tim. 2:2
jewelry (usually silver) set with stones native to Scotland. Very
popular during the Victorian era.
to the breast; from the Latin pectus, meaning the breast.
The heart has always been considered the seat of fortitude and courage, and
hence by this word is suggested to the Freemason certain symbolic instructions
in relation to the virtue of fortitude. In Freemasonry, the word is
appropriated to one of the Perfect Points of Entrance.
to the feet, from the Latin word pedes, meaning the feet.
The just man is he who, firmly planting his feet on the principles of right,
is as immoveable as a rock, and can be thrust from his upright position
neither by the allurements of flattery, nor the frowns of arbitrary
power. Hence by this word is suggested to the Freemason certain symbolic
instructions in relation to the virtue of justice.
The pelican feeding
her young with her blood is a prominent symbol of the Eighteenth or Rose Croix
Degree of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, and was adopted as such from
the fact that the pelican, in ancient Christian art, was considered as the
emblem of the Savior. Now this symbolism of the pelican, as a
representative of the Savior, is almost universally supposed to be derived
from the common belief that the pelican feeds her young with her blood, as the
Savior shed his blood for mankind; and hence the bird is always represented as
sitting on her nest, and surrounded by her brood of young ones, who are
dipping their bills into a wound in their mother's breast. But this is
not the exact idea of the symbolism, which really refers to the resurrection,
and is, in this point of view, more applicable to Christ, as well as to the
Masonic Degree of which the resurrection is a doctrine. In an ancient Bestiarium,
or Natural History, in the Royal Library at Brussels, cited by Larwood and
Hotten in a recent work on the History of Signboards, this statement
is made: "The pelican is very fond of his young ones, and when they
are born and begin to grow, they rebel in their nest against their parent, and
strike him with their wings flying about him, and beat him so much till they
wound him in his eyes. Then the father strikes and kills them. And
the mother is of such a nature that she comes back to the nest on the third
day, and sits down upon her dead young ones, and opens her side with her bill
and pours her blood over them, and so resuscitates them from death; for the
young ones, by their instinct, receive the blood as soon as it comes out of
the mother, and drink it." Dr. Mackey believed the true theory of
the pelican is, that by restoring her young ones to life by her blood, she
symbolizes the resurrection. The old symbologists said, that the male
pelican, who destroyed his young, represents the serpent, or evil principle,
which brought death unto the world; while the mother, who resuscitates them,
is the representative of the Son of Man of whom it is declared, "except
ye drink of His blood, ye have no life in you." Hence the
pelican is very appropriately a symbol of Freemasonry, whose great object it
is to teach by symbolism the doctrine of the resurrection, and especially in
that sublime Degree of the Scottish Rite wherein, the old Temple being
destroyed and the old Word being Lost, a new temple and a new word spring
forth -- all of which is but the great allegory of the destruction by death
and the resurrection to eternal life. EXAMPLE`
The term is employed in the Mark
Master Degree in the phrase, "A penny a day is the wages of the Mark Master."
This coin represents the Roman denarius, commonly used in New Testament
times as the "wages of a common laborer." In the Masonic ritual it
is simply a symbol of adequate reward for faithful service or labor. The
impact in the use of the Saviour's parable is that a laborer has no right of
complaint when his employer remunerates him in full, according to a previous
agreement or contract. A day's wages in parable of Jesus...
is the symbolism of the perfect ashlar? A stone of a true square, which
can only be tried by the square and compasses. This represents the mind
of a man at the close of life, after a well-regulated career of piety and
virtue, which can only be tried by the square of God's Word, and the compasses
of an approving conscience.
Job 1:1 - Gen. 6:9
a geometrical sense, that which is upright or erect, leaning neither one way
or another. In a figurative and symbolic sense, it conveys the
signification of Justice, Fortitude, Prudence, and Temperance. Justice,
that leans to no side but that of Truth; Fortitude, that yields to no adverse
attack; Prudence that ever pursues the straight path of integrity; and
Temperance that swerves not for appetite nor passion.
preferment among Masons is grounded upon real worth and personal merit
only, that so the Lord may be well served, the Brethren not put to shame, nor
the Royal Craft despised. Therefore no Master or Warden is chosen by
seniority, but for his merit.
to American usage any person who is desirous
of initiation into the mysteries of Freemasonry must apply to the Lodge
nearest to his place of residence, by means of a petition signed by
himself, and recommended by
at least two members of the Lodge to which he applies. A petition, when read, becomes the
property of the Lodge and cannot be withdrawn. 1 John 5:15
An alloy with
tin as its chief component. Because pewter is inexpensive and easy to
pour, it is primarily used for cast pieces such as mugs and plates.
The branch of
numismatics devoted to the science, study, and collecting of the insignia of
orders, decorations, and medals. The term originated in Czechoslovakia
around 1937 and is derived from phalera, a Roman military decoration.
The term is more widely used in Europe than in the U.S.. A Phalerist
is a person knowledgeable in phaleristics.
What is the philosophical basis of Masonry? Involves the history of its
origin, an inquiry into the ideas that lie at its base, an investigation of
its peculiar form, an analytical study of its several degrees, and a
development of the ideas which are illustrated by its ritualistic emblems,
myths and veiled allegories and which speak through its sublime system of
mythological legend of the Phoenix is a familiar one. The bird
was described as of the size of an eagle, with a head finely crested, a body
covered with beautiful plumage, and eyes sparkling like stars. She was said to
live six hundred years in the wilderness, when she built for herself a funeral
pile of aromatic woods, which she ignited with the fanning of her wings, and
emerged from the flames with a new life. Hence the phoenix has been adopted
universally as a symbol of immortality. Higgins (Anacalypsis,
ii., 441) says that the phoenix is the symbol of an ever-revolving
solar cycle of six hundred and eight years, and refers to the Phoenician word phen,
which signifies a cycle. Aumont, the first Grand Master of the Templars after
the martyrdom of DeMolay, and called the "Restorer of the Order,"
took, it is said, for his seal, a phoenix brooding on the flames, with the
motto, "Ardet ut vivat" - She burns that
she may live. The phoenix was adopted at a very early period as a
Christian symbol, and several representations of it have been found in the
catacombs. Its ancient legend, doubtless, caused it to be accepted as a symbol
of Jesus Christ's resurrection and immortality.
philosopher of the school of Alexandria, who was born about 30 years before
Christ. Philo adopted to their full extent the mystical doctrines of his
school, and taught that the Hebrew Scriptures contained, in a system of
allegories, the real source of all religious and philosophical knowledge, the
true meaning of which was to be excluded from the vulgar, to whom the literal
signification alone was to be made known. Whoever, says he, has
meditated on philosophy, has purified himself by virtue, and elevated himself
by a contemplative life to God and the intellectual world, receiving their
inspiration, thus pierces the gross envelope of the letter, and is initiated
into the mysteries of which the literal instruction is but a faint
image. A fact, a figure, a word, a rite or custom, veils the profoundest
truths, to be interpreted only by him who has the true key of science.
Such symbolic views were eagerly seized by the early inventors of the
advanced, philosophical Degrees of Freemasonry, who have made frequent use of
the esoteric philosophy of Philo in the construction of their Masonic system.
It was the
doctrine of the Alchemists, that there was a certain mineral, the discovery of
which was the object of their art, because, being mixed with the baser metals,
it would transmute these into gold. This mineral, known only to the
adepts, they called Lapis Philosophrum, or the philosopher's stone.
Hitchcock, who wrote a book in 1857 on Alchemy and the Alchemists, to maintain
the proposition that Alchemy was a symbolic science, that its subject was Man,
and its object the perfection of man, asserts that the philosopher's
stone was a symbol of man. He quotes the old Hermetic philosopher, Issac
Holland, as saying that "though a man be poor, yet he may very well
attain unto it--the work of perfection--and may be employed in making the
philosopher's stone." If this interpretation be correct, then the
philosopher's stone of the Alchemists, and the spiritual temple of the
Freemasons are identical symbols.
used to loosen the soil and prepare it for digging. It is one of the
Working Tools of a Royal Arch Mason, and symbolically teaches him to loosen
from his heart the hold of evil habits.
or machine cutting through the thickness of a sheet of metal.
pilgrim, from the Italian pelegrino, and that from the Latin peregrinus,
signifying a traveler, denotes one who visits holy places from a
principle of devotion. In the Middle Ages, Europe was filled with
pilgrims repairing to Palestine to pay their veneration to the numerous spots
consecrated in the annals of Holy Writ, more especially to the sepulcher of
our Lord. In the eleventh century, the Turks, whose bigoted devotion to
their own creed was only equaled by their hatred of every other form of faith,
but more especially of Christianity, having obtained possession of Syria, the
pilrim no longer found safety in his pious journey. He who would then
visit the sepulcher of his Lord must be prepared to encounter the hostile
attacks of ferocious Saracens, and the Pilgrim Penitent, laying aside
his peaceful garb, his staff and russet cloak, was compelled to assume the
sword and coat of mail and become a Pilgrim Warrior. This story
of the Crusades is beautifully told by John J. Robinson in his book "Born
The outer pillars of the temple are
called the "Pillars of Enoch". Enoch, fearing that the
principles of the Arts and Sciences might be lost, erected two pillars, the
one of marble to withstand fire, the other of brass to resist water. On
each he engraved all the knowledge which he feared would be lost. The
globes are symbols of unity, peace and plenty. These pillars also
support the "Rainbow" which is sometimes associated with the Holy
Royal Arch. It is also called the "Arch of Heaven", symbolic
of the architectural arch.
of the Porch
are the "Pillars of the Porch" of King Solomon's Temple... King
Solomon did not simply erect them as ornaments to the temple, but memorials of
God's repeated promises of support to His people of Israel. Boaz, the
name of the left pillar means "in strength", the right pillar Jachin
means "God will establish", which signifies when combined, the
message "In strength, God will establish His house in Israel".
And thus were the Jews, in passing through the porch to the temple, daily
reminded of the abundant promises of God, and inspired with confidence in His
protection and gratitude for His many acts of kindness to His chosen people.
The globe on the left pillar represents "Earth", that on the right,
"Heaven". As supports for the porch these pillars were
exceedingly strong, circular in form. made of bronze, the thickness of the
walls of these shafts being three inches, 18 feet in circumference and 6 feet
in diameter. Each of these pillars was 27 1/2 feet in height and their
chapiters of lily work extended the elevation 7 1/2 feet, making a total
height of 35 Feet. The chapiter were highly decorated with various
decorative technique used on tortoise shell using fine inlaid gold in lines or
points. Popular from the mid 17th century until Edwardian time.
Be Broken At The Fountain
With reference to the pitcher, what is the allegorical significance?
Recorded in the 12th chapter of Ecclesiastes we find this expression.
And refers to the great vein which carries the blood to the right ventricle of
the heart, here called the fountain.
usually found on lead or soft metal.
To make smooth
or plain. Oval-faced planishing hammers are used to conceal hammer marks used
in forming a piece.
The plans and
designs on the Tressel-Board of the Master, by which the building is erected,
are, in Speculative Freemasonry, symbolically referred to the moral plans and
designs of life by which we are to construct our spiritual temple, and in the
direction of which we are to be instructed by some recognized Divine
item that is square or rectangular in shape. A plaque might be uniface,
portable or nonportable.
"Plumb" is an instrument made use of by operative Masons to try
perpendiculars, the "Square" to square their work, and the
"Level" to prove horizontals, but we, as Free and Accepted Masons
are taught to use them for more noble and glorious purposes. The
"Plumb" admonishes us to walk uprightly in our several stations
before God and man, squaring our actions by the Square of Virtue, ever
remembering that we are traveling upon the Level of Time, toward "that
undiscovered country from whose bourne no traveler returns." The
divine requirement for uprightness and rectitude in all walks of life...
Prov. 4:25-27 - Deut. 5:32 - Deut. 28:14
of Entrance, Perfect
In the earliest
lectures these were called "Principal Points." The designation
of them a "Perfect Points of Entrance" was of a later date.
They are described in both the English and American systems. Their
specific names, and their allusion to the four cardinal virtues, are the same
in both; but the verbal explanations differ, although not substantially.
They are so called because they refer to four important points of
initiation. The Guttural refers to the entrance upon the penal
responsibilities; the Pectoral, to the entrance into the Lodge; the Manual, to
the entrance on the covenant; and the Pedal, to the entrance on the
instruction in the northeast.
of Fellowship, Five
There are duties
owing by every Freemason to his Brethren, which, form their symbolic allusion
to certain points of the body, and from the lesson of brotherly love which
they teach, are called the Five Points of Fellowship. They are
symbolically illustrated in the Third Degree, and have been summed up by Dr.
Oliver as "assisting a Brother in distress, supporting him in his
virtuous undertakings, praying for his welfare, keeping inviolate his secrets,
and vindicating his reputation as well in his absence as in his
within a Circle
This is a symbol of
great interest and importance, and brings us into close connection with the
early symbolism of the solar orb and the universe, which was predominant in
the ancient sun-worship. The lectures of Freemasonry give what modern
Monitors have made an exoteric explanation of the
symbol, in telling us that
the point represents an individual brother, the circle the boundary line of
his duty to God and man, and the two perpendicular parallel lines the patron
saint of the Order--St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist.
But that was not always its symbolic signification, we may collect from the
true history of its connection with the phallus of the Ancient
Mysteries. The phallus was among the Egyptians the symbol of fecundity,
expressed by the male generative principle. It was communicated from the
rites of Osiris to the religious festivals of Greece. Among the Asiatics
the same emblem, under the name of lingam, was, in connection with the female
principle, worshiped as the symbols of the Great Father and Mother, or
producing causes of the human race, after their destruction by the deluge.
Here, then, was the first outline of the point
within a circle, representing the principle of fecundity, and doubtless the
symbol, connected with a different history, that, namely, of Osiris, was
transmitted by the Indian philosophers to Egypt, and to the other nations, who
derived, as is elsewhere shown, all their rites from the East.
A round knob; a term
applied to the globes or balls on the top of the pillars which stood at the
porch of Solomon's Temple. It was introduced into the Masonic lectures
from Scriptural language. The two pommels of the chapiters is in
Second Chronicles 4:13. It is, however, an architectural
term, thus defined by Parker (Glossary of Architecture, page 365):
"Pommel denotes generally any ornament of a globular form."
vitrified ware. Hard paste porcelain is made with kaolin and other
ingredients; soft paste porcelain with bone ash plus other materials.
Some porcelains are thin and translucent, others are thicker and opaque.
a pure heart, which is always an acceptable sacrifice to the 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.
Articles laid up in the Ark of the Covenant by Aaron was a pot of manna.
Manna has been considered a symbol of life; not the transitory, but the
enduring one of a future world. Hence the Pot of Manna, Aaron's Rod that
budded anew, and the Book of the Law, which teaches Divine Truth, all found
together, are appropriately considered as symbols of that eternal life which
it is the design of the Royal Arch Degree to teach. EXAMPLE
Freemasonry is a
religious institution, and hence its regulations inculcate the use of prayer
"as a proper tribute of gratitude," to borrow from the language of
Preston, "to the beneficent Author of Life." Hence it is of
indispensable obligation that a Lodge, a Chapter, or any other Masonic Body,
should be both opened and closed with prayer.
Prayer at Closing
Architect of the Universe, accept our humble thanks for the many mercies and
blessings which they bounty has conferred on us, and especially for this
friendly and social intercourse. Pardon, we beseech thee, whatever thou
has seen amiss in us since we have been together; and continue to us thy
presence, protection and blessing. Make us sensible of the renewed
obligations we are under to love thee, and as we are about to separate, and
return to our respected places of abode, wilt thou be pleased so to influence
our hearts and minds, that we may each one of us practice, out of the Lodge,
those great moral duties which are inculcated in it, and with reverence study
and obey the laws which thou hast given us in thy Holy Word.--Amen.
Response by the brethren.--So
mote it be.
Prayer at Opening
Most holy and
glorious Lord God, the Great Architect of the Universe, the giver of all good
gifts and graces. Thou hast promised that, "where two or three are
gathered together in thy name, thou wilt be in their midst and bless them."
In they name we have assembled, and in thy name we desire to proceed in all
our doings. Grant that the sublime principles of Freemasonry may so
subdue every discordant passion within us--so harmonize and enrich our hearts
with thine own Love and goodness--that the Lodge at this time may humbly
reflect that order and beauty which reign forever before thy throne.
Amen Response by the brethren.--So mote it be.
Prayer Used at Initiation
aid, Almighty Father of the Universe, to this our present convention; and
grant that this candidate for Masonry may dedicate and devote his life to thy
service, and become a true and faithful brother among us. Endue him with
a competency of thy divine Wisdom, that by the influence of the pure
principles of our art he may be better enabled to display the beauties of
holiness, to the honor of thy holy name. Amen
Response by the brethren.--So mote it be.
Preparation of the Candidate
According to Jewish literature and traditions, great care was taken of the
personal condition of every Israelite who entered the Temple for Divine
Worship. The Talmud lays down the following requirements: "No man
shall go into the Temple with his staff, nor with shoes on his feet, nor with
his outer garment, nor with money tied up in his purse." The ceremonial
usages in Freemasonry have remarkable coincidences with this old Jewish
custom. But it must be remembered that the preparation of the candidate
for his entrance into Masonry is entirely symbolic, and full of signification.
This preparation can not be altered, abridged, or added to in any of its
details, because of its esoteric design. Preparation for the different
degrees vary, and the symbolisms are, of course, different.
1 Kings 8:61 - 2 Chr. 30:9-27 - Psalms
dropped into a two, three or four piece mold and pressed by a plunger into the
depressions in the mold. Usually distinguished by the raised lines left by the
joins in the mold. EXAMPLE
presented to recipients by a superior ranking official. In Freemasonry,
many presentations are made west of the Altar in the Lodge room by the
Worshipful Master, and in some cases, the Grand Master.
times and among the patriarchs of Israel, the father was the priest of his
family, and offered prayer and sacrifice for his household. It was only
when religion took on ecclesiastical forms that a separate caste known as
"priests" became necessary. Thus religions of various kinds had their
sacerdotal class, just as did the Hebrews. But Masonry has reserved in
its religious ceremonies, as in many of its other usages, the patriarchal
spirit and practice; and in this particular follows the New Testament pattern
of regarding Jesus Christ as High Priest. In the Blue Lodges, the
Worshipful Master, like the father in primitive families, offers up prayer and
serves at the altar; or when expediency requires it he appoints a brother of
the Lodge to act as Chaplain.
Prince of Jerusalem
This was the
Sixteenth Degree of the Rite of Perfection, whence it was transferred to the
Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, in the same numerical position. It
is founded on certain legendary incidents which took place during the building
of the Second Temple, when the Jews were so hindered by the opposing
surrounding nations in their work that an ambassage was sent to king Darius to
implore his favor and protection, which was accordingly obtained. The
legend which is developed in this Rite is sustained by historical data given
by Josephus, even though Ezra refers only to the oppositions encountered and
to Darius's intervention.
installation of the officers of a Lodge, or any other Masonic body, and
especially a Grand Lodge or Grand Chapter, proclamation is made in a Lodge or
Chapter by the installing officer, and in a Grand Lodge or Grand Chapter by
the Grand Marshall. Proclamation is also made on some other occasions,
and on such occasions the Grand Marshall performs the duty.
that anyone who devotes himself to the acquisition of a science should become
proficient in its elementary instructions before he can expect to grasp and
comprehend its higher branches, is so almost self-evident as to need no
argument. The ritual of all the Symbolic degrees, and, indeed, of the
higher degrees, and that too in all rites, makes the imperative demand of
every candidate whether he has made suitable proficiency in the preceding
degree, an affirmative answer to which is required before the rites of
initiation can be proceeded with. This answer is, according to the
ritual, that "he has."
chronological order of collections in which a particular item has resided.
A synonymous term is pedigree.
Prudence is the
true guide to human understanding, and consists in judging and determining
with propriety what is to be said or done upon all our occasions, what dangers
we should endeavor to avoid, and how to act in all our difficulties.
Devices used to
suggest English hallmarks.
A few Masonic
Ceremonies may be conducted in public; they include, the burial of a deceased
brother, the laying of cornerstones of public buildings or of Masonic halls,
the dedications of Masonic halls, and the installation of officers.
with a hardened and tempered steel punch.
expression or the ceremony of ascertaining the Masonic right to be present
when a Lodge is opened.
In the Ancient
Mysteries purity of heart and life was an essential prerequisite to
initiation, because by initiation the aspirant was brought to a knowledge of
God, to know whom was not permitted to the impure. For, says Origen (Cont.
Cel., vi.), "a defiled heart cannot see God, but he must be pure who
desires to obtain a proper view of a pure Being." And in the same
spirit the Divine Master says: "Blessed are the pure in heart, for
they shall see God." But "to see God" is a Hebraism,
signifying to possess him, to be spiritually in communion with him, to know
his true character. Now to acquire this knowledge of God, symbolized by
the knowledge of his Name, is the great object of Masonic, as it was of all
ancient initiation; and hence the candidate in Masonry is required to be pure,
for "he only can stand in the holy place who hath clean hands and a pure
by burning a surface (usually of leather or wood) with a hot tool. EXAMPLE
One of the most
celebrated of Grecian philosophers, and the founder of what has been called
the Italic School, was born at Samos in the period of 586-69 B.C., the
year 582 being favored as the probable one of his birth. Educated as an
athlete, he subsequently abandoned that profession and devoted himself to the
study of philosophy. He traveled through Egypt, Chaldea, and Asia Minor,
and is said to have submitted to the initiations in those countries for the
purpose of acquiring knowledge. On his return to Europe, he established
his celebrated school at Cortona, a Dorian Colony in the south of Italy, about
529 B.C., much resembling that subsequently adopted by the Freemasons.
His school soon acquired such a reputation that disciples flocked to him from
all parts of Greece and Italy. Pythagoras taught as the principle dogma
of his philosophy the system of metempsychosis, or the
souls. He taught the mystical power of numbers, and much of the
symbolism on that subject which we now posses is derived from what has been
left to us by his disciples, for of his own writings there is nothing
extant. He was also a geometrician, and is regarded as having been the
inventor of several problems, the most important of which is that now known as
the forty-seventh problem of Euclid. He was also a proficient in music,
and is said to have demonstrated the mathematical relations of musical
intervals, and to have invented a number of musical instruments.
Disdaining the vanity and dogmatism of the ancient sages, he contented himself
with proclaiming that he was simply a seeker after knowledge, not its
possessor, and to him is attributed the introduction of the word philosopher,
or lover of wisdom, as the only title of which he would assume.
After the lawless destruction of his school at Crotona, he fled to the
Locrians, who refused to receive him, when he repaired to Metapontum, and
sought an asylum from his enemies in the temple of the Muses, where traditions
says that he died of starvation at near the end of the 6th or the beginning of
the fifth century. Some claim the date to be 506 B.C., when he was about
seventy-six years old.
here to return to Glossary Index