Early Masonic Tortoise Shell Snuff Box

This early Tortoise Shell Snuff Box carries many of the emblems of Blue Lodge Masonry.  The most prominent are Prudence (on the left) and Justice (on the right)!  Prudence - Preston first introduced it into the Entered Apprentice Degree as referring to what was then, and long before had been called the Four Principal Signs, but which are now known as the Perfect Points of Entrance. Preston's eulogium on prudence differs from that used in the lectures of the United States, which was composed by Webb.  It is in these words:   "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."  And Justice - The Freemason who remembers how emphatically he has been charged to preserve an upright position in all his dealings with mankind, should never fail to act justly to himself, to his Brethren, and to the world.  This is the corner-stone on which alone he can expect "to erect a superstructure alike honorable to himself and to the Fraternity."  In iconology, the general science pertaining to images, Justice is usually represented as a matron, her eyes bandaged, holding in one hand a sword and in the other a pair of scales at equipoise.  But in Freemasonry the true symbol of Justice, as illustrated in the First Degree, is the feet firmly planted on the ground, and the body upright.

 

         

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