Bro. Jon Patrick Sage
In our first two degrees of Masonry, the concept of strength comes first, with establishment following. This is also the case in the order in which the first Temple at Jerusalem was allowed by God to be built. David represented strength, his son, the King Solomon, was establishment in persona. Further on, and again representing the Globes: Boaz represents the terrestrial (Strength, Terra Firma), and Jachin that of the celestial heavens (Establishment, Eternal in the heavens).
These differences between the two men, and the ways in which they applied physical and spiritual knowledge to their own lives, will go to the heart of the discussion. David and Solomon are but examples, albeit spectacular ones, of each individual Craftsman. We are all completed in the likeness of the Deity; however, we are not divine, or rather wholly divine. Instead, through our composition, education, and blessing bestowed, we each have Divine attributes, complementing our physical strengths and weaknesses.
Because Jachin and Boaz are the two main representatives of Strength, Establishment, and also the Universality within the Freemasonic Institution, it is easy to use the two mysterious Pillars as examples. Thus following, as the Pillars were representative of the Kingdoms of Solomon and David, it is also agreeable to utilize these two figures as the focal points of comparison.
I. Foundations for Building
As I progress in my studies of Freemasonry, and the many symbolisms within, it becomes more and more apparent to me that above all else, the theory ofbalance comes into question almost constantly. Of course, I am not speaking, literally, of the balance of one walking down the street while maintaining an upright and regular gait, though this is important! Instead, the balance is figurative, and deals in the usual suspects: good and bad, black and white, long and short, and peculiarly; perhaps at the root of most of these symbolisms – Strength and Establishment.
The notions of strength and establishment are both human and divine in nature, and are best displayed within the Lodge room by Jachin and Boaz. The names are, in the Middle Chamber lecture, recited as Jachin and Boaz, with Jachin coming first, even though the order of the mix is to have, as was the entrance into the Temple, Boaz on the left-hand, and the other on the right. For a great many, the actual placement of the Pillars is insignificant. Indeed, for a great many, several things are insignificant. However, the placement of the Pillars, when considering their literal names and the meanings thereof, becomes painfully crucial to not only the Ritual, but to the groundwork for future building which that particular lecture and following course(s) of study sets down.
To build the speculative, and most certainly, the operative structure, the foundation MUST be level and duly proportioned according to the structure that will follow. If one considers the materials, or in the speculative sense, the character building or self-improvement, that goes into the creation of the Temple, we must also appreciate the results of those processes. Energy utilized in the construction, along with the energy and/or weight of the material being used, translates into a certain amount of mass, stored up inertia, if you will. These energies remain locked inside the edifice once the Temple is completed. Found in many older buildings, are stress fractures- Cracks in the pavement and fascia begin to become evident. Over time, no matter the expertise of the builder, the pressure exerted by external and internal forces begin to compromise the structure! While this may be unavoidable, the extent of the ravages brought about by age can be dramatically confined to a minimum IF the structure is built within due bounds- If the Temple is balanced.
It is especially for this reason that building in balance becomes so very important. The case may very well be, that a Temple constructed horribly out of balance will be absolutely beautiful immediately following its completion; the same would be true for the Temple built in harmonious proportion. The difference though, is manifest by the balanced Temple. Though age may and will appear, the more solid structure will remain beautiful and will sustain less damage due to age than will her hurriedly pieced together and unbalanced counterpart!
I recall the parable of the man who built a house upon sand, and the other who built his abode upon the Solid Rock.
The Solid Rock spoken of in Biblical Scripture refers specifically to Jesus, but more broadly to the Deity in general, which is always to be found at the centre of Creation – At the point within the centre of the circle. This alludes to the notion that man may also find his centre according to Him who dwells in the heart of man, if man lives true and according to the square. In Mathew 7: 24-29 this lesson is taught well “24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: 25 And the a rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. 26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it. 28 And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: 29 For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. ”
Although the previous scripture is taught to preschoolers, and is often in a sing-song form; could there be a better age group for that lesson? The age of the audience certainly does not have much to do with the wisdom imparted. In this case, we find this absolutely to be the truth. Indeed, one may build upon whatever foundational material he may choose; but, the quality, strength, the balanced proportions of that foundation will, in the end, determine the inner integrity of the structure, and hence, will determine the life and quality of the life of the work accomplished by any builder. This assurance will be the case whether the builder be 6 years of age, or 106 years in age. This truth of balance, of proportion, of foundational assuredness is a timeless concept, and one which does not waver. To find the centre, and to then plan accordingly, balancing the Temple resting thereon, is an absolute truth. A divine truth.
II. The Strength of Man
The strength, or resolve, of mankind is evidenced by the continuous need to find purpose in one’s own existence. The amoeba or other simple organisms do not, so far as we know, quest for a meaning in their existence. Although the single cell animal may be, inasmuch as is required of the definition, alive – Those simple life forms, lacking the physical components of the complex human brain, and complimented by the unseen forces comprising our souls, are without any kind of inner strength longing for reason and purpose. The simple and unthinking creature, lacking any kind of adorned mind, begins life– lives, and dies. Although we, as the almighty human, may not absolutely discern whether or not there is an afterlife for the humble amoeba; it is within our scope of knowledge and powers of reason to suppose, perhaps at times arbitrarily, that a certain amount of mental capacity necessarily extends into inner strength, and the presence of an undying spirit and/or soul. As it stands, most humans conclude that eternal life, and the necessity of a soul along with the accompanying inner strength of man, is reserved for only the most highly evolved species on this planet; namely, human beings.
Much of what we know, or claim to know, of the inner strength of man, provided us by our Creator, comes from Biblical and other religious texts. The King James Bible is rather conclusive that man was created, more or less, “as is”. This is to say that very little evolution, mental or otherwise, has occurred in man since the time of creation. Genesis 1:27 “So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”…Genesis 28 “… and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” We go further in the Scripture, into Ephesians 2:10 “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. ”
These passages begin to form the basis for the thought process which would claim humans as the only creatures in God’s creation who, being created in His (eternal/spirit), image, would possess souls, and thus, the need for an afterlife. Accordingly, the need and expectation of an afterlife naturally gives way to the idea of Heaven and Hell (in the Christian/Hebrew Faith), and involves the notion of good and evil, righteousness and sin. If we establish that sin is present, and that sin leads to damnation, we would then need a methodology for the forgiveness and/or atonement for that sin, and eternal Life. For this, the Law of God was handed down to Moses, and through Priests and sacrifice to God, atonement for nearly every kind of sin was made available to man – Thus, man was now given opportunity to uphold God’s Covenant, and to then, be worthy of eternal Life in paradise. In time, and certainly during the reign of Solomon, this notion of eternal existence gave rise to a thirst for knowledge; a need for the furtherance and betterment of the inner self (the soul). This in turn led to a strengthening of the spirit of man and is the crux of the argument between the differences in David and Solomon, namely if it is better to live by the Law, or to seek Light on an individual basis.
It is no secret that the boy David, who slew the Philistine Goliath, grew to be, as King David, a physically strong and secure man. While doing so, David was also a figurehead amongst his people for moral and spiritual guidance. The word sin- one that is decidedly Christian in nature, is not peculiar to David’s circumstance. On one hand, David, as King, could and did do as he pleased. On the other hand, David, lived within the Law of God. While it is true that his sins were many, so was his remorse and repentance. According to the Law, sin was an inevitable part of life, and atonement, usually by sacrifice, was necessary to cover the sin. But this (sacrifice), would have been done with a contrite spirit, one desiring repentance. David, above all else, was repentant. This further advances the idea of original sin, and also that the sin that could be made right (atoned for/made righteous), through faith in, and obedience to a loving God. Sin, at its base, is translated from the Latin as an “omission” . To take it a step further, this would be an omission of the Law of God, and a transgression (or trespass) against or over the boundaries set by God, in that Law, which was made sacred in His original Covenant with Abraham and then Moses, i.e., The Law, The Old Testament Law . But, as all men were with sin, so were men able to be blessed by God. As David’s life progressed, he was involved in an almost circular motion of sin and atonement. However, this was to be expected under the Law, and during atonement, David was repentant. This repentance, recorded in Acts 13:22, informs us that through his repentant nature, David was a man, “after the heart of God”… “and from whose seed would become the Savior Jesus ”. Accordingly, in spite of his many sinful acts, David was hugely blessed, and Jesus was and is often referred to as the Son of David.
Although David was held in high regard as King and was, by all accounts, a successful King, he was not permitted by God to erect the Temple at Jerusalem. This was partly because of his warlike nature, and is translated to us in the Scriptures in a way which moves us along to his son Solomon, in Chronicles 22: 7-10, “7 And David said to Solomon, My son, as for me, it was in my mind to build an b house unto the name of the Lord my God: 8 But the word of the Lord came to me, saying, Thou hast shed blood abundantly, and hast made great wars: thou shalt not build an house unto my name, because thou hast shed much blood upon the earth in my sight. 9 Behold, a son shall be born to thee, who shall be a man of rest; and I will give him a rest from all his enemies round about: for his name shall be Solomon, and I will give peace and quietness unto Israel in his days. 10 He shall build a house for my name; and he shall be my son, and I will be his father; and I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel forever. ”
However, although David was not charged with building the Temple, he was endowed with the desire to build the Temple to his God, the God of Israel, and the same God of Moses. David was a prime example of original sin – Sin which could only receive atonement through the power of Almighty God, as administered by a Priest, or through a various type of sacrifice to God. David, even though he was King, could NOT atone or attempt forgiveness, or even avoidance, of sin. Sin was throughout the fiber of David, the original sin from Eden. For this reason, a Temple was a very necessary part of lives of David, and his subjects, and came to represent man seeking God, through the Strength of Man.
Throughout the wars fought by David, in which he claimed Israel for God, the Ark of the Covenant did not have a permanent resting place, that is to say, specifically, the Temple that would provide the proper place of sanctuary and of worship. The Inner Sanctum, or Holy of Holies, in those times, was a tent, with certain sections curtained off, and those entered only by the High Priest. Indeed, the God of Moses, was due a proper and permanent place, which would preserve and protect the Ark of the Covenant. The NEED for the Temple was also because David acknowledged, as was repeated over and over in the Book of Psalms, that sin was abundant in his life, in the lives of all the peoples on the face of the Earth. David’s belief was that of the Old Testament that sin could only be atoned for by sacrifice to God, and through Holy worship of Him, according to the Law. Thus, any atonement, even though it was administered by the Priests, originated only from the heart of God. The Temple, as such, represented the ultimate connection between God and man, and acted, in matters of morality and Holiness, as the real and only Strength of Man (that is to say, that the strength of man was utilized for, among other things, the worship of God, according to the Law). This was the Light available to King David.
III. God Within Man
Solomon the King, through his 7 years of construction on the Temple, and lengthy 40 year reign, received a somewhat different light, and in doing so, an ability to commune directly with God, or so he believed. This was founded in a worldly knowledge, drenched in magic, seers, and what we today call the Kabbala. Although the Law of Moses would still be very much in effect for another 400 or so years, this discovery of the enlightenment of the individual self (or soul), led Solomon to develop a sense of connection with the God of Abraham, but also with other Gods/Idols, who were presented to him by his many wives and concubines. In I Kings 11: 1-13, we learn much of this, and as much as Solomon had a pure heart in his youth, in age, his heart turned from the Lord, and for this, God foresaw the downfall of Israel which would come after Solomon’s rule. Indeed, in I Kings 11:6 “And Solomon did evil in the sight of the Lord, and went not fully after the Lord, as did David his father ”. The notion of King Solomon as the Wisest man, was evidenced by this lifelong love of learning and knowledge, and was described in I Kings 3:5-11, whereby Solomon being asked by God in verse 5 what “shall I give thee”, replied in verse 9 to give “they servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad” . This pleased the Lord, and because Solomon asked for wisdom, instead of other earthly riches and treasures, he was given that gift.
Accordingly, this strength and a quest for knowledge, in time, served to give Solomon, who assumed the throne of his father at age 29, almost a springboard effect in his life long search for knowledge and also of Light. In large part, these characteristics of knowledge, accompanied by physical, spiritual, and political strength, enabled Solomon to fulfill that prophesy given by David, and the Temple was erected. Solomon the King, while building the Temple at Jerusalem, essentially combined a great many admirable traits and virtues of his ancestors, forming the basis of Ancient Craft Masonry. Also, through a departure from the Law of the Old Testament, brought about by the worship of idols and the erecting of Temples unto them, Solomon invited the wrath of God onto the Nation of Israel, ultimately culminating, through his search for Light, the division of the Kingdom of Israel into the Northern tribe of Israel and the Southern Tribe of Judah, and the untimely destruction of the Temple. Moreover, the construction of the Temple provides us with the Hiramical Legend of the Third degree, which takes the quest and zeal of life, and of all strength therein, and providing important and undeniable lessons in the immortality of the soul .
Solomon’s view on spiritual matters, in the end, differed greatly than did David’s. This is the main reason for what is being termed “God within Man”, and also serves to illustrate a departure from simple physical strength to mental strength, thus progressing to a commune with the Deity on an individual level. This is absolutely at odds with the traditional law of the God of Abraham, as once described in Joshua 7:1-26, … when “Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, o the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed thing: and the anger of the Lord was kindled against the children of Israel” ; when it might be said that all of Israel, by the actions of one man, would be at odds with God, and worthy of His wrath. Solomon, possibly and most likely, through his familiarity with other religions, became aware of the spirituality of the individual man.
In the Antiquities of the Jews, completed around 93 A.D., Flavius Josephus relays stories and accounts, often additions and/or addendums to what we would normally find in the Bible. Some have considered works such as these, along with the Gnostic texts, and other so called “Lost Books”, to be outside of the realm of Holy or accepted, inasmuch as they were not made sacred by the early Church at Nicaea. However, it is important to include most accounts on any subject, as is usually the case that much is added to, or at time, taken away from the time honored and accepted arguments. In the case of the Wisdom of Solomon, it has been suggested that the King possessed supernatural powers, in that line of thought, we find in Book VIII, Chapter 2, and Verse 5 of the Antiquities of the Jews verification of such powers, not spoken of directly in the Holy Bible.
“Now the sagacity and wisdom which God had bestowed on Solomon was so great, that he exceeded the ancients; insomuch that he was no way inferior to the Egyptians, who are said to have been beyond all men in understanding; nay, indeed, it is evident that their sagacity was very much inferior to that of the king’s. He also excelled and distinguished himself in wisdom above those who were most eminent among the Hebrews at that time for shrewdness; those I mean were Ethan, and Heman, and Chalcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol. He also composed books of odes and songs a thousand and five, of parables and similitudes three thousand; for he spake a parable upon every sort of tree, from the hyssop to the cedar; and in like manner also about beasts, about all sorts of living creatures, whether upon the earth, or in the seas, or in the air; for he was not unacquainted with any of their natures, nor omitted inquiries about them, but described them all like a philosopher, and demonstrated his exquisite knowledge of their several properties. God also enabled him to learn that skill which expels demons, (4) which is a science useful and sanative to men. He composed such incantations also by which distempers are alleviated. And he left behind him the manner of using exorcisms, by which they drive away demons, so that they never return; and this method of cure is of great force unto this day; for I have seen a certain man of my own country, whose name was Eleazar, releasing people that were demoniacal in the presence of Vespasian, and his sons, and his captains, and the whole multitude of his soldiers. The manner of the cure was this: He put a ring that had a Foot of one of those sorts mentioned by Solomon to the nostrils of the demoniac, after which he drew out the demon through his nostrils; and when the man fell down immediately, he abjured him to return into him no more, making still mention of Solomon, and reciting the incantations which he composed. And when Eleazar would persuade and demonstrate to the spectators that he had such a power, he set a little way off a cup or basin full of water, and commanded the demon, as he went out of the man, to overturn it, and thereby to let the spectators know that he had left the man; and when this was done, the skill and wisdom of Solomon was shown very manifestly: for which reason it is, that all men may know the vastness of Solomon’s abilities, and how he was beloved of God, and that the extraordinary virtues of every kind with which this king was endowed may not be unknown to any people under the sun for this reason, I say, it is that we have proceeded to speak so largely of these matters. ”
Continuing on, in Chapter 7, Verse 5 of the Eighth Book of the Antiquities of the Jews, greater detail is given to the role played by Solomon’s many wives, and the ill effect that eventually would cause Solomon to decline in favor with God. Although the Bible only mentions that Solomon slept with his fathers, that is to say- He died, he did so only after falling out of favor with God.
“Nay, he forsook the observation of the laws of his fathers, and came to an end no way suitable to our foregoing history of him. He grew mad in his love of women, and laid no restraint on himself in his lusts; nor was he satisfied with the women of his country alone, but he married many wives out of foreign nations; Sidontans, and Tyrians, and Ammonites, and Edomites; and he transgressed the laws of Moses, which forbade Jews to marry any but those that were of their own people. He also began to worship their gods, which he did in order to the gratification of his wives, and out of his affection for them… Nor did he imitate David, although God had twice appeared to him in his sleep, and exhorted him to imitate his father. So he died ingloriously. So Solomon died when he was already an old man, having reigned eighty years, and lived ninety-four. He was buried in Jerusalem, having been superior to all other kings in happiness, and riches, and wisdom, excepting that when he was growing into years he was deluded by women, and transgressed the law” .
The word Sin was not expressly used in relation to Solomon’s eventual relationship with God, though we may interpret this to be the Christian definition and verdict of the worldly efforts of Solomon, which caused God to fulfill prophesy after the death of the King, culminating in the destruction of his kingdom, with it being split into the Northern Tribe of Israel, and the Southern Tribe of Judah. Many of the same sentiments are relayed to us in I Kings, Chapter 11. If this were the case with Solomon, evidently brought on by his search for the knowledge that is of the world, is this then, the knowledge of God, or is Wisdom, founded “in” the man and of this earth, evil? Was Solomon, while engaged in idolatry (which could be symbolic and representative of whatever he supposed it to be), simply participating in pagan and/or magical ceremonies, which were founded entirely IN his abilities of the man, and not those of God? If this were the case, then the supposition that his quest for knowledge, and the adornment of his mind, would have necessarily led him away from what would become the accepted and canonized version of the Holy Scriptures. The type of knowledge, having to do with many things, but especially of those that were described in the so called lost books, are expressly forbidden throughout the modern Church.
The Biblical text is very clear on what type of knowledge is of God, and what type is also against God. The language of the Scriptures conveys that anything “of this World” is inherently evil, and not of God. I Corinthians, 18-20 “18Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may become wise.19 For the wisdom of this b world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.20 And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain. ” We may look back into Genesis 2:17 “But of the tree of knowledge of good and of evil, thou shalt not eat of eat: for in the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die. ”
In Morals and Dogma, Pike is often cited as heralding the Luciferian Theory, in effect, that Lucifer is the true God. This is, no doubt, reminiscent of the Serpent in the Garden, offering Light, described as the forbidden fruit to an unknowing man. That knowledge may have been anything supernatural in nature, though not expressly recommended by the Holy Scripture, i.e., Salvation through Christ, Papal Infallibility, One Creed, etc. Pike expressly questions the name of Lucifer, as the one commonly used is associated with Satan, and is not according to the definition of “Light Bearer” from the original Latin .
In Morals and Dogma, when describing who it was that first offered Light (the serpent preying upon free will in concert with the human spirit, and NOT the Church), declared that “It is he who bears the Light, and with its splendors intolerable blinds feeble, sensual, or selfish Souls? Doubt it not! For traditions are full of Divine Revelations and Inspirations; and Inspiration is not of one Age nor of one Creed. ” There is no doubt that strictly speaking, the notion of Lucifer as Light, is much different than that of Satan, denoting the Devil, or one against Light, against God. In this context, to the credit of Pike, Luciferian Light is the quest for illumination, further Light– the Laudable Pursuit of that which was lost. Was this the Light of Eden the same Light sought by Solomon? Is it wrong to search for such Light? Quite the contrary, that quest for further Light is our reason as men and as Masons! “Never here is it to be found, but the search for it is the reason for life. ”
IV. Our Lives as Temples
The ideals and examples of strength and establishment, as they are related to human and divine matters, symbolized by Jachin and Boaz, and embodied by Kings David and Solomon, are more than supportive in a historical understanding of these definitions. Indeed, there have been a great number of volumes written on the subject, and this primer will in no way presuppose to be the end all argument of the intricacies of David’s Strength having to do with the Establishment of Solomon’s Kingdom. The way it stands, one might suppose that to say Solomon’s reign was established is to add insult to the longevity of that word. However, at a deeper level, the aim of Solomon’s studies and the enlightenment which he gained, in relation to the attainment of Light, has been established as the foundation of learning. It cannot be denied, that in the modern day, nearly 2500 years after the reign of Solomon, we still refer to Solomon as the “Wisest Man”. The reason for this accurate description of one so involved with learning, is readily evidenced, and explained.
Solomon’s quest for knowledge was, at his time, truly outside of “The Box”. He searched the Holy Scripture and found some answers there. Yet, although the ancient text do not implicitly state this, we must assume that Solomon looked toward foreign religions and the love of many women to perhaps explain some other questions that his mind still held, which could not, or would not, be answered by the clergy of that day. In whatever manner the Levites were capable of operating the magnificent Temple of Solomon for the glorification and worship of God; it is plausible that the Priestly cast was ill-equipped to provide answers or comfort for some of Solomon’s most human desires and difficulties. For these dilemmas, who better to turn to, than to the religions and Gods whose domain is of this Earth, in a tangible realm? Surely, answers to most questions held by mortals would be more easily answered here, than in some far off spiritual abode. Although this might have been, by pure conjecture, a reasoning for the actions of Solomon, in trying to find a more personal source of Light, it may not have been the only one. Nor was it, in view of the knowledge and customs of today, possibly the correct path of action.
Instead, a melding of the two might have been a better prescription for Solomon’s desire of Light, and of knowledge. In our Masonic Institution, even those who do not profess the Christian Faith also do not deny the importance of the Holy Scripture of that religion. On the same token, others of an Islamic persuasion, or of a belief system rooted in the Far East, if they are receptive to the principles of our Order, do not cast off the classical beliefs and dogmas of any number of the religions of the World, or of her ancient philosophers. Instead, we should all choose, if at all possible, to blend all of these into a suitable clay pottery, where the flowers of human wonderment can flourish, enriched with a most useful knowledge, the knowledge of all of mankind.
“Geometry, and Masonry, originally synonymous terms, being of a divine and moral nature, is enriched with the most useful knowledge. While it proves the wonderful properties of Nature, it demonstrates the more important truths of Morality. ” King Solomon, engaged in the building of the Temple at Jerusalem, was not a man who held wisdom in one regard. Indeed, in those days, and also in these modern day, the science of Geometry is the science of the World. As Masons, Geometry is also the foundation of our Institution. Plato stated that “God is always geometrizing”. God the Creator, the Grand Architect of the Universe, is always Geometrizing, always Creating, and His Creations, as living things- either directly or indirectly- must also always create, and thus- Improve.
If the God of the Old Testament commanded for man to worship Him in a State that must have been facilitated and made possible by Priest, this indicated that man was, by his own nature, without God. Moreover, if a man, after death was deemed to be righteous, only then could he seek communion with God, and gaze upon his face. As man progressed, and as evidenced by Solomon and his builders of God’s Temple, this must not be the case. Nearly 400 years before the arrival of Christ, Solomon sought to have true personal communion with God. Perhaps this is an essential result of having been involved in the labors of the Temple? More likely the cause, was the Wisdom of Solomon, granted to him by God. This Wisdom ultimately set Solomon apart from his other Old Testament counterparts, insomuch that he sought God on his own terms. Solomon wanted, through the Temple at Jerusalem, a tangible and even physical connection with a God who had, up until that point, been un-attainable in this Earthly realm.
How then, would this God be reached? How would man, in the physical body, be able to commune with God? The answer lies in Masonry, and is as ancient as is the Order. We are not to commune with God in a sense that requires attendance at a Temple. Although, in those times of Solomon, the Temple was required, namely as a resting place for the Ark of the Covenant, it was also erected as a tribute to the Arts of that period. In a sense, the grandeur of the Temple proved the ability of man, and more importantly, or the Divine attributes and nature which could reside within man. A Mason’s Lodge should be a dwelling place fit for the Deity. At its core, the Master Masons Lodge is his heart, where he was first prepared to be made a Mason. How fitting then, should it be that the heart is also the termed as a “faithful breast”, and one also fit as a resting place for the mysteries of the Fraternity. In word and definition, the “heart” of man, of Masonry, bears resemblance to the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle of Moses, and on up into the magnificent Temple of Solomon. Human builders have constructed every edifice on the face of this planet. God provides the designs upon His Trestle Board, but he does not build, the workman build. In the end, and as an answer to the question of every builder since time immemorial, does this mean that the builder is only a mortal and vanishing dot in eternity?
We, as Masons, do not believe this to be the case. Indeed, in every builder, there IS immortality, the soul, the Lodge, that place which is fit for the dwelling of Deity. We perfect our Ashlars so that they may adorn the Temple of all of Creation. However, this does not mean that the individual Mason is of the composition of the Ashlar; unfeeling, not-wanting, content to be left cold and alone, without the warmth of the Deity. Each Ashlar, is perfected and adorned, as is the Temple, along its pathway and workmanship. In “The Religion of Masonry”, Newton affords a powerful conclusion to this thought process which places each builder as his own immortal bit of perfection. We are left, as readers and as builders, knowing as a matter of not only fact, but of common sense, that God resides both within AND without us, yet- He never leaves us- He is a part of us, and us of Him.
In consequence of the individual builder, Newton finishes:
“Did they die and cease to be sinking into an indistinguishable blur of dust, unknown and unremembered, leaving only a tiny mark to tell that such faithful toilers ever lived at all – mere rubbish of the Temple swept away?
No! Masonry will not have it so! By the character of God to whose praise the Temple is built and consecrated, by the worth of every man who added his love and labor to its building, by the faith that God is just, Masonry affirms that the builder are immortal, too. They live as living stones in the Temple, but as they toil there is built in their own being a temple as deathless as the Temple they build. Nay, more; the Temple and its Ritual are not ends in themselves, but a Divine means to the end that every workman, however humble, may be a sanctuary of faith, a shrine of love, an altar of purity, pity, and truth. Evermore the Temple rises and its builders rise with it, sharing its beauty and its prophecy. ”
As we build, we complete our lives; and with them, the fiber of the whole universe.
|||The Holy Bible, King James, New York: American Bible Society, 1987.|
|||The Classic Latin Dictionary, New York: Hinds, Noble & Eldredge.|
|||Indiana Monitor and Freemason’s Guide, Indianapolis: Most Worshipful Grand Lodge Of Free And Accepted Masons Of The State Of Indiana, 1997.|
|||F. Josephus, “The Complete Works Of Flavius Josephus,” 1737. [Online]. Available: http://www.morelightinmasonry.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Antiquities-of-the-Jews-Complete-Works-Flavius-Josephus.pdf.|
|||A. Pike, Morals and Dogma, Washington, D.C.: Supreme Council of the Thirty-Third Degree, 1962, p. 321.|
|||Indiana Monitor and Freemason’s Guide, XVI ed., Indianapolis: Most Worshipful Grand Lodge Of Free And Accepted Masons Of The State Of Indiana, 1997, p. 158.|
|||J. F. Newton, The Religion of Masonry, Washington, D.C. : The Masonic Service Association Of The United States, 1927.|