General Ahiman Rezon, by Daniel Sickels, , at sacred-texts.com
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All the implements in Masonry, indiscriminately, properly belong to this degree, and may be illustrated in this section. The TROWEL, however, is more particularly referred to.
Is an instrument made use of by operative Masons to spread the cement which unites the building into one common mass; but we, as Free and Accepted Masons, are taught to make use of it for the more noble and glorious purpose of spreading the cement of brotherly love and affection; that cement which unites us into one sacred band, or society of friends and brothers, among whom no contention should ever exist, but that noble contention, or rather emulation, of who best can work and best agree.
The three precious jewels of a Master Mason—FRIENDSHIP, MORALITY, and BROTHERLY LOVE.
Trim section recites the historical traditions of the Order, and presents to view a picture of great moral sublimity. It recites the legend of which the symbolic interpretation testifies our faith in the resurrection of the body and the immortality of the soul; while it also exemplifies an instance of integrity and firmness seldom equaled and never excelled, and is in strong contrast with the development of those passions which debase and ruin all who indulge in them.
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THE ceremonial of the Degree of Master Mason is unquestionably the most important, impressive, and instructive portion of the Ritual of Ancient Freemasonry. It transcends all others in the profoundness of its philosophy, in the wide range of ideas it aims to elucidate, and the dramatic interest with which it is invested. Wrong interpretations, however, assuming what is evidently a philosophical and ethical Mythus, to be the description of a literal fact, have, in a certain degree, weakened the effects which it is capable, otherwise, of producing.
That portion of the Rite which is connected with the legend of the Tyrian Artist, is well worthy the deep and earnest study of thoughtful men. But it should be studied as a myth, and not as a fact; and, if thus accepted, it will be found exceedingly rich in instructive lessons, and lessons, too, which admit of an immense variety of applications; whereas, if it be regarded simply as a ceremony commemorative of historical occurrences, it has no philosophical importance nor significance whatever.
Against the notion that it is the representation of a scene that actually occurred in the Temple, it may well be urged that, outside of Masonic tradition, there is no proof that an event, such as is related in connection with the Temple-Builder, ever transpired; and, besides, the ceremony is older, by more than a thousand years, than the age of SOLOMON. There are characters impressed upon it which cannot be mistaken. It is thoroughly Egyptian, and is closely allied to the supreme rite of the Isianic mysteries.
OSIRIS, ISIS, and TYPHON are the three principal figures in the ancient Egyptian mythology. TYPHON—i.e., Evil—made war upon OSIRIS—i.e., Beauty, Goodness, and Truth. A fierce conflict long raged between these spiritual forces, of which all the combats, antagonisms, and disorders of the outward, visible world, were only far-distant. echoes, or feeble reverberations. TYPHON (Evil), for a period, appeared to triumph. With his wiles and arts, he overcame OSIRIS (Truth), dismembered his body, and concealed the fragments in the several quarters of the earth. Then the whole universe was shrouded in gloom, and resounded with lamentations and mourning over the fall of the Beautiful and Good! ISIS set forth, on her woful pilgrimage, to find the remains of the beloved OSIRIS. After many disappointments and trials, her efforts were crowned with success. The great day of triumph came. TYPHON (Evil) was
destroyed by HORUS; the tomb of OSIRIS opened, and HE—Order, Truth, Justice—came forth, victorious, in the possession of immortal life, and harmony, peace, and joy prevailed through the universe.
The Egyptian rite was a dramatic representation of these events, and its purpose is sufficiently obvious. It pictured, in an impressive and solemn manner, the mighty and unceasing conflict of Truth with Error, Light with Darkness, Beauty with Deformity, Virtue with Vice, and Life with Death; and the final certain triumph of the former, and the sure defeat and destruction of the latter.
This myth is the antetype of the Temple-legend. OSIRIS and the Tyrian Architect are one and the same—not a mortal individual, but an idea—an IMMORTAL PRINCIPLE! In Egyptian Freemasonry, OSIRIS was the type of Beauty, Goodness, Order, and Truth. So, in the Temple-myth, the Tyrian is the symbol of Beauty and Order, and of that Creative Art which is ever ready to seize the Ideal, and incarnate it in material forms—that divine art which robes the physical world in immortal splendors—embellishes and beautifies life—idealizes all Nature, transforming dull and prosy reality to a sunny, flowery dream;
TYPHON was slain, and the iniquitous triad of the Temple met a deserved doom. The Master's rite, from this point of view, has a wider scope and deeper significance, than if recognized as merely the record of an historical fact. In the one case, it simply tells us that a good man fell in the discharge of his duty, and that his foes were punished. In the other, it embraces all the possible conditions of Humanity, ranges through all worlds, reveals the Law of Eternal Justice, announces the omnipotence of Truth, and proclaims the immortality of man.
In this sense, the myth of the Tyrian is perpetually repeated in the history of human affairs. ORPHEUS was murdered, and his body thrown into the Hebrus; SOCRATES was made to drink the hemlock; and, in all ages, we have seen Evil temporarily triumphant, and Virtue and Truth calumniated, persecuted, crucified, and slain. But Eternal Justice marches surely and swiftly through the world: the TYPHONS, the children of darkness, the plotters of crime, all the infinitely varied forms of evil, are swept into oblivion; and Truth and Virtue—for a time laid low—come forth, clothed with diviner majesty, and crowned with everlasting glory!