General Ahiman Rezon, by Daniel Sickels, , at sacred-texts.com
In this section are also explained a variety of appropriate emblems, with which the skillful brother will not fail to make himself familiarly acquainted, and they are thus explained:
[paragraph continues] Usually delineated upon the Master's carpet, are emblematical of the three principal stages of human life, viz:—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; that so, 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.
The morning is the youth of the day; youth is vigorous till noon; then comes the age of man; to which succeeds the evening of old age; sunset follows the evening or death of the day. Frugality is a great revenue, but no where greater than in this case.
[paragraph continues] Is an emblem of 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.
[paragraph continues] 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 carne 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.
When we take a survey of Nature, we view man in his infancy, more helpless and indigent than the brute creation: he lies languishing for days, months, and years, totally incapable of providing sustenance for himself, of guarding against the attack of the wild beasts of the field, or sheltering himself from the inclemencies of the weather.
[paragraph continues] It might have pleased the great Creator of heaven and earth to have made man independent of all other beings; but as dependence is one of the strongest bonds of society, mankind were made dependent on each other for protection and security, as they thereby enjoy better opportunities of fulfilling the duties of reciprocal love and friendship. Thus was man formed for social and active life—the noblest part of the work of GOD; and he that will so demean himself as not to be endeavoring to add to the common stock of knowledge and understanding, may be deemed a drone in the hive of Nature, a useless member of society, and unworthy of our protection as Masons.
[paragraph continues] 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.
[paragraph continues] Demonstrates that justice will sooner or later overtake us; and although our thoughts, words,
and actions may be hidden from the eyes of man, yet that
whom the SUN, MOON, and STARS obey, and under whose watchful care even COMETS perform their stupendous revolutions, pervades the inmost recesses of the human HEART, and will reward us according to our merits.
[paragraph continues] Are emblems of a well-grounded hope and a well-spent life. They are emblematical of that 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 shall find rest.
This was an invention of our ancient friend and brother, the great PYTHAGORAS, who, in his travels through Asia, Africa, and Europe, was initiated into the several orders of priesthood. and raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason. This wise philosopher enriched his mind abundantly in a general knowledge of things
and more especially in Geometry, or Masonry. On this subject he drew out many problems and theorems; and, among the most distinguished, he erected this, which, in the joy of his heart, he called EUREKA, in the Grecian language signifying I have found it; and upon the discovery of which he is said to have sacrificed a hecatomb. It teaches Masons to be general lovers of the arts and sciences.
[paragraph continues] 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. To-day, he puts forth the tender leaves of Hope; to-morrow, 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.
[paragraph continues] 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 evils incident to childhood and youth, and with health and vigor arrive to 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.
* * * * * * *
Thus we close the explanation of the emblems upon the solemn thought of death, which, without revelation, is dark and gloomy; but we are
suddenly revived by the ever-green and ever-living sprig of Faith in the merits of the Lion of the tribe of Judah; which strengthens us, with confidence and composure, to look forward to a blessed immortality; and doubt not, but in the glorious morn of the resurrection, our bodies will rise, and become as incorruptible as our souls.
Then let us imitate the good man 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 all-perfect, glorious, and celestial Lodge above, where the Supreme Architect of the Universe presides.