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Moses had acquired the learning of the Egyptians, and derived the doctrines of truth from the righteous ones of the nations of the east; he being also led by divine influence, and thence truly comprehending the light from out the darkness, taught the people of Israel the worship of the true God, without the enigmas and pollutions of the idolatrous nations which surrounded them.
This was the second area of the worship of the God of nature;—-and at this period the second stage of masonry arises.
k The Ruler of the Jews, perceiving how prone the minds of ignorant men were to be perverted by shew and ceremony; and that the eye being caught by pomp and solemn rites, debauched the judgment and led the heart astray; and being convinced that the magnificent festivals, processions, sacrifices, and ceremonials of the idolatrous nations, impressed the minds of mankind with a wild, degree of reverence and enthusiastic devotion, thought it expedient for the service of the God of Israel, to institute holy offices, though in an humbler and less ostentatious modei well judging that the service and adoration of the Deity, which was only cloathed in simplicity of manners and humble prayer, must be established in the conviction of the heart of man; with which ignorance was ever waging war.
In succeeding ages, Solomon built a temple for the service of God, and ordained its rites and ceremonies to be performed with a splendour equal to the moc* ixtnvsgsuu pomp of the idolaters.
As this temple* received the second face of the servants of the true God, and as the true craftsmen were here proved in their work, we will crave your attention to the circumstances which are to be gathered from holy writ, and from historians, touching this structure, as an illustration of those secrets in masonry, which may appear to such of our brethren as are not learned in antiquity, dark or insignificant, unless they are proved from thence.
In the first book of Kings, we are told that "Hiram, King of Tyre, sent his servants unto Solomon: "and Solomon sent to Hiram, saying, Behold I intend "to build an house unto the name of the Lord my "God.—And Solomon raised a levy out of all Israel, "and the levy was thirty thousand men.—And he "sent them to Lebanon, ten thousand a month, by "courses;—a month they were in Lebanon, and two "months at home; and Adoniram was over the levy. "—And Solomon had threescore and ten thousand that "bare burthens, and fourscore thousand hewers in "the mountains,—besides the chief of Solomon's officers M which were over the work, three thousand and three "hundred, which ruled over the people which wrought "in the work.—And the king commanded, and they "brought great stones, costly stones, and hewed stones, "to lay the foundation of the house.— And Solomon's
'Ezekiel xliv. 2. "The east gate shall be shut, it shall not be "opened, and no man shall enter in by it, because the Lord, the God "of Israel, hath entered in by it, therefore it shall be shut."
Ver, J. "It is for the prince: the prince shall sit m it to eat bread "before the Lord."
Ver. 4. "Then brought he me by the way of the north gate be * fore the house."
"builders and Hiram's builders did hew them, and "the stone-squarers or gibilites.—In the fourth year "was the foundation of the house laid, and in the "eleventh year was the house finished throughout all "the parts thereof, and according to all the fashion "of it.—And King Solomon sent and fetched Hiram "out of Tyre. He was a widow's son of the tribe of "Napthali, and his father was a man of Tyre, a worker "in brass.—He cast two pillars of brass, with two "chapiters which were of lily-work, and he setup the "pillars in the porch of the temple.—• And he set up "the right pillar, and he called the name thereof "Jachin; and he set up the left pillar, and called it "Boaz."—In the second book of Chronicles, we read that " he set three hundred and ten thousand of them "to be bearers of burthens, and fourscore thousand to "be hewers in the mountains, and three thousand and six hundred overseers to set the people a work.— "And Solomon sent to Hiram, King of Tyre, to send "him a man cunning to work in gold and in silver, in "brass, in iron, in purple, in crimson, and in blue, "and skilful in engravings—And Hiram sent unto "him a cunning man, endowed with the understand"ing of Hiram his father —And he made the veil of "the temple of blue, purple, crimson, and fine linen. "And he made before the house two pillars,and.called "the name of that on the right hand Jachin, and that "on the left Boaz."*
* The raising pillars and olelisis was a custom of the eastern nations, and of Egypt in particular; the use of which we are told was to record the extent of dominion, and the tributes of nations subject to the Egyptian empire, &c, or in commemoration of memorable events,—Diodorw tell* us, that Seseitru signalized his reign by the erection of two
When this splendid structure was finished, u So*' iomon stood before the altar of the Lord, in the pre"sence of all the congregation of Israel, and spread "forth his hands and said, O Lord God of Israel, there "* is no God like thee in the heaven and in the earth: "—OLord my GWhearken unto the cry and the prayer "which thy servant prayeth before thee :—O Lord God ** turn not away the face of thine anointed."
In the conduct of this great work, we must admire the sagacity of this pious architect;—he discerned the necessity there was to assign to portions of his people, the particular labour they were to pursue; he gave them particular signs and secret tokens,* by which
obelisks, which were cut with a design to acquaint posterity of the extent of his power, and the number of nations he had conquered. Augustus, according to the report of Pliny, transported one of these obelisks to Rome, and placed it in the Campus Martius. Pliny says, the Egyptians were the first devisers of such monuments, and that Mcstres, king of Heliopolis erected the first. Marsham and others, attribute the invention to Sesostris. The obelisk of Shanmsscs exceeded all that had preccdedit: Constantine and Constant his son, caused it to be removed to Rome, where it remains the noblest piece of Egyptian antiquity existing in the world. Solomon had pursued this custom in erecting his pillars in the porch of the temple, which he designed should be a memorial to the Jews as they entered the holy place, to warm their minds with confidence and faith; by this record of the promises made by the Lord unto his father David, and which were repeated unto him in a vision, in which the voice of God proclaimed, I Kings ix. 5. "I will "establish the throne of thy kingdom upon Israel for ever'.
* These were meant for the better conduct of the work, and were totally abstracted from those other principles which were the foundation of our profession;—they were manual proofs of the part each was stationed to perform :—the light which had possessed the soul and which was the first principle, was in no wise to be distinguished by such signs and tokens, or revealed, expressed, or eommunieatid thereby.
each rank should be distinguished, in order that the whole might proceed with propriety, and without confusion;—he selected those of most enlightened minds and comprehensive understandings, religious men, piously zealous in good works, as masters to superintend the workmen; men skilful in geometry and proportions, who had been initiated and proved in the mystical learning of the ancient sages; those he made overseers of the work:—the whole was conducted with that degree of holy reverence, that even the noise of a tool or instrument was not permitted to disturb the sacred silence on Moriah, sanctified by the presence of the Almighty, and by his miraculous works. —Was it not reasonable then to conceive under this exalted degree of pious attention, that no part of the structure was to be formed, but by men of pure hands and holy minds, who had professed themselves devoted to the service of the true God, and had enrolled themselves under the banner of true religion and virtue...- As the sons of Aaron alone were admitted to the holy offices, and to the sacrificial rites, so none but devotees were admitted to this la . bour.—On this stage we see those religious who had received the truth, and the light of understanding as possessed by the first men, embodied as artificers, and engaged in this holy work as architects.—This together with the construction of the tabernacle under Moses, are the first instances of our predecessors being exhibited to the world as builders: for although it is not to be doubted, the sages amongst the Hebrews, Egyptians, Persians, Chaldeans, Greeks, Romans, Eramins, Druids, and Bards, understood geometry and the rules of proportion and numbers, yet we have no evidence of their being the actual executors of any