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LECTURE IX.

THE MASTER MASON'S ORDER.

As we at first proposed to investigate the three progressive orders of Masons, Apprentices, Craftsmen, and Masters, by a definition and description of the several circumstances which attended the worshippers of the true God,—so have we in the former lectures shewn, that by the Apprentices' order, is implied the first knowledge of the God of nature, in the earliest ages of man.—Under the Craftsmen, we have shewn the Mosaic legation, and the building of the Jewish temple at Jerusalem; together with the light which men received, for the discovery of divine Wisdom, by geometrical solutions.— We now proceed to the third stage, the most sacred and solemn order of Masons, the Master Mason's Order.

Under the Jewish law, the service of God be came clouded and obscured by ceremonies and rites, which had daily crept in upon it, through imitation of the neighbouring heathen.—When the morals of the Jewish nation were corrupted, civil jurisdiction reeled upon its throne—innovations sapped the religious rule, and anarchy succeeded.—No sooner was this compact loosened, than the strength of the Jews was dissolved, and the heathen triumphed in Jerusalem.

The gracious Divinity, perceiving the ruin which was overwhelming mankind, in his benevolence, was moved to redeem us.—He saw that the revelation which he had deigned to make of his divinity, might, majesty, and wisdom, to the nations of the earth, and more especially to the Jewish tribes, was not sufficient to preserve them in their duty: he weighed the frailty of mankind in the balance which his justice suspended, and to their" imperfections he held out his mercy--"- The Egyptians had abused their learning and wisdom j —the Jews had polluted God's ordinances and laws;

and Sin had made her dominion in the Stforlg places of the earth.

?IETY, which had planned the temple at Jerrisafern, was expunged;—the reverence and adoration due to the Divinity, was buried in the filth and rubbish of the world persecution had dispersed the few who retained their obedience, and the name of the true God was almost totally lost and forgotten among men Religion' Sat mourning in Israel in sackcloth and; ashes, and Morality was scattered as it were by the four winds of the air.

In this situation, it might well be said, rtThat "the guide to heaven was lost, and the master of the "works of righteousness was smitten."—The nations had given themselves up to the grossest idolatry; Solomon had fallen, and the service of the true God was effaced from the memory of those who had yielded themselves to the dominion of sin.

In order that mankind might be preserved from this deplorable estate of darkness and destruction, and it's the old law was dead and become rottenness, a new doctrine, and new precepts were wanting to give the key to salvation; in the language of which we might touch the ear of an offended Deity, and bring forth hope for eternity. True religion was fled :—" Those who sought "her through the wisdom of the ancients were not "able to raise her, she eluded the grasp, and their "polluted hands were stretched forth in vain for her ** restoration."—Those who sought her by the old law were frustrated, for "Death had stepped between, "and Corruption defiled the embrace;" Sin had beset her steps, and the vices of the world had overwhelmed her.

The great Father of all, commiserating the miseries of the world, sent his only Son, who was innocence itself, to teach the doctrine of salvation;—by whom man was raised from the death of sin, unto the life of righteousness;—from the tomb of corruption unto the chambers of hope;—from the darkness of despair to the celestial beams of faith;—and not only working for us this redemption, but making with us the covenant of regeneration; whence we are become the children of the Divinity, and inheritors of the realms of heaven.

We Masons, describing the deplorable estate of religion under the Jewish law, speak in figures: "Her tomb was in the rubbish, and filth cast forth of "the temple, and Acacia wove its branches over her "monument;" being the Greek word for in

nocence, or being free from sin; implying that the sins and corruptions of the old law, and devotees of

Jewish altar, had hid religion from those who sought her, and she was only to be found where innocence survived, and under the banner of the divine Lamb;—and as to ourselves professing that we were to be distinguished by our Acacy, or as true Acacians in our religious faith and tenets.*

The acquisition of the doctrine of redemption, is expressed in the typical character of Huramens {Uv^xfin, inveni) and by the applications of that naitie with Masons, it is implied, that we have discovered the knowledge of God and his salvation, and have been redeemed from the death of sin, and the sepulchre of pollution and unrighteousness.f

Thus the Master Mason represents a man under the Christian doctrine, saved from the grave of iniquity, and raised to the faith of salvation.

• Acacia—AKAKIA, in antiquity a roll or bag, represented on the medals of the Greek and Roman Emperors: some think it is only an handkerchief, which they used as a signal; others take it for a volume or roll of memorandums or petitions; and others will have it to be a purple bag filled with earth, to remind the prince of his mortality. Acacians (Acaciani) in church history, the name of a sect of religious and professed Christians, some of whom maintained, that the Son was only of a like, not the tame, substance with the Father; and others, that he was not only of a distinct, but also of a dissimilar substance.—, Acacy, (in Johnson's Dictionary) ax.xx.tx Gr. innocence, or being free from sin.

f The Mason advancing to this state of masonry, pronounces his own sentence, as confessional of the imperfection of the second stage of his profession, and as probationary of the exalted degree to which he aspires, in this Greek distich, Tvft&n%Ma, Struo tumulum: "I pre"pare my sepulchre; I make my grave in the pollutions of the earth; J I am under the shadow of death,"—This distich has been vulgarly

As the great testimonial that we are risen from the state of corruption, we bear the emblem of the Holy Trinity, as the insignia of our vows, and of the origin of the Master's order.

On receiving this ensign, the Mason professeth himself in a short distich, in the Greek language, which, from the rules of our order, we are forbidden to commit to writing; the literal meaning of which is, "Vrhementer cupio vitam" ardently I wish for life; meaning the everlasting life of redemption and regeneration: an avowal which carries with it the most religious import, and must proceed from a pure faith. The ceremonies attending this stage of our profession are solemn and tremendous; during which a sacred awe is diffused over the mind, the soul is struck with reverence, and all the spiritual faculties are called forth to worship and adoration.

This our order is a positive contradiction to the Judaic blindness and infidelity, and testifies our faith concerning the resurrection of the body.

The divine construction put upon this emblem of the Master's Order, which he declares, is the principle by which he is raised from darkness; so it is also the emblem of moral duties professed by the Mason, and which in former ages were most religiously performed. These also are principles immediately result* ing from the Christian doctrine.

corrupted among us, and an expression takes place scarcely similar in sound, and entirely inconsistent with masonry, and unmeaning in fjselt

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