Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

priests and prophets of idolatry were frequently styled doves.

The Rainbow was an emblem common to every species of religious mystery; and was probably derived from an old arkite tradition, that the divinity was clothed in a Rainbow. For thus is he represented by Ezekiel the prophet. "As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord."* St. John saw in a vision, the throne of God encompassed by a rainbow.f A Rainbow was, in fact, the usual emblem of a divine Saviour throughout the world. Some christians, " from the irradiation of the sun upon a cloud, apprehend the mystery of the Sun of Righteousness in the obscurity of flesh;—by the colours green and red, the two destructions of the world by water and fire; or by the colour of blood and water, the mysteries of baptism, and the holy eucharist."J

In India, the Rainbow was an emblem of peace, and in the Third Avater of Vishnu, it is represented as issuing from the troubled waters of the deluge. It was esteemed the principal instrument used to compose the agitation of the elements, which produced and attended that awful event. In the British mysteries it was an emblem of protection; figuratively said to surround the aspirant, when delivered from his confinement in the Pastos or Ark; and hence he was called the offspring of the Rainbow. The Bards frequently introduced this symbol, which is compared to " a stream of light, which scares away violence from the earth, and causes the bane of its former state round the circle of the world to subside."*

* Exekiel i. 28, t Kev. iv. 3. % Brown's Vul. Err. b. vii. c. 4,

I shall conclude with a few practical comments on the awful event which has formed the subject of this Lecture. And do not imagine that I am deviating from the pure principles of our order, when I endeavour to apply the truths inculcated by Free Masonry to a higher object than present felicity, for the connection between Masonry and Religion is absolute, and cannot be destroyed. Masonry contributes to produce the social happiness of mankind in this world by the practice of moral virtue. Religion gives us happiness in a future state, emanating partly from the same cause, but rendered perfect by the atonement of Christ. Hence Masonry must be considered as the handmaid of Religion, because the practice of moral virtue, tho' it cannot absolutely save, is an essential condition of salvation. With this illustration in view, I shall endeavour to incite you to christian morality, that the peace you derive from your masonic pursuits, may be completed by the practice of religion, and produce its final and lasting reward at the jesurrection of the dead.

• Chair of Ceridwen.

You have seen how the whole world was destroyed, and the race of men almost exterminated for a rejection of the very morality which Masonry recommends. Divine Revelation informs you that it shall undergo a second destruction for the same cause; when a different agent shall be employed to consume and burn up this earth with all that it contains. Do not then like the profane antediluvians, scoff at the terms of salvation, and say, the threatened punishment will never be inflicted. Do not, like them say, we will eat, drink, and be merry, and all will yet be well; for you may be assured that nothing but practical righteousness founded on faith in the atoning Mediator, can bear you up in that day when the ripened iniquities of men shall bring on the long suspended deluge of fire, which shall drown the wicked in everlasting destruction. The Ark in which you and all mankind must be saved from this fiery purgation is inscribed with three important words, Repentance, Faith, and Obedience, which like a brilliant Rainbow surround and overshadow the vehicle of your preservation; and with an efficacy more significant than the Dove and Olive Branch, proclaim your everlasting peace.

LECTURE VI.

ON THE MYSTERIOUS DARKNESS OF THB THIRD DEGREE,

By the dispensations of an all-wise providence it is ordained, that a state of Darkness resembling death, shall precede the attainment of all the different degrees of perfection. Thus the dense vacuum of chaos introduced the formation of the world as it came from the hand of its Maker pure and perfect. Thus the whole creation annually sinks into itself; the trees are stripped of their leafy covering, the waters are locked up in the frosts of winter, and nature seems consigned to the embraces of darkness and death. But this dreary pause is only a fit preparation for the revival of the new year, when the earth again displays her charms, and cheers us with all the animation and glory of a revived existence. Thus also man, the nobler work of the deity, is subject every day to an oblivion of sense and reflection, which, however, serves but to invigorate his faculties, and restore to reason all its energy and force. And thus, even death itself, though terrible in prospect, is but the prelude to our restoration in a more improved state, when eternity shall burst upon us in full effulgence, and all the glories of absolute perfection encircle us for ever.

In like manner the emblematical darkness of Masonry is but the precursor of superior illumination; and hence our science is aptly denominated Lux or Light, because it removes the mists of error and prejudice from the understanding, and leaves the soul open to impressions which awaken all the energies of Faith, and Hope, and Charity. This Light is partly communicated by the assistance of hieroglyphical emblems; for Masonry, correctly defined, is " a beautiful system of morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols." Thus if we wish to recommend justice and morality, we point to the Square, which is the emblem of these virtues; if equality be our theme, the level is displayed; if integrity, the Plumb. Do we wish to illustrate our respective duties to God and man, the Three Great Lights are on the Pedestal, and are easily brought before the active mason's view; and the Three Lesser Lights point out the excellent scheme of government adopted by our ancient brethren, and still practised in our Lodges. Do we enlarge upon a life well spent in acts of piety and devotion, the Perfect Ashler is the elucidating emblem; if we refer to the comfort and perfection of God's revealed word, it is done thro' the medium

« AnteriorContinuar »