Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

evil. They distinguished between Jesus and Christ: Jesus, they said was born of the Virgin, but Christ came down from heaven to be united with him; Jesus was crucified, but Christ had left him to return to heaven. They had a live Serpent which they kept in a kind of cage; at certain times they opened the cage-door, and called the serpent: the animal came out and mounting upon the table twined itself about some loaves of bread; this bread they broke, and distributed it to the company, who all kissed the serpent in turn. This they called their Eucharist!'"

Thus have I exhibited for your consideration, a very comprehensive account of the origin and uses of this emblem in every nation of the ancient world. Amongst masons, as I have already observed, it serves to remind us of our fall in Adam and our restoration in Christ; who has not only bruised the Serpent's head, but has restricted his power, and frustrated his malevolent intentions, by revealing to mankind the conditions of salvation, purchased by his own sufferings and death.

* Kncyc. Perth. in voc. Ophites.

LECTURE IV.

ON THE CHERUBIM.

Every branch of science is progressive. In the First Degree of Masonry, we are taught the several duties of our station, whether to God, our neighbour, or ourselves;—the practice of the Theological and Cardinal Virtues, and every moral and social work. In the Second Degree we are admitted to a participation in the mysteries of human science; and catch a glimpse of celestial glory. But in the Third Degree, the veil is removed; we are admitted to the Holy of Holies; we view the Cherubim in all their brightness; and are blessed with a foretaste of heaven, through the resurrection of the dead. And if we pass on to the Royal Arch, we receive a wonderful accession of knowledge, and find every thing made perfect; for this is the ne plus ultra of Masonry, and can never be exceeded by any human Institution.

In the peculiar Lectures of Masonry, much importance is attached to that great symbol of the glory of God, the Cherubim. It is a subject which adds much to the dignity and authority of our Science; inasmuch as its illustration has formed an important part of Speculative Masonry, from the moment that it flamed in awful grandeur on the eastern portal of the garden of Eden to the present time.

It is a curious phenomenon in the worship of heathen nations, that their ideas of the deity, as comprehended under a visible form, were invariably derived from the Symbols of the Patriarchal or the Jewish religion, and principally from the system used by the former, which was the grand trunk or root, from which the religious institutions of every nation and people, shot forth their luxuriant branches. The great symbol of the Deity, used both by the Patriarchs and their legitimate successors the Jews, was the Cherubim of Glory, expressive of the wisdom and power of Jehovah; and this invested these pure systems of worship with a distinctive character of holiness and truth, which the gentiles in vain strove to emulate, by an adoption of the constituent parts of the symbol, as real and acknowledged objects of genuine and rational devotion. In the present Lecture, I shall endeavour to illustrate this Cherubic Symbol, which in all ages has constituted one of the secrets of legitimate Masonry; and if we find that it has been actually adopted into the mysterious institutions of every system of false religion known amongst men; this fact will be amply sufficient to warrant a conclusion, that they all emanated from the same source.

This sublime symbol was vouchsafed to man at the fall; and was placed over the East Gate of the garden of Eden upon an Ark, overshadowed by the divine glory or Shekinah. Here it remained, a permanent token of the divine presence, until the accumulated sins of men provoked the Almighty to withdraw his glory, and substitute a deluge of waters, which swept the apostate race from off the earth. It was renewed at the deliverance of God's chosen people from the tyranny of Egypt, and was again lost at the destruction of the temple by Nebuchadnezzar; but was revealed to Ezekiel, when the rebuilding of that celebrated edifice demanded a divine communication to impart the true form of the glorious Symbol, by which God had graciously manifested himself to his favourite people in ancient times, and which might probably have been lost, or inaccurately preserved during the calamities and privations attending a long and oppressive captivity in a foreign land.

This glorious appearance was exhibited to the prophet's enraptured view in a splendid and incomparable vision; and is described by him* as consisting of an animal with the body of an Ox, invested with four distinct heads of a Lion, an Ox, an Eagle, and a Man. The three first bore a striking reference to the Trinity; and the fourth

■«^»— ■ > ■ ■ i '—.' .i., ■ ... . ,—.. - ., ,., ,„,., — -...,.,.

• Chap. i.

head was that of a Man, to denote that He, who, in his infinite mercy condescended to work out our salvation, should be clothed with humanity to accomplish the undertaking, and execute the great design as a created being. The whole compound figure was an apt symbol of all the Redeemed, thus placed under the visible protection of the Deity, manifested in the Shekinah, which extended its gracious influence over the Mercy Seat, on which the Cherubim were placed.

It was shadowed forth in the camp of the Israelites. The standard of Judah was emblazoned with the figure of a Lion, and hence the king of Judah was emblematically denominated a Lion ;* that of Ephraim, with an Ox; that of Reuben, with a Man; and that of Dan, with an Eagle."f The Cabalists to identify these Banners with the Deity, used to inscribe each of them with a letter of the Tetragrammaton, or sacred name of God; and the banners of the whole twelve tribes, were made symbols of the circle of the Zodiac, and represented the twelve months of the year; the solstitial and equinoctial points being symbolized by the four great Banners of Judah, Ephraim, Reuben, and Dan.J

* Ezekiel xix. 3. t "Diodorus Siculus adduces a corresponding custom in Egypt; and among the Greeks, we observe that the Shield of Agamemnon bore a Lion's Head, that of Alcibiades, a Serpent, that of Cadmus, a Dragon? and that of Ulysses, a Dolphin." Wait's Antiq. vol. i. p. 149. Mora anciently the distinguishing symbols were placed upon the helmet. Thus the Crest of Osiris was a Hawk, of Horus, a Lion, &c, t Brown's Vulg. Err. b. v. c. 10.

« AnteriorContinuar »