I have said, and you know, that the Master Degree is one of death and resurrection of a certain kind, and among its remarkable characteristics there is a return to building symbolism, but this time in the form of a legend. It is no longer an erection of the Candidate's own house--house of the body, house of the mind, and house of the moral law. We are taken to the Temple of Solomon and are told how the Master-Builder suffered martyrdom rather than betray the mysteries which had been placed in his keeping. Manifestly the lesson which is drawn in the Degree is a veil of something much deeper, and about which there is no real intimation. It is assuredly an instruction for the Candidates that they must keep the secrets of the Masonic Order secretly, but such a covenant has reference only to the official and external side. The bare recitation of the legend would have been sufficient to enforce this; but observe that the Candidate assumes the part of the Master-Builder and suffers within or in him--as a testimony of personal faith and honour in respect to his engagements. But thereafter he rises, and it is this which gives a peculiar characteristic to the descriptive title of the Degree. It is one of raising and of reunion with companions--almost as if he had been released from earthly life and had entered into the true Land of the Living. The keynote is therefore not one of dying but one of resurrection; and yet it is not said in the legend that the Master rose. The point seems to me one of considerable importance, and yet I know not of a single place in our literature wherein it has received consideration. I will leave it, however, for the moment, but with the intention of returning to it.

 

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Some Deeper Aspects of Masonic Symbolism AE Waite

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