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The Emblems of Freemasonry

There are nine classes of Masonic emblems, the first eight of which are: the Pot of Incense, the Beehive, the Book of Constitutions guarded by the Tylerís Sword, the Sword pointing to the Naked Heart, the All-Seeing Eye, the Anchor and the Ark, the Forty-Seventh Problem of Euclid, the Hour-Glass and the Scythe.

The Pot of Incense is an emblem of a pure heart, which is always an acceptable sacrifice to Deity, and as this glows with fervent heat, so should our hearts continually glow with gratitude to the great and beneficent Author of our existence for the manifold blessings and comforts we enjoy.

The Beehive is an emblem of industry, and recommends the practice of that virtue to all created beings, from the highest seraph in heaven to the lowest reptile in the dust. It teaches us that as we came into the world rational and intelligent beings, so we should ever be industrious ones; never sitting down contented while our fellow creatures around us are in want, especially when it is within our power to relieve them without inconvenience to ourselves.

The Book of Constitutions guarded by the Tylerís Sword reminds us that we should be ever watchful and guarded in our thoughts, words and actions, particularly when before the enemies of Masonry, ever bearing in remembrance those truly Masonic virtues, silence and circumspection.

The Sword pointing to the Naked Heart demonstrates that justice will sooner or later overtake us; and although out thoughts, words and actions may be hidden from the eyes of men, yet that All-Seeing Eye, whom the Sun, Moon and Stars obey, and under whose watchful care even the Comets perform their stupendous revolutions, pervades the inmost recesses of the human Heart, and will reward us according to our merits.

The Anchor and the Ark are emblems of a well-grounded hope and a well-spent life. They are emblematic of the Divine Ark which safely wafts us over this tempestuous sea of troubles, and that Anchor which shall safely moor us in a peaceful harbor, where the wicked cease from troubling and the weary are at rest.

The Forty-Seventh Problem of Euclid teaches Masons to be general lovers of the arts and sciences.

The Hour-Glass in an emblem of human life. Behold how swiftly the sands run, and how rapidly our lives are drawing to a close. We cannot, without astonishment, behold the little particles which are contained in this machine - how they pass away almost imperceptibly; and yet, to our surprise, in the short space of an hour they are all exhausted. Thus wastes man. Today he puts forth the tender leaves of hope; tomorrow blossoms, and bears his blushing honors thick upon him; the next day comes a frost which nips the shoot; and when he thinks his greatness is still aspiring, he falls, like autumn leaves, to enrich our mother earth.

The Scythe is an emblem of time, which cuts the brittle thread of life and launches us into eternity. Behold what havoc the Scythe of Time makes among the human race. If by chance we should escape the numerous ills incident to childhood and youth, and with health and vigor arrive at the years of manhood, yet withal we must soon be cut down by the all-devouring Scythe of Time, and be gathered into the land where our fathers have gone before us.

The ninth is not monitorial; it is the Setting Maul, the Spade, the Coffin, and the Sprig of Acacia. The Setting Maul is that by which our Grand Master Hiram Abif was slain; the Spade, that which dug his grave; the Coffin, that which received his lifeless remains; and the Sprig of Acacia, that which bloomed at the head of his grave.

The first three are striking emblems of mortality and afford serious reflection to all thinking men, but they would be more dark and gloomy were it not for the Sprig of Acacia that bloomed at the head of the grave. which serves to remind us that there is an imperishable part within us which bears the nearest affinity to the Supreme Intelligence which pervades all nature and which will never, never, never die. Thus we close the explanation of the emblems upon the solemn thought of death, which without revelation would be dark and gloomy, but we are suddenly revived by that ever green and ever living sprig of faith, which strengthens us with confidence and composure, to look forward to a blessed immortality, and we doubt not that on the glorious morn of resurrection our bodies will rise and become as incorruptible as our souls.

Then let us imitate the example of our Grand Master Hiram Abif, in his virtuous and amiable conduct, in his unfeigned piety to God, in his inflexible fidelity to his trust, that we may welcome the grim tyrant, Death, and receive him as a kind messenger sent from our Supreme Grand Master to translate us from the imperfect to that perfect, glorious and celestial Lodge above, where the Supreme Architect of the Universe presides.


The All Seeing Eye


The Pot of Incense


The Beehive


The Book of Constitutions


The Sword pointing to the Naked Heart


The Anchor and the Ark


The Forty-Seventh Problem of Euclid


The Hour-Glass


The Scythe


Setting Maul, the Spade, the Coffin, and the Sprig of Acacia

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