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
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
The All Seeing Eye
The Pot of Incense
The Book of Constitutions
The Sword pointing to the Naked Heart
The Anchor and the Ark
The Forty-Seventh Problem of Euclid
Setting Maul, the Spade, the
Coffin, and the Sprig of Acacia