the scene of the euresis and masons
These great truths constitute the very essence of Christianity, in which it differs from and excels all religious systems that preceded it; they constitute, also, the end, aim, and object of all Freemasonry, but more especially that of the Third Degree, whose peculiar legend, symbolically considered, teaches nothing more nor less than that there is an immortal and better part within us, which, as an emanation from that divine spirit which pervades all nature, can never die.
The identification of the spot on which this divine truth was promulgated in both systems—the Christian and the Masonic—affords an admirable illustration of the readiness with which the religious spirit of the former may be infused into the symbolism of the latter. And hence Hutchinson, thoroughly imbued with these Christian views of Masonry, has called the Master Mason's order a Christian degree, and thus Christianizes the whole symbolism of its mythical history.
"The Great Father of all, commiserating the miseries of the world, sent his only Son, who was innocence itself, to teach the doctrine of salvation—by whom man was raised from the death of sin unto the life of righteousness—from the tomb of corruption unto the chamber of hope—from the darkness of despair to the celestial beams of faith; and not only working for us this redemption, but making with us the covenant of regeneration; whence we are become the children of the Divinity, and inheritors of the realms of heaven.
"We, Masons, describing the deplorable estate of religion under the Jewish law, speak in figures: 'Her tomb was in the rubbish and filth cast forth of the temple, and acacia wove its branches over her monuments;' akakia being the Greek word for innocence, or being free from sin; implying that the sins and corruptions of the old law, and devotees of the Jewish altar, had hid Religion from those who sought her, and she was only to be found where innocence survived, and under the banner of the Divine Lamb, and, as to ourselves, professing that we were to be distinguished by our Acacy, or as true Acacians in our religious faiths and tenets.
"The acquisition of the doctrine of redemption is expressed in the typical character of Huramen (I have found it.—Greek), and by the applications of that name with Masons, it is implied that we have discovered the knowledge of God and his salvation, and have been redeemed from the death of sin and the sepulchre of pollution and unrighteousness.
"Thus the Master Mason represents a man, under the Christian doctrine, saved from the grave of iniquity and raised to the faith of salvation."
It is in this way that Masonry has, by a sort of inevitable process (when we look to the religious sentiment of the interpreters), been Christianized by some of the most illustrious and learned writers on masonic science—by such able men as Hutchinson and Oliver in England, and by Harris, by Scott, by Salem Towne, and by several others in this country.
I do not object to the system when the interpretation is not strained, but is plausible, consistent, and productive of the same results as in the instance of Mount Calvary: all that I contend for is, that such interpretations are modern, and that they do not belong to, although they may often be deduced from, the ancient system.
But the true ancient interpretation of the legend,—the universal masonic one,—for all countries and all ages, undoubtedly was, that the fate of the temple builder is but figurative of the pilgrimage of man on earth, through trials and temptations, through sin and sorrow, until his eventual fall beneath the blow of death and his final and glorious resurrection to another and an eternal life.