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The stone, on account of its hardness has been from the most ancient times a symbol of strength, fortitude, and a firm foundation. The Hebrew word Eben, which signifies a stone, is derived, by Gesenius, from an obsolete root, Ab(ln, to build, whence aban, an architect; and he refers it to A manah, which means a column, a covenant, and truth. The stone, therefore, says Portal (Egyptian Symbols), may be considered as the symbol of faith and truth: hence Christ taught the very principle of symbology, when he called Peter, who represented faith, the rock or stone on which he would build his Church.

But in Hebrew as well as in Egyptian symbology the stone was also sometimes the symbol of falsehood. Thus the name of Typhon, the principle of evil in the Egyptian theogony, was always written in the hieroglyphic characters with the determinative sign for a stone. But the stone of Typhon was a hewn stone, which had the same evil Signification in Hebrew. Henec Jehovah says in Exodus, ' Thou shalt not build me an altar of hewn stone", and Joshua built, in Mount Ebal, "an altar of whole stones, over which no man hath lift up any iron."

The hewn stone was therefore a symbol of evil and falsehood; the unhewn stone of good and truth. This must satisfy us that the Masonic symbolism of the stone, which is the converse of this, has not been derived from either the Hebrew or the Egyptian symbology, but sprang from the architectural ideas of the Operative Masons; for in Freemasonry the rough ashlar, or unhewn stone, is the symbol of man's evil and corrupt condition; while the perfect ashlar, or the hewn stone, is the symbol of his improved and perfected nature.

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