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In the beautiful and affecting description of the body of man suffering under the infirmities of old age given in the twelfth chapter of Ecclesiastes, we find the expression "or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern: then shall the dust return to the earth as it was, and the spirit shall return to God who gave it." Doctor Clarke thus explains these beautiful metaphors. The silver Cord is the spinal marrow; its loosening is the cessation of all nervous sensibility; the golden bowl is the brain, which is rendered unfit to perform its functions by the approach of death; the pitcher means the great vein which carries the blood to the right ventricle of the heart, here called the fountain; by the wheel is meant the great artery which receives the blood from the left ventricle of the heart, here designated as the cistern. This collection of metaphors is a part of the Scripture reading in the Third Degree, and forms an appropriate introduction to those sublime ceremonies whose object is to teach symbolically the resurrection and life eternal.
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