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Symbolism of the Third Degree


If the first degree is intended as a representation
of youth, and the second of manhood, the
third, or Master Mason, is emblematic of old
age, with its trials, its sufferings, and its final
termination of death. The time for toiling is now
over the opportunity to learn has passed away
the spiritual temple that we all have been striving
to erect in our hearts is now nearly completed,
and the wearied workman awaits only
the word of the Grand Master of the Universe,
to call him from the labors of earth to the eternal
refreshment of heaven. Hence, this is by far
the most solemn and impressive of the degrees
of Masonry and it has, in consequence of the
profound truths which it inculcates, been distinguished
by the Craft as the Sublime Degree,
As an Entered Apprentice, the Mason was taught
those elementary instructions which were to fit
him for further advancement in his profession,
just as the youth is supplied with that rudimentary
education which is to prepare him for entering
upon the active duties of life as a Fellow
Craft, the Mason is directed to continue his
investigation in the science of the institution,
and to labor diligently in the tasks it prescribes,
just as the man is required to enlarge his mind
by the acquisition of new ideas, and to extend
his usefulness to his fellow creatures but, as
a Master, the Mason is taught the last, the most
important and the most necessary of truths, that
having been faithful to all his trust, he is at
last to die, and to receive the rewards of his
It was the single object of all the ancient rites
and mysteries practiced in the very bosom of
pagan darkness, shining as a solitary beacon
in all that surrounding gloom, and cheering the
philosopher i n his weary pilgrimage of life, to
teach the immortality of the soul. This is still
the great design of the third degree of Masonry.
This is the scope and aim of its ritual. The
Master Mason represents man, when youth, man-hood,
old age, and life itself have passed away
as fleeting shadows. yet raised from the grave
of iniquity, and quickened into another and a
better existence. By its legend and all its ritual,
it is implied that we have been redeemed from
the death of sin and the sepulchre of pollution.
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