The Immovable Jewels
From The Grand Lodge Of Texas
During the Entered Apprentice lecture, the new Mason is
introduced to the jewels of the Lodge when he is told there are six such jewels,
three immovable and three movable. These "jewels" are not precious stones as one
might imagine when first hearing the term jewels, but rather refer to their
value to the operative builder in conducting his trade.
In the United States, the Immovable Jewels are the square, level, and plumb.
They are deemed immovable because they belong to fixed positions in the lodge,
the East, West, and South. The three principal officers of the lodge who sit in
these positions wear replicas of these operative tools. The Master wears the
square as a symbol of morality. The Senior Warden wears the level as a symbol of
equality while the Junior Warden wears the plumb as an emblem of upright living.
One might ask why these emblems are considered immovable when in fact the
officers who wear these jewels move about the lodge room and do not remain
stationary. Perhaps they are considered immovable in that they are assigned to a
specific officer of the lodge and, in that sense, they are permanently assigned
to the East, West, and South.
The square, level, and plumb are indeed important and valuable tools for the
builder for without them, he cannot carry out his trade. For the Freemason,
these tools become symbols related to building our moral selves. This point is
brought home in the Fellowcraft degree where the plumb, square and level are
introduced as the working tools for the degree.
A plumb is a string or cord with a free-swinging mass attached to the end that
when held will come to rest perpendicular to the horizontal due the
gravitational forces. This allows the builder to ensure he has erected a beam in
the proper manner, that is, perpendicular to the surface. As such, the plumb is
a symbol of right, uprightness, and proper social and moral behavior. It is
unlikely that a wall can stand for long if it is not erected properly or is not
straight. It is also unlikely that a Mason who does not lead an upright life can
be of value to his fellow man or to our fraternity. The plumb stands for
righteousness before God and man and becomes a standard by which we can test our
A square is an instrument having two arms with straight edges meeting in a right
angle. As a symbol the square represents morality and virtue. The concepts of
morality and virtue should guide all our actions before God and with our fellow
man. We must look into our hearts and ensure our dealings with others are
conducted in a virtuous and moral manner. When we "act upon the square" we are
telling the truth and dealing honestly with the other person. Morality is very
difficult to define yet we should be able to recognize morality, or the lack
thereof, based upon the standards of God. Each man must look deep within himself
to set those standards and principles by which he lives.
The level is used to prove horizontals in operative masonry. In speculative
Masonry the level is a symbol of equality indicating that all men have the same
duties to God and the same responsibilities and rights before his fellow man.
Equality does not mean that all men are equal in skills or abilities but rather
that all men should be treated with respect, dignity, and understanding. We are
all individuals, yet we should be a universal brotherhood before God where men
can achieve mutual respect and understanding regardless of their differences.
The Entered Apprentice lecture tells us that the square teaches morality, the
level equality, and the plumb rectitude of conduct. Symbolically, as Freemasons,
we are building a spiritual building that requires hard work and effort
throughout our lifetimes. We must build a level foundation based upon an
understanding of the equality of man before God. Upon this foundation we build
our moral standards that guide our dealings with our fellow man while always
striving to walk uprightly before God.
Perhaps the monitorial explanation for the working tools of a Fellowcraft Mason
is a fitting way to close this discussion.
"The Plumb is an instrument made use of by operative Masons to raise
perpendiculars, the Square to square their work, and the Level to lay
horizontals; but we, as Free and Accepted Masons, are taught to make use of them
for more noble and glorious purposes; the Plumb admonishes us to walk uprightly
in our several stations before God and man, squaring our actions by the Square
of Virtue, and remembering that we are traveling upon the Level of Time, to
"that undiscovered country, from whose bourne* no traveler returns."
* Bourne = boundary or destination.
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