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In every system of antiquity there is a frequent reference to this number, showing that the veneration for it proceeded from some common cause. It is equally a sacred number in the Gentile as in the Cristian religion. Doctor Oliver says that this can scarcely be ascribed to any event, except it be the institution of the Sabbath. Godfrey Higgins thinks that the peculiar circumstance, perhaps accidental, of the number of the days of the week coinciding exactly with the number of the planetary bodies probably procured for it its character of sanctity. The Pythagoreans called it a perfect number, because it was made up of three and four, the triangle and the square, which are the two perfect figures. They called it also a virgin number, and without mother, comparing it to Minerva, who was a motherless virgin, because it cannot by multiplication produce any number within ten, as twice two does four, and three times three does nine; nor can any two numbers, by their multiplication, produce it.
It is singular to observe the important part ocupied by the number seven in all the ancient systems There were, for instance, seven ancient planets, seven Pleiades, and seven Hyades; seven altars burned continually before the god Mithras; the Arabians had seven holy temples; the Hindus supposed the world to be enclosed within the compass of seven peninsulas the Goths had seven deities, namely, the Sun, the Moon, Tuisco, Woden, Thor, Friga, and Seatur, from whose names are derived our days of the week; in the Persian Mysteries were seven spacious caverns, through which the aspirant had to pass; in the Gothic Mysteries, the candidate met with seven obstructions, which were called the Road of the Seven Stages; and, finally, sacrifices were always considered as most efficacious when the victims were seven in number.
Muell of the Jewish liturgy was governed by this number, and the etymology of the word shows its sacred import, for the radical meaning of the Hebrew word shabang, is, says Parkhurst, sufficiency or fulness. The Hebrew idea, therefore, like the Pythagorean, is that of perfection. To both the seven was a perfect number. Again: 7, means to swear, beceause oaths were confirmed either by seven witnesses, or by seven victims offered in sacrifice, as we read in the Covenant of Abraham and Abimelech (Genesis xxi, 28). Hence, there is a frequent recurrence to this number in the Scriptural history.
The Sabbath was the seventh day; Noah received seven days' notice of the commencement of the deluge, and was commanded to select clean beasts and fowls by sevens; seven persons accompanied him into the ark; the ark rested on Mount Ararat in the seventh month; the intervals between despatching the dove were, each time, seven days; the walls of Jericho were encompassed seven days by seven priests, bearing seven rams' horns; Solomon was seven years building the Temple, which was dedicated in the seventh month, and the festival lasted seven days; the candlestick in the tabernacle consisted of seven branches; and, finally, the tower of Babel was said to have been elevated seven stories before the dispersion.
Seven is a sacred number in Masonic symbolism. It has always been so.
In the earliest instructions of the eighteenth century it was said that a Lodge required seven to make it perfect; but the only explanation to be found in any of those ceremonies of the sacredness of the number is the seven liberal arts and sciences, which, according to the old Legend of the Craft, were the foundation of Freemasonry. In modern ritualism the symbolism of seven has been transferred from the First to the Second Degree, and there it is made to refer only to the seven steps of the Winding Stairs; but the symbolic seven is to be found diffused in a hundred ways over the whole Masonic system.
The sun was naturally the great central planet of the ancient seven, and is ever represented as the central light of the seven in the branched candlestick. Of the days of the week one was known as Sol's day, or Sunday, and as the Sun was the son of Saturn, he wa.s ushered in by his father Saturn, or Saturdays whom he superseded.
The Jews got their Sabbath from the Babylonians about 700 B.C. (Ancient Faiths, page 863) also see Philo Judoeus, Josephus, and Clement of Alexandria, while Sol's day dates from time immemorial, and was always a sacred one. In a phallic sense, when the sun has been in conjunction with the moon, he only leaves Luna after impregnation, and as Forlong, in his Rivers of Life, expresses it, "the young sun is that faint globe we so often see in the arms of the new moon," which is in gestation with the sun.
The occult meaning of the word Mi-mi perhaps is here revealed, as mentioned in First Kings (xviii, 97), being defined Firewater. Mi is the name of the sun, and as well signifies gold. It is designated in the musical scale, and is also the name of fire in Burmese, Siamese, and cognates tongues, as mentioned by Forlong in treating of the Early Faiths of Western Asia (volume ii, page 65). Next to the sun in beauty and splendor the moon leads all the hosts of heaven. And the Occidental, as well as the Oriental, nations were wrongly moved in their imaginations by the awful majesty, the solemn silence, and the grandeur of that brilliant body progressing nightly through the starry vault: from the distant plains of India to ancient Egypt, and even those far-off lands where the Incas ruled, altars were erected to the worship of the Moon. On every seventh day the moon assumed a new phase, which gave rise to festivals to Luna being correspondingly celebrated; the day so set apart was known as Moon-day, or the second day of the week, that following Sun-day. "The Moon, whose phases unasked and appointed their holy days" (Cicero, Tusculan Disputations, book i, chapter 28) . In the Hebrew, Syrian, Persian, Phenician, Chaldean, and Saxon, the word Seven signifies full or complete, and every seventh day after the first quarter the moon is complete in its change. In all countries the moon is best known under the beautiful figure of the unveiling Queen of Heaven.
The relative values of Seven in the musical scale and in the ancient planetary formula are as follows:
For that (or to enable) With expanded breast
Shy servants are able to sing the praise of Thy
Deeds, forgive the pollute lips the sins uttered.
The syllable at has since been changed for the more satisfactory do.
In the vear 1562 there was printed at Leipzic a work entitled Heptalogium Virgilii Salsburgensis, in honor of the number Seven.
It consists of seven parts each embracing seven divisions. In 1624 appeared in London a curious work on the subject of numbers, bearing the following title: The Secret of Numbers according to Theological, Arithmetacal, geometrical, and Harmonical Computation; drawn for the better part, out of those Ancients, as well as Neoteriques. Pleasing to read, profitable to understand, opening themselves to the capacities of both learned and unlearned; being no other thun a key to lead men to any doctrinal knowledge whatsoever. In the ninth chapter the author has given many notable opinions from learned men, to prove the excellency of the number Seven. "First, it neither begets nor is begotten, according to the saying of Philo. Some numbers, indeed, within the compass of ten, beget, but are not begotten; and that is the unarie. Others are begotten, but beget not, as the octonarie. Only the septenaries have a prerogative above them all, they neither beget nor are they begotten. This is its first divinity or perfection. Secondly, this is a harmonical number, and the well and fountain of that fair and lovely Sigamma, because it includeth within itself all manner of harmony.
Thirdly, it is a theological number, consisting of perfection. Fourthly, because of its compositure; for it is compounded of the first two perfect members equal and unequal, three and four; for the number trio, consisting of repeated unity, which is no number, is not perfect. Now every one of these being excellent of themselves, as hath been demonstrated, how can this number be but far more excellent, consisting of theln all, and participating, as it were, of all their excellent virtues?"
Hippocrates says that the septenary member, by its occult virtue, tends to the accomplishment of all things, is the dispenser of life and fountain of all its changes; and, like Shakespeare, he divides the life of man into seven ages. In seven months a child may be born and live, and not before. Anciently a child was not named before seven days, not being accounted fully to have life before that periodical day. The teeth spring out in the seventh month, and are renewed in the seventh year, when infancy is changed into childhood. At thrice seven years the faculties are developed, manhood commences, and we become legally competent to all civil acts; at four times seven man is in full possession of his strength; at five times seven he is fit for the business of the world; at six times seven he becomes grave and wise, or never; at seven times seven he is in his apogee, and from that time he decays; at eight times seven he is in his first elimaeterie; at nine times seven, or sixty-three, he is in his grand climacteric, or years of danger; and ten times seven, or threeseore y ears and ten, has, by the Royal Prophet, been pronounced the natural period of human life.
Shakespeare's seven ages are lines in the play of As You Like It (act ii, scene 7) as follows:
Famous playwright and poet, born at Stratford-on-Avon, England, on April 22 or 23,1564; died, April 23, 1616, at Stratford. Brother Henry F. Evans has in the Rob Morris Bulletin of Denver, March, 1918, collected a number of items from the writings of Shakespeare having some bearing on words and phrases common among Freemasons. An article, "Was William Shakespeare a Freemason," by Robert I. Clegg, appeared in the Builder, Febrllary, 1910, examined among many others certain references to the letter G. in Richard III i, 1; the grip and whisper, King John iv, 2; the North for darkness and for evil, Henry VI v, 3, Henry IV ii, 4, Merry Wives of Windsor ii, 2; the plant that discovered the grave and thus revealed the murder of Polydorus to the patient seeker, Aeneas, is in Virgil, book iii, 22, and in Macbeth iii, 4, we have similar testimony that murder will out though stones must move and trees speak. These at least show the age of various ritualistic expressions and the advisability of carefully weighing past usefulness before making changes as is sometimes advised with what is now not so familiar in common usage as formerly.
SHARESPEARE, WILLIAMS AND MASONRY.
There is no obvious connection between Masonic research and Shakespearean research; Freemasonry as a Fraternity does not appear in the plays, and there is no indication that Shakespeare belonged to any one of the Time Irnmemorial Lodges. But out of Shakes spearean research and theory arose two or three theories which became connected with the Craft, and Masonic reasearch was thereby drawn into "the Shakespearean question "
1. There was the theory that Bacon, not the actor Shakespeare. had written the plays at about the same time, and in consequence, there was the theory that Bacon had organized a secret society and that this was the origin of Freemasonry. The discovery of new documents of unquestioned authenticity since Delia Bacon launched "the Baconian Hypothesis' has completely once and for all, destroyed any possibility of the truth of it.
These documents prove that Shakespeare lived for some thirteen years in London, first in the neighborhood of Blackfriars Theater, then in the neighborhood of the Globe Theater; that he was actor, manager, a re-writer and a writer of plays, etc.; that the principal characters in the plays were adapted to fit the personality, physique, and talents in Shakespeare's company; the names and number of these players are known, etc.; Bacon's name nowhere appears in these records, or any representative of Bacon or any of Bacon's ideas. Shakespeare is proved to have lived neighbor to Decker and Jonson for years, which gives their testimony to his authorship the weight of firsthand knowledge. The author of the plays indubitable was William Shakespeare of Stratford; therefore the flounder of any Baconian secret society vitas not their author. Meanwhile no evidence of any connection between Bacon and Freemasonry has been discovered, on the other hand a massive accumulation of evidence proves that Freemasonry was at work centuries before Bacon was born.
2. Shakespeare was living in London when the commerce, trade, and crafts were still divided among chartered City Companies; these Companies comprised the framework ot London, and contributed most of the Lord Mayors for about six centuries In the manuscript of a play entitled "Sir Thomas More" are three pages in Shakespeare's handwriting. This material has a peculiar interest for Freemasons lor a reason that must be explamed:
One of the rules of the City Companies (the Mason Company among them) gave London workmen monopolistic control of work in London. Any non-London workman brought in was called a "stranger." It might happen under extraordinary circumstances that an exception would be made in favor of a "stranger' but if not it was considered that any work he might do was "bootlegged," or "clandestine"—Scottish Masons would have called them "cowans." The records of the Mason Company are interspersed with protests against and condemnations of "strangers" in the building crafts. Once in a while the members of a City Company might gather on the street to drive "strangers" out; these were called riots or mobs. It happens that the scene written into "Sir Thomas More" by Shakespeare for use on the stage concerned just such a "mob." In a speech for the character of Sir Thomas More he wrote a powerful denunciation of this mobbing in that overwhelming poetry which was uniquely his own.
3. One ot the main supports of the anti-Shakespeare theory of authorship of the plays was the argument that a man from Stratford could not have possessed the encyclopedic knowledge revealed in them. This argument has lost its point.
First, Shakespearean research has proved that Shakespeare lived and worked in the very focus of British government and learning, was a boon companior of scholars, met men from travels in distant countries, was received by the Queen, helped to receive the all-irnportant Spanish Ambassador, produced plays in the Inns of the Temple, the center and home of British law, etc.
Second, it has proved that in writting a play he adhered as closely as possible to some volume by Plutarch, Holinshed, Malory, Montaigne, etc.; much of the erudition which went into the plays, and which has constituted the great puzzle, was therefore not his own erudition but belonged to the books he wed. If he introduced here and there some detail strikingly similar to a Masonic word or phrase, or custom it does not follow that he himself had any knowledge of the Craft. A Shakespeare Lodge constituted at Stratford expressly with the hope of proving Shakespeare to have been a Mason admitted its failure. Evidence may be discovered in the future; if it is it will be welcome; until it is, there are no grounds for believing that he ever entered a Lodge. As for his plays themselves their large themes are historical, political, military; architecture and the gilds have no place in them except as furnishing background for some detail or are mentioned in fiome passing auction.
Dr. Charles William Wallace, of the University of Nebraskan made in 1919 the discovery of the records of a trial in which Shakespeare was a witness and to one of which he attached his signature. He also discovered in the Record Office the exact location of the Globe Theater. Dr. Leslie Hotson, Haverford College, America, discovered a deed belonging to Shakespeare for a house near Blackfriars; and a sub poena issued to a set of persons who had made threats against a certain William Waytes in 1596, with William Shakespeare among five accused persons named. Shakespeare lampooned this Wayte's close friend Jt stiee William Gardiner as Justice Swallow in two plays. The Countess Clara Longworth de Chambrun discovered the copy of Holinshed which Shakespeare had used.
Discoveries of records and correspondence in late years have cleared up the question of Shakespeare's religion. He spent his boyhood at the period when Roman Catholicism was being driven out of Stratford, and his father, the town's leading citizen, Mayor a number of terms, and until his last years a man of svealth, was the leader of the Protestants who stripped the Stratford Church of its images and other Popish trappings; his mother, on the other hand, was an Arden, a very old family, and famous for its devotion to the Roman Church; she was compelled by law to abandon her creed, but it is probable that she continued to cherish it in secret. Since Shakespeare was as much attached to one parent as to the other it is reasonable to believe that he had no strong inner attachment to either Protestantism or Romanism.
Moreover, Stratford had become not only Protestant but Puritan; since his had been a forced marriage, and since he had gone off to London to work in a theater, the Puritan circles at home could not have looked upon him with approval. He returned, however, a wealthy man, and for that reason was accepted back into respectability, though after his death when London actors arrived in Stratford with a bust to place at his tomb they were ill received, and given one day to leave the town because they belonged to a prolession which the Puritans were determined to destroy.
(See Mr. Shakespeare of the Globe, by Frayne Williams; E. P. Dutton & Co.; Stew York; 1941; 396 pages; abundant references Francis Bacon and his ,secretsocyety. by Mrs. Pott. Speddings' Life of Bacon. .Shakespeare: Creator of Freemasonry by Alfred Dodd; Slider & Co.; London.)
The emblematic use of a sharp instrument, as indicated in the instructions of the First Degree, is intended to be represented by a warlike weapon, the old rituals call it "a warlike instrumented such as a dagger or sword. The use of the point of a pair of compasses, as is sometimes improperly done, is an erroneous application of the symbol, which should not be tolerated in a properly conducted Lodge. The compasses are, besides, a symbol peculiar to the Third Degree.
SHARP INSTRUMENT. 2
The Minutes of the I.odge of Antiquity (one of "the Four Old Lodges") record that on March 26, 1834 "a poignard for the I. G. was given by Bro. R. W. Jennings . . . " Prior to the Union there had been in general no protection of the door except by the Tiler, who stood outside, armed with a weapon, which, in Speculative Freemasonry, had symbolic purposes only yet was for those purposes inexorably wielded. The story of the sword in early Speculative Freemasonry is an interesting one—it is recommended to Masonic essayists. In the Eighteenth Century young blades wore a sword almost everywhere; sometimes even in Church (if they mere ~armigerous " or entitled to bear arms, Which ''commoners" were not permitted to do). Should Lodges permit swords to be worn in the Lodge Room ?
A weapon was out of place there. The young men insisted that they would; the Lodges insisted that they should not; Grand Lodge weakened once and gave permission, but at the end of a year recanted and withdrew permission; swords were left in the Anteroom. But it is probable that as a kind of compromise the Tiler, who was not only a "commoner" but of a lower order still, namely, a "servant," had to give over his ancient practice of carrying about the gentlemen's weapon, and took to wearing a poignard which was really a foreign weapon. When an Inner Guard was added to the Lodge officers after the Union of 1813 he also was armed, and also with what one Secretary wrote down as a "p - - - d. " In the course of time (at least in America) the Inner Guard (or Junior Deacon) went without even that weapon, and the now unlawful sword was returned to the Outer Guard, or Tiler.
What a visitor, or stranger, or a Candidate encountered at the Outer Door of the Lodge was not a door, but a sword! To outsiders the "sword" is a challenge and a warning; to members it is a guard and a protection. (The "border"—or boundary, or tees sellated edge of a Lodge room—is thus an actualityl) There is no data to show when or why the symbolism of the Sharp Instrument was introduced, but it is a reasonable theory that it is a symbolical modification of the old custom in which the Tiler (or Outer Guard) guarded the Inner Door with his blade—certainly he never guarded it with a pair of compassesl
Hindu word meaning instruction. Any book held more or less sacred among the Hindus, whether included in the Sruti or not. The Great Shasters comprise the Vedas, the Upavedas, and the Vedangas, with their appended works of learning, ineluding the Puranas, the Ramayana, and the Mahabharata (see puranas, Ramaydna, and Mahabharata).
The sacred book of the Hindus, which contains the dogmas of their religion and the ceremonies of their worship. It is a commentary on the Vedas, and consists of three parts: the moral law, the rites and ceremonies of the religion, and the distribution of the people into tribes. To the Hindu Freemason it would be the Greater Light and his Book of the Law, as the Bible is to his Christian Brother.
SHEBA, QUEEN OF.
In the Books of Kings and Chronicles (see First Kings x, 1-13, and Second Chrolliele3 ix, 1-12), we are told that "when the Queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon coneerning the name of the Lord, she came to prove him with hard questions." Sheba, or Saba, is supposed to have been a province of Arabia Felix, situated to the south of Jerusalem. The Queen, whose visit is thus described, is spoken of nowhere else in Seripture. But the Jews and the Arabs, who gave her the name of lSalkis, recite many traditions concerning her. The Masonic one will be found under the words Admiration, Sign of, which see.
The Hebrew word The fifth month of the Hebrew civil year, and corresponding with the months January and February, beginning with the new moon of the former.
In the Fourth or Mark Master's Degree, it is said that the value of a Mark is "a Jewish half-shekel of silver, or twenty-five cents in the curreney of this country." The shekel of silver was a weight of great antiquity among the Jews, its value being about a half-dollar. In the time of Solomon, as well as long before and long after, until the Babylonish exile, the Hebrews had no regularly stamped money, but generally used in traffic a currency which consisted of uneoined shekels, which they weighed out to one another. The earliest specimens of the coined shekel which we know are of the coinage of Simon Maceabeus, issued about the year 144 B.C. Of these, we generally find on the obverse the sacred pot of manna, with the inscription, Shekel Israel, in the old Samaritan character; on the reverse, the rod of Aaron, having three buds, with the inscription, Jerushalem Kadoshah, or Jerusalem the Holy, in a similar character.
The Hebrew word brad, derived from Shakan, meaning to dwell. A term applied by the Jews, especially in the Targums, to the divine glory which dwelt in the tabernacle and the Temple, and which was manifested by a visible cloud resting over the merey-seat in the Holy of Holies. It first appeared over the Ark when Moses consecrated the Tabernacle; and was afterward, upon the consecration of the Temple by Solomon, translated thither, where it remained until the destruction of that building.
The Shekinah disappeared after the destruction of the first Temple, and was not present in the second.
Christie, in his learned treatise on the Worship of the Elements, says that "the loss of the Shekinah, that visible sign of the presence of the Deity, induced an early respeet for solar light as its substitute. " Now there is mueh that is signifieative of Masonic history in this brief sentence. The sun still remains as a prominent symbol in the Masonic system. It has been derived by the Masons from those old sunworshipers. But the idea of Masonic light is very different from their idea of solar light. The Shekinah was the symbol of the Divine glory; but the true glory of divinity is Truth, and Divine Truth is therefore the Shekinah of Freemasonry. This is symbolized by light, which is no longer used by us as a "substitute" for the Shekinah, or the Divine glory, but as its symbol—the physical expression of its essence.
The password of the Order of Felicity. It is of Arabic root, signifying, Peace be with you! (see Selamu Aleikum).
The Name. The Jews in their sacred rites often designated God by the word Name, but they applied it only to him in his most exalted eharaeter as expressed by the Tetragrammaton, JEHOVAH. To none of the other titles of God, such as El, Eheyeh, or Adonai, do they apply the word. Thus, Shemchah Sadosh, Thy name is holy, means Thy name Jehovah is holy. To the Name thus exalted, in its reference to the Tetragrammaton, they applied many epithets, among which are the following used by the Talmudists, Shem shal arbang, the name of four, i.e., four letters, Shem hamjukad, the appropriated name, i.e., appropriated solely to God. Shem haggadol, the great name, and Shem hakkadosh, the holy name. To the Jew, as to the Freemason, this great and holy name was the symbol of all Divine truth. The Name was the true name, and therefore it symbolized and represented the true God.
SHEM, HAM, JAPHETH.
The three sons of Noah, who assisted him in the construction of the Ark of Safety, and henee they became significant words in the Royal Arch Degree according to the American system. The interpolation of Adoniram in the place of one of these names, which is sometimes met with, is a blunder of some modern ritual maker.
A Hebrew expression, meaning the Separated Name. The Tetragrammaton is so called because, as Maimonides, in the More Nebukim, Guide of the Perplexed, says, all the names of God are derived from his works except the Tetragrammaton, which is called the separated name, because it is derived from the substance of the Creator, in which there is no participation of any other thing. That is to say, this name indicates the self-existent essence of God, which is something altogether within Himself, and separate from His works.
One of the three historical divisions of religion—the other two being the Turanian and the Aryan—and embraces Mosaism, Christianity, the Eddaic Code, and Moslemism.
According to Brother Preston, the sheriff of a County possessed, before the Revival of 1717, a power later confined to Grand Masters. He says (Illustrations, page 182) that "A sufficient number of Masons met together within a certain district, with the consent of the Sheriff or chief magistrate of the place, were empowered, at this time, to make Masons, and practise the rites of Masonry without a warrant of Constitution."
This is confirmed by the following passage in the Cooke Manuscript (lines 901-12): "When the masters and fellows be forewarned and are come to such congregations, if need be, the Sheriff of the Country, or the Mayor of the City, or Aldermen of the Town in which such Congregation is holden, shall be fellow and soeiate to the master of the congregation in help of him against rebels and (for the) upbearing the right of the realm."
See Insect Shermah.
One of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, born at Newton, Massachusetts, April 19, 1721; died in New Haven, Conneetieut, July 23, 1793. Was Judge, Superior Court, Conneeticut, 1766; Treasurer, Yale University, 1765; Delegate, Continental Congress, 1774; Mayor, New Haven, 1784; United States Senator, 1791; member, Committee Drafting Declaration of Independence and Articles of Federation. He was made a Freemason just prior to the breaking out of the American Revolution (see New Age, April, 1924, and Masonic Presidents, Vice Presidents and Signers, by William L. Boyden).
The seven-headed serpent floating in the eosmical ocean, upon which the throne of Brahrna rested.
The twelve loaves which were placed upon a table in the sanctuary of the Temple, and which were called the shewbread or bread of the presence, are represented among the paraphernalia of a Lodge of Perfection in the Ancient and Aeeepted Scottish Rite. Bähr (Symbolik) says that the shew bread was a symbol of the bread of life—of the eternal life by which we are brought into the presence of Cod and know Him; an interpretation that is equally applicable to the Masonic symbolism.
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