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We are accustomed to use indiscriminately the word Scotch or Scottish to signify something relating to Scotland. Thus we say the Scotch Rite or the Scottish Rite; the latter is, how ever, more frequently used by Masonic writers. This has been objected to by some purists because the final syllable ish has in general the signification of diminution or approximation, as in brackish, saltish, and similar words. But ish in Scottish is not a sign of diminution, but is derived, as in English, Danish, Swedish, etc., from the German termination ische. The word is used by the best writers.
The advanced Degrees so frequently credited to Ramsay, under the name of the Irish Degrees, were subsequently called Scottish Degrees in reference to that theory of the promulgation of Freemasonry derived from Scotland (see Irish Chapters) .
SCOTTISH PROV. C. L'S.
The history of the Scottish Provincial Grand Lodge constituted in Boston with Joseph Warren as first Grand Masterand of his jurisdiction over certain Lodges in and around Boston for 100 miles, has been written many times, and has made the names of Boston's St. Andrews Lodge and of Joseph Warren and Paul Revere famous throughout Freemasonry. Warren was installed Provincial Grand Master in it in 1769.
(NOTE.—on page 322, Vol. 5, of Gould's History of Freemasonry, it is stated that when Jeremy Gridley, Grand Master of St. John's Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, died in 1767, he "was Grand Master of Masons in North America." He had no jurisdiction over Antient or Scottish Lodges in Boston. There were at the same time other Grand Masters in America; also Gridley was only a Provincial Grand Master. Antient, Irish, and Seottish Warrants had as much validity in America as did Warrantc from the Modern Grand Lodge of EnRland. There was no exclusive territorial jurisdiction in America until after the Revolution.)
For a reason difficult to explain a second Provincial Grand Lodge of Scotland, set up at about the same time, has been to an opposite extent almost wholly forgotten. Florida had been a Spanish Colony since 1512 (Ponce de Leon) and set up its capital at St. Augustine in 1565. In 1763 it was ceded to England. Then it was ceded back to Spain. It was won by the United States in 1822, and became a Territory in 1822, a State in 1845. On March 15, 1768, during British control, James Grant, Governor of East Florida, and Henry Cunningham, Past Senior Grand Warden of the Grand Lodge of Scotland, "craved a Charter" from that Grand Lodge for a Lodge and for a Provincial Grand Lodge. Scotland granted the Charter and commissioned Grant as Provincial Grand Master.
In this wise came into existence Grant's East Florida Lodge, No. 143, "on the Scottish register," at St. Augustine. Grant's title was: "Provincial Grand Master of the Provincial Grand Lodge over the Lodges of the Southern District of North America." The wording sounds as if the Grand Lodge of Scotland planned at that date to have two Provincial Grand Lodges in America; a Northern District, with its center at Boston; a southern one with its center temporarily in Florida. Scottish Lodges were regular and legitimate, w ere so recognized by both Grand Lodges in England, and there is nothing in any of the original documents or in the practices of Scottish American Lodges to indicate that they owed any allegiance to the St. John's Grand Lodge of Massachusetts (see note above) or to any other Masonic authority.
This new Provincial Grand Lodge issued Warrants; how many, is not known, but records exist to show that it constituted a regimental Lodge, St. Andrews, No. 1, at Pensacola, in 1771; and another regimental Lodge, Mt. Moriah, at St. Lucia, in 1779.
In 1783 Britain gave Florida back to Spain, and the Dominican priests immediately drove Masonry out of it. St. .indrew's No. 1 moved up to Charleston, S. C., worked under a temporary dispensation, and was rechartered by the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania as Lodge No. 40 in 1783. In 1787 it helped to form the Grand Lodge of South Carolina.
Some authorities call this the Ancient and Accepted Rite, but as the Latin Constitutions of the Order designate it as the Antiquus Scoticus Ritus Acceptus, or the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, that title has now been very generally adopted as the correct name of the Rite.
Although one of the youngest of the Masonic Rites, having been established not earlier than the year 1801, it is at this day most popular and the most extensively diffused. Supreme Councils or governing Bodies of the Rite are to be found in almost every civilized country of the world, and in many of them it is the only Masonic Obedience. The history of its organization is briefly this: In 1758, a Body was organized at Paris called the Council of Emperors of the East and West. This Council organized a Rite called the Rite of Perfection, which consisted of twenty-five Degrees, the highest of which was Sublime Prince of the Royal Secret.
In 1761, this Council granted a Patent or Deputation to Stephen Morin, authorizing him to propagate the Rite in the Western Continent, whither he was about to repair. In the same year, Morin arrived at the City of Santo Domingo, where he commenced the dissemination of the Rite, and appointed many Inspectors, both for the West Indies and for the United States. Among others, he conferred the Degrees on Moses M. Hayes, with a power of appoint ing others when necessary. Hayes accordingly appointed Isaac Da Costa Deputy Inspector-General for South Carolina, who in 1783 introduced the Rite into that State by the establishment of a Grand Lodge of Perfection in Charleston. Other Inspectors were subsequently appointed, and in 1801 a Supreme Council lvas opened in Charleston by John Mitchell and Frederick Dalcho.
There is abundant evidence in the Archives of the Supreme Council that up to that time the twenty-five Degrees of the Rite of Perfeetion were alone recognized. But suddenly, vith the organization of the Supreme Council, there arose a new Rite, fabricated by the adoption of eight more of the continental advanced Degrees, so as to make the Thirty-third and not the Twenty-fifth Degree the summit of the Rite.
The Rite consists of thirty-three Degrees, which are divided into six sections, each section being under an appropriate Jurisdiction, and are as follows: I. SYMBOLIC LODGE
1. Entered Apprentice.
2. Fellow Craft.
3. Master Mason.
These are sometimes called the Blue or Symbolic Degrees. They are not conferred by the Scottish Rite in England, Scotland, Ireland, or in the United States because the Supreme Councils refrain from exercising jurisdiction through respect to the older authority in those countries of the York and American Rite.
II. LODGE OF PERFECTION
4. Secret Master.
5. Perfect Master.
6. Intimate Seeretary.
7. Provost and Judge.
8. Intendant of the Building
9. Elu, or Elected Knight, of the Nine.
10. Illustrious Elect, or Elu, of the Fifteen.
11. Sublime Knight Elect, or Elu, of the Twelve
12. Grand Master Architect.
13. Knight of the Ninth Areh, or Royal Arch of Solomon.
14. Grand Elect, Perfeet and Sublime Mason or
III. CHAPTER OF ROSE CROIX
15. Knight of the East.
16. Prince of Jerusalem.
17. Knight of the East and West.
18. Prince Rose Croix.
IV. COUNCIL OF KADOSH
19. Grand Pontiff.
20. Grand Master of Symbolic Lodges.
21. Noachite, or Prussian Knight.
22. Knight of the Royal Ax, or Prince of
23. Chief of the Tabernacle.
24. Prince of the Tabernacle.
25. Knight of the Brazen Serpent.
26. Prince of Mercy.
27. Knight Commander of the Temple.
28. Knight of the Sun, or Prince Adept.
29. Grand Scottish Knight of Saint Andrew.
30. Knight Kadosh.
V. CONSISTORY OF SUBLIME PRINCES OR MASTERS, OF THE ROYAL SECRET
31. Inspector Inquisitor Commander.
32. Sublime Princo of the ROYa1 Secrets VI.
33. Sovereign Grand Inspector-General.
The classification of the above Degrees is as they are arranged in the Southern Jurisdiction. In the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction the Consistory grades begin at Grand Pontiff, the nineteenth, and include the thirty-second, Sublime Prince of the Royal Secret, and the Council of Princes of Jerusalem governs the fifteenth and sixteenth grades Several of the titles of the Degrees vary in their use by the Supreme Councils but the above table covers most of these variations. The Southern Jurisdiction for example omits the word Grand from the names of the twelfth, fourteenth, nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-ninth grades, and also uses Elu instead of the other designations, omits Commander from the thirty-first, and specifies Master in the thirty-second.
A full account of the Rite is in Doctor Mackey's revised History of Freemasonry but numerous details under individual headings are in the present work (see Educational Foundalions).
SCOTTISH RITE SCHOLARSHIPS.
See Templars of Scotland.
See Prince of Mercy.
The Scribe is the third officer in a Royal Arch Chapters according to the American system and is the representative of Haggai. The Sofer, or Seribe in the earlier Scriptures, was a kind of military secretary; but in the latter he was a learned man, and Doctor of the Laws, who expounded them to the people. Thus Artaverres calls Ezra the priest, "a Scribe of the law of the God of heaven." Horne says that the Scribe was the King's Secretary of State, who registered all acts and decrees. It is in this sense that Haggai is called the Scribe in Royal Arch Masonry. In the English system of Royal Arch Masonry there are two Scribes, who represent Ezra and Nehemiah, and whose position and duties are those of Secretaries.
The American Scribe is the Third Principal. The Scribes, according to the Enghish system, appear to be analogous to the Soferim or Scribes of the later Hebrews from the time of Ezra. These were members of the Great Synod, and were literary men, who occupied themselves in the preservation of the letter of the Scriptures and the development of its spirit.
SCRIPTURES, BELIEF IN THE.
The Grand Lodge of Ohio resolved in 1820, that "in the first degrees of Masonry religious tests shall not be a barrier to the admission or advancement of applicants, provided they profess a belief in God and His Holy Word"; and in 1854 the same Body adopted a resolution declaring that "Masonry, as we have received it from our fathers, teaches the Divine Authenticity of the Holy Scriptures." In 1845, the Grand Lodge of Illinois declared a belief in the authenticity of the Scriptures a necessary qualification for initiation. Although in Christendom very few Freemasons deny the Divine authority of the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, yet to require, as a preliminary to initiation, the declaration of such a belief, Doctor Mackey was of opinion, is directly in opposition to the express regulations of the Order, which demand a belief in God and, by implication, in the immortality of the soul as the only religious tests (see Bible).
SCRIPTURES, READING OF THE.
By an ancient usage of the Craft, the Book of the Law is always spread open in the Lodge. There is in this, as in everything else that is Masonic, an appropriate symbolism. The Book of the Law is the Great Light of Freemasonry. To close it would be to intercept the rays of divine light which emanate from it, and hence it is spread open, to indicate that the Lodge is not in darkness, but under the influence of its illuminating power. Freemasons in this respect obey the suggestion of the Divine Founder of the Christian religion, "Neither do men light a Candle and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house."
A closed book, a sealed book, indicates that its contents are secret; and a ,book or roll folded up was the symbol, says Wemyss, of a law abrogated, or of a thing of no further use. Hence, as the reverse of all this, the Book of the Law is opened in our Lodges, to teach us that its contents are to be studied, that the laxv which it ineuleates is still in force, and is to be "the rule and guide of our conduct."
But the Book of the Law is not opened at random. In each Degree there are appropriate passages, whose allusion to the design of the Degree, or to some part of its ritual, makes it expedient that the book should be opened upon those passages. Masonic usage has not always been constant, nor is it now universal in relation to what particular passages shall be unfolded in each Degree. The custom in the United States of America, at least sinee the publieation of Webb's Monitor, has been fairly uniform, and in general is as follows:
In the First Degree the Bible is opened at Psalm cxxxiii, an eloquent description of the beauty of brotherly love, and henee most appropriate as the illustration of a society whose existence is dependent on that noble principle.
In the Second Degree the passage adopted is Amos vii, 7 and 8, in which the allusion is evidently to the plumbline, an important emblem of that Degree.
In the Third Degree the Bible is opened at Ecclesiastes xii, 1-7, in which the description of old age and death is appropriately applied to the sacred object of this Degree.
But, as has been said, the choice of these passages has not always been the same. At different periods various passages have been selected, but always with great appropriateness, as may be seen from the following brief sketch. Formerly, the Book of the Law was opened in the First Degree at the twenty-second chapter of Genesis, which gives an account of Abraham's intended saerifiee of Isaae.
As this event constituted the first grand offering commemorated by our ancient Brethren, by whieh the ground floor of the Apprentice's Lodge was consecrated, it seems to have been very appropriately selected as the passage for this Degree. That part of the twenty-eighth chapter of Genesis which records the vision of Jacob's ladder was also, with equal appositeness, selected as the passage for the First Degree. The following passage from First Kings vi, 8, was, during one part of the eighteenth century, used in the Second Degree: "The door of the middle chamber was in the right side of the house, and they went up with grinding stairs into the middle chamber, and out of the middle into the third." The appositeness of this passage to the Fellow Craft's Degree will hardly be disputed.
At another time the following passage from Second Chronicles iii, 17, was selected for the Second Degreeits appropriateness will be equally evident: "And he reared up the pillars before the Temple, one on the right hand, and the other on the left; and he called the name of that on the right hand Jachin, and the name of that on the left Boaz."
The words of Amos v, 25 and 26, were sometimes adopted as the passage for the Third Degree: "Have ye offered unto me sacrifices and offerings in the wilderness forty years, O house of Israel? But ye have borne the tabernacle of your Moloch and Chiun your images, the star of your god, which ye made to yourselves." The allusions in this paragraph are not so evident as the others. They refer to historical matters, which were once embodied in the ancient lectures of Freemasonry. In them the sacrifices of the Israelites to Moloch were fully described, and a tradition, belonging to the Third Degree, informs us that Hiram Abif did much to extirpate this idolatrous worship from the religious system of Tyre.
The sixth chapter of Second Chronicles, which contains the prayer of King Solomon at the dedication of the Temple, was also used at one time for the Third Degree. Perhaps, however, this was with less fitness than any other of the passages quoted, since the events commemorated in the Third Degree took place at a somewhat earlier period than the dedication. Such a passage might more appropriately be annexed to the ceremonies of the Most Excellent Master as practised in the United States.
At present the usage in England differs in respect to the choice of passages from that adopted in the United States of America. There the Bible is opened, in the First Degree, at Ruth iv, 7: "Now this was the manner in former time in Israel concerning redeeming and concerning changing, for to confirm all things; a man plucked off his shoe, and gave it to his neighbor: and this was a testimony in Israel."
In the Second Degree the passage is opened at Judges xii, 6: "Then said they unto him, Say now Shibboleth: and he said Sibboleth; for he could not frame to pronounce it right. Then they took him, and slew him at the passages of Jordan. And there fell at that time of the Ephraimites forty and two thousand. " Let not the reader hastily assume that there is but one meaning to be given these figures. The suggestion is offered that the reference may be taken as readily for two thousand and forty as forty-two thousand. We must not overlook the probable size of the popullation nor for that matter, the tendency in the East for exuberance of expression.
In the Third Degree the passage is opened at First Kings vii, 13 and 14: "And King Solomon sent and fetched Hiram out of Tyre. He was a widow's son of the Tribe of Naphtali, and his father was a man of Tyre, a worker in bravss: and he was filled with wisdom, and understanding, and cunning to work all works in brass. And he came to King Solomon, and wrought all his work." While from the force of habit, as well as from the extrinsic excellence of the passages themselves, the American Freemason will, perhaps, prefer the selections made in the Lodges of the United States, especially for the First and Third Degrees, he at the same time will not fail to admire the taste and ingenuity of the English Brethren in the selections that they have made. In the Second Degree the passage from Judges is undoubtedly preferable to that used in the United States.
In conclusion it may be observed, that to give these passages their due Masonic importance it is essential that they should be covered by the Square and Compasses. The Bible, square, and compasses are signifieant symbols of Freemasonry. They are said to allude to the peculiar characteristics of our ancient Grand Masters. The Bible is emblematic of the wisdom of King Solomon; the Square, of the power of Hiram; and the Compasses, of the skill of the Chief Builder. Some Masonic writers have still further spiritualized these symbols by supposing them to symbolize the wisdom, truth, and justice of the Great Architeet of the Universe. In any view they become instructive and inseparably connected portions of the true Masonic Ritual, which, to be under stood, must be studied together (see Bible).
The written portion of the Jewish Law read at stated periods before the congregation, and preserved in the Synagogue Wittl great security.
In the classic mythology, the scythe was one of the attributes of Saturn, the god of time because that deity is said to have taught men the use of the implement in agriculture. But Saturn was also the god of time; and in modern iconography Time is allegorized under the figure of an old many with white hair and beard, two large wings at his back, an hour-glass in one hand and a scythe in the other. It is in its cutting and destructive quality that the scythe is here referred to. Time is thus the great mower who reaps his harvest of men. Freemasonry has adopted this symbolism, and in the Third Degree the seythe is described as an emblem of time, which cuts the brittle thread of life and makes havoc among the human race.
SEA AND FIELD LODGES.
The Grand Lodge of England has warranted three Naval Lodges as follows: One on board His Majesty's ship the Vanguard. This Lodge was warranted in 1760 and is now known as the London dodge No. 108, it having removed to that city 1768.
Another Lodge was warranted in 1762 on board the ship Prince at Plymouth. This lodge was removed in 1764 on board the ship Guadaloupe (see Ro7yal Somerset House and Inrerness Lodge). Later on this Lodge was again moved to Somerset House in 1766.
A Lodge, warranted in 1768 on the ship known as Canceaux at Quebec, was erased in 1792.
A petition for a fourth Sea Lodge to be known as Naval Kilwinning and to be held on board the Ardent was made in 1810 to the Grand Lodge of Scotland, which petition was refused. There seems to be no question as to Dunckerley being responsible for the formation of the first two of the Sea Lodges here listed although he had nothing to do with the third (see Thomas Dunckerley, Henry Sadler, London, 1891, pages 68-73; also Military Lodges).
That seafaring man who appears in one of the Degrees, and who as a character is of Shakespearean brevity and poetic power, was always followed by eager interest and applause in the Eighteenth Century by one kind of Masonic audience, the Brethren among the "salt water Lodges" in cities along the coasts; these were the "sea brothers," "mariner Masons, " "our Brethren and Lodges in ships," the famous and far-going seamen of the Craft in the days of sail. A reader of the Minutes of these Lodges is tempted to believe at the end that every Jack Tar in Britain must have been a Mason.
Thus, Sir Francis Columbine, many years the Right Worshipful Master of Royal STaval Lodge at B apping, is credited with having raised 600 American captains and 400 British Saval officers in twenty years; Old Dundee, its neighbor Lodge, had 267 "Sea-members" (a special classification) in 1810.
The great Thomas Dunckerley, the largest figure in the first days of Grand Chapter and Grand Encampment, u as made a Mason in the latter in 1761, and found there twentysix others who, like himself (he was in the Navy), were "sea-members." These seafaring Brothers of Britain, along with other thousands from America, Canada, Europe, and the West Indies, carried the Craft into almost every port in the world, and often were the first to plant it in newly-opened countries, as in South Africa, New Zealand, Hawaii, China, India, Egypt.
Can any Brother explain why the historians of Masonry (and mea culpa) have failed to give a chapter to them? they were the missionaries, they and Army and Naval Lodges, of Freemasonry as a universal, a worldwide Brotherhood. Many of the rumors, whispers, traditions of Masonry in America long before 1730 become credible and understandable if it is remembered how many Mason "sea captains" were coming into the ports of Boston, Providence, New York, Philadelphia, and Norfolk.
A stamp on which letters and a device are carved for the purpose of making an impression, and also the wax or paper on which the impression is made. Lord Coke defines a seal to be an impression on wax, sigillum est cera impressa, and wax was originally the legal material of a seal. Many old Masonic Diplomas and Charters are still in existence, where the seal consists of a eireular tin box filled with wax, on which the seal is impressed, the box being attached by a ribbon to the parchment But now the seal is placed generally on a piece of circular paper.
The form of a seal is circular; oval seals were formerly appropriated to ecclesiastical dignitaries and religious houses, and the shape alluded to the old Christian symbol of the Vesica Piscis. No Masonic document is valid unless it has apes pended to it the seal of the Lodge or Grand Lodge. Foreign Grand Lodges never recognize the transae tions of subordinate Lodges out of their Jurisdictions, if the standing of the Lodges is not guaranteed by the seal of the Grand Lodge and the signatures of the oper officers.
SEAL, THE GREAT.
On the reverse of the silver certificate for one dollar ("dollar bill") issued by the Treasury Department of the United States is a symbolie design representing a truncated pyramid on a shield surrounded by two mottoes in Latin. It has been stated or intimated in Masonic periodicals that this is a Masonic design, or else was suggested by Masonic symbolism, but this is a mistake; the design is nothing other than the reverse side (and therefore the less familiar side) of the Great Seal of the United States, has no Masonic significance, and was not suggested by Masonic symbols; and, as will be seen, of the three men responsible for the design only one was a Mason.
On July 4, 1776, the Congress appointed Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson a special Committee to draw up the design for a Great Seal. Many designs were submitted to the Committee; one made by William Barton, somewhat altered, was adopted by the Congress on June 20, 1782. The obverse ("face") and reverse sides of the shield are described in technical heraldic language as follows:
"Arms. Poleways stripes of thirteen pieces argent and gules; a chief azure; the escutcheon on the breast of the American eagle displayed proper, holding in his dexter talon an olive branch, and in his sinister a bundle of thirteen arrows, all proper; and in his beak a scroll, inscribed with the motto E PLURIBUS UNUM '
"For the Crest: over the head of the eagle which appears above the escutcheon, a glorybreakingthroug a cloud proper, and surrounding thirteen stars, forming a constellation, argent and on an azure field "Reverse. A pyramid unfinished. In the zenith an eye in a triangle, surrounded with a glory, proper; over the eye these words 'Annuit Coeptis.' On the base of the pyramid the numerical letters 'MDCCLD and underneath, the following motto: 'Novus Ordo Seclorum'."
The poleways were vertical stripes. Argent was white; gules was red; azure was blue; the eseutcheon, was the shield; proper meant upright; dexter is the right hand, toward the right; sinister is the left Loosely translated Annuit Coeptis is "God has fax ored; or prospered, the undertaking"; Norus Ordo Seclorum is "A new series of ages," that is, a new order of things. The obverse side of the Seal is really the Chat of Arms of the United States. Mr. Barton, the designer, explained the eseutcheon, etc., as "denoting the confederacy of the United States of America, and the preservation of their union through Congress." He explained that the pyramid on the reverse side "signifies strength and duration; the eye over it and the motto alludes to the many signal interpositions of Providence in favor of the American cause. The date underneath is that of the Declaration of Independence; and the words under it signify the beginning of the new American era, which commences from that date."
It is significant for American history that the Great Seal was adopted five years before the Constitution was written, and reflects the then prevalent idea of a confederation of thirteen independent nations loosely tied together by a Congress. This was a unilateral government, and consisted wholly of Congress. The Constitution introduced a wholly different system, a tripartite government with three equal departments of the Congress, the Executive, and the Judiciary, each in balance with the other two. It is for this reason that the Great Seal does not include emblems of either the Presidency or of the Supreme Court.
SEAL OF SOLOMON.
The Seal of Solomon or the Shield of David, for under both names the same thing was denoted, is a hexagonal figure consisting of two interlaced triangles, thus forming the outlines of six-pointed star. Upon it was inscribed one of the sacred names of God, from which inscription it was opposed principally to derive its talismanic powers.
These powers were very extensive, for it was believed that it would extinguish fire, prevent Wounds in a anfliet, and perform many other wonders. The sews called it the Shield of David in reference to the protection which it gave to its Possessors. But to we other Orientalists it was more familiarly known s the Seal of Solomon. Among these imaginative people, there was a very prevalent belief in the magical character of the King of Israel. He was esteemed rather as a great magician than as a great monarch, and by the signet which he wore, on which this talismanic seal was engraved, he is supposed to have acomplished the most extraordinary actions, and by it to have enlisted in his service the labors of the genil for the construction of his celebrated Temple.
Robinson Crusoe and the Thousand and One Nights are two books which every child has read, and which no man or woman ever forgets. In the latter are many allusions to Solomon's Seal. Especially is there a story of an unlucky fisherman who fished up in his net a bottle secured by a leaden stopper, on which this seal was impressed. On opening it, a fierce Afrite, or evil genii, came forth, who gave this account of the cause of his imprisonment. Solomon," said he, "the son of David, exhorted me to embrace the faith and submit to his authority; but I refused; upon which he called for this bottle, and confined me in it, and closed it upon me with the leaden stopper and stamped upon it his seal, with the great name of God engraved upon it. Then he gave the vessel to one of the genii, who submitted to him, with orders to cast me into the sea."
Of all talismans, there is none, except, perhaps, the cross, which was so generally prevalent among the ancients as this Seal of Solomon or Shield of David. It has been found in the cave of Elephanta, in India, accompanying the image of the Deity, and many other places celebrated in the Brahmanical and the Buddhist religions. Hay, in an exploration into Western Barbary, found it in the harem of a Moor, and in a Jewish synagogue, where it was suspended in front of the recess in which the sacred rolls were deposited. In fact, the interlaced triangles or Seal of Solomon may be considered as par exellence, by merit, the Creat Oriental talisman.
In time, with the progress of the new religion, it ceased to be invested with a magical reputation, although the Hermetic philosophers of the Middle Ages did employ it as one of their mystical symbols; but true to the theory that superstitions may berepudiated but never will be forgotten, it was adopted by the Christians as one of the emblems of their faith, but with varying interpretations. The two triangles were said sometimes to be symbols of fire and water, sometimes of prayer and remission, sometimes of creation and redemption, or of life and death, or of resurrection and judgment. But at length the ecclesiologists seem to have settled on the idea that the figure should be considered as representing the two natures of our Lord—His Divine and His human nature.
'l'hus we find the Seal of Solomon dispersed all over Europe, in medallions, made at a very early period, on the breasts of the recumbent effigies of the dead as they lie in their tombs, and more especially in churches, w here it is presented to us either carved on the walls or painted in the windows. Everywhere in Europe and now in the United States, where ecclesiasticsi architecture is beginning at length to find a development of taste, is this old Eastern talisman to be found doing its work as a Christian emblem. The spirit of the old talismanic faith is gone, but the form remains, to be nourished by us as the natural homage of the present to the past.
Among the old Cabalistic Hebrews, the Seal of Solomon was, as a talisman, of course deemed to be a sure preventive against the danger of fire. The more modern Jews, still believing in its talismanic virtues placed it as a safeguard on their houses and on other buildings, because they were especially liable to the danger of fire. The common people, seeing this figure affixed always to brew-houses, mistook it for a sign, and in time, in Upper Germany, the hexagon, or Seal of Solomon, was adopted by German innkeepers as the sign of a beer house, just as the ehequers have been adopted in England, though with a different history, as the sign of a tavern (see Magic Squares).
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