In preparing to write this paper, I have been giving much thought, and research, to the particular section of the Entered Apprentice Tracing Board which this paper is intended to clarify. I must admit I have heard the delivery of this section numerous times, however, it has always seemed difficult for me to totally understand.
In presenting my personal understanding I wish to begin by taking an excerpt from the Entered Apprentice Examination of Proficiency where the Brother is asked “ What is Freemasonry?” & he replies
” A peculiar system of MORALITY, veiled in allegory & illustrated by symbols”
Having peaked your interest let me now offer the Section itself
“In all regular, well-formed, constituted Lodges, there is a point within a circle round which the Brethren cannot err. This circle is bounded between North & South by two grand parallel lines, one representing Moses and the other King Solomon. On the upper part of this circle rests the Volume of the Sacred Law, supporting Jacob’s ladder. The top of which reaches to the Heavens; and were we conversant in that Holy Book, and as adherent to the doctrines therein contained as those parallels were, it would bring us to him who would not deceive us, neither will be suffer deception. In moving round this circle, we must necessarily touch on both of those parallel lines, likewise on the Sacred Volume; and while a Mason keeps himself thus circumscribed, he cannot err”
What does all this mean?.
To begin with, I believe it is a must that we attempt to understand the symbolism contained within the lecture from an Esoteric (hidden) perspective and lacking reference material dealing with this subject I have found myself searching for my own answers. I emphasize, these are my views only and I encourage all readers to search for their own understanding.
The Circle & the Point Within the Circle
From time immemorial the Circle has been seen as a defense against harm & evil and the central point within that circle has been seen to be the most secure and safest place to be located.
Two Grand Parallel Lines
The lecture clearly identifies these parallel lines to represent Moses & King Solomon.
It is my opinion that Moses is identified because it was he who God chose to deliver his laws to the Children of Israel and those Ten Commandments continue to represent a standard of morality to be emulated by all, Christian and Non Christian alike.
I am of the opinion that King Solomon is identified in light of the Biblical accounts of his reputation for Justice & the legendary Wisdom with which he ruled the Israelite Nation plus the regard with which he is held to in all our Masonic ritual & structure.
Volume of the Sacred Law
For the purpose of this lecture I believe the author(s) clearly are referring to the Old Testament, however, from a Masonic perspective the VOSL is specific and personal to each one of us.
Utilizing the understandings given above, I have concluded that this lecture is an admonition to all Brethren regarding their personal conduct through life, and their
A summation In my own words, would be something like this:-
“ If we were to live our lives within the laws provided by God and recorded in The Ten Commandments; exercise the principles, wisdom and leadership of King Solomon; and govern ourselves according to the teachings of the Volume of the Sacred Law, we could aspire to ascend the three rungs of Jacob’s ladder by the exercise of Faith Hope & Charity to arrive at that ethereal Mansion not made with hands eternal in the Heavens.”
Should there be any among you who see this differently, or wish to elaborate on this section of the Lecture I would dearly love to have your input for my own edification and sharing with others.
The Mason’s Portrait
Ye sons of fair science, impatient to learn
What’s meant in a Mason you here may discern;
He strengthens the weak, he gives light to the blind,
And the naked he clothes—is a friend to mankind.
He walks on the level of honour and truth,
And spurns the wild passions of folly and youth;
The compass and square all his frailties reprove,
And the ultimate object is Brotherly love.
The Temple of Knowledge he nobly doth raise,
Supported by Wisdom, and Learning its base;
When reared and adorned, Strength and Beauty unite,
And he views the fair structure with conscious delight.
With fortitude blessed, he’s a stranger to fears.
And Governed by Prudence, he cautiously steers;
Till Temperance shows him the port of Content,
And Justice, unmasked, gives the sign of content.
Inspired by his feelings, he bounty imparts,
For Charity ranges at large in our Hearts;
And an indigent Brother relieved from his woes.
Feels a pleasure inferior to him who bestows.
Thus a Mason I’ve drawn and exposed to your view;
And Truth must acknowledge the figure is true;
The Members become, let’s be brothers and friends;
There’s a secret remaining will make you amends.
Taken from Masonic Readings and Recitations by William Harvey, Dundee Scotland. 1920.