THE ALL-SEEING EYE
During the closing of the Lodge in some Fellowcraft ceremonies, the Worshipful Master states:
‘….let us remember that wherever we are and whatever we do, His all-seeing eye beholds us; …. Let us never fail to discharge our duties towards Him with fervency and zeal.’
Again, in the conferral of some Master Mason Degrees is included an explanation of the All- Seeing Eye and also to be noted is that a number of illustrations of Masonic certificates issued to members of the Craft have been reproduced, some of these certificates, going back as far as 1795 show the All-Seeing Eye located at or near the top of the certificate.
In Egypt and India early man made the eye a symbol of God, and has been observed painted on the roof over he figure of Shiva inside a temple at Benares, India, dated around 8 AD. It is considered by all as an important symbol of the Supreme Being, borrowed from the nations of antiquity. Hebrews and Egyptians appear to have derived its use from the natural inclination of figurative minds to select an organ as the symbol of the function which it is intended peculiarly to discharge. The eye was selected as the symbol of watchfulness and the care of the universe. It may be considered as a symbol of God manifested in his omnipresence – his guarding and preserving character – to which Solomon alludes [in Chapter 15:3] in the Book of Proverbs, where he said: ‘The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.’
It was given prominence in the Kabilarian philosophy; known and introduced by Alchemists [Rosicrucianism]; and the concept goes back to !Duripides of the 5th. century BC..
ITS MEANING IN FREEMASONRY
The All-Seeing Eye has been explained as that whom the Sun, Moon and Stars obey, and under whose watchful care even comets perform their stupendous revolutions, beyond the inmost recesses of the human heart, and will reward us according to our works. The emblem shows that we live and move and have our being in the Most High; that we are constantly in His Presence, wherever or whatever we are doing, for it is the representation of God. The omnipresence and watchfulness of the Great Architect of the Universe is ever scrutinizing our thoughts and words, our spirit and actions; and one day we shall have to face his record of our life and conduct and give an account of our doings. It is the symbol of Deity, and, by analogy, of His powers most important to man; love, justice and mercy.
ITS SIGNIFICANCE IN FREEMASONRY
It is considered the most important of the symbols in the Fellow Craft Degree and is found in the Middle Chamber. It is the letter “G” which is, in some versions, replaced by the symbol of the ‘All-Seeing Eye.’ It conveys the idea that one’s actions are observed and recorded with the inevitable consequence for good or ill. It is the symbol exhorting us to obedience, rectitude and fidelity, which together form a triad. The grand object of our mysteries is to place Him in the true centre of our Craft. During the Fellowcraft Degree we are led to contemplate on the intellectual faculties, trace them through the paths of heavenly science, even to the throne of God Himself. This Sacred Symbol, rather than the Blazing Star alludes to God where we approach the ‘hidden mystery’ of nature and science.
In the Master Masons’ Degree we are taught to regard God as the source of moral perfection. We are confronted with certain aspects of the divine nature which moral eye cannot see. We must never fail to discharge our duties toward the Grand Overseer with fervency and zeal. The All-Seeing Eye reminds us of that superintending Providence which….pervades the recesses of the heart and knows our inmost thoughts. It is the eye which sees all, but is itself unseen.
When one views the Great Seal of the United States of America, the same being finalized in 1782, it has, (on its reverse side), a pyramid signifying strength and duration together with the All-Seeing Eye over it and a motto. This partially completed pyramid with the Eye in a triangle is shown on all that country’s one dollar bills. It is most interesting to realize the proposal for the use of the seal included the All-Seeing Eye, came from Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams, all of whom were Freemasons.
The great Scottish Poet, Robert Burns, wrote in his letter of farewell to the Brethren of Saint James Lodge in Tarbolton, Scotland. The poem entitled
‘The Farewell” reads in part:
Oft have I met hour social band,
And spent the cheerful, festive night;
Oft, honour’d with supreme command,
Presided o’er the sons of light:
And by that hieroglyphid bright,
Which none but Craftsmen ever saw!
Strong Mem’ry on my heart shall write.
Those happy scenes, when far awa.
May Freedom, Harmony, and Love,
Unite you in the grand Design,
Beneath th’ Omniscient Eye above,
The glorious Architect Divine,
That you may keep th’ unerring line,
Still rising by the plummet’s law,
Till Order bright completely shine,
Shall be my pray’r when far awa.22
D.R.Brock of Buck Creek Lodge No.639, F.& A.M., and a member of the Grand Lodge of Georgia gives us the following poem:
There is an Eye through darkest night, a
vigil ever keeps,
A vision of unerring light, o’er lonely dale,
The Eye that never sleeps.
Midst poverty and sickness lain the out-
cast lowly weeps;
What marks the face convulsed with pain?
What marks the pleasant look again?
The Eye that never sleeps.
Then rest we calm, though round our heads
the life storms fiercely sweep;
What fear is in the blast, what dread in
mightier death? An eye o’er head
The Eye that never sleeps.23
So often, in our ceremonies, things are said, happenings occur & too often they simply pass by without any real explanation given. It is my hope, that by sharing papers, such as this one, that the reader will better understand and appreciate this small portion. Very simple, yet very beautiful & significant.
Have a wonderful Day & God Bless