Illustration: Stereopticon slide showing the symbolic aspects of the very first Degree, representing freedom, fervency, and enthusiasm. (Iowa Masonic Library, Cedar plank Rapids, Iowa)
In the finish from the Joined Apprentice Degree, when some lengthy-time siblings have dozed off and also the candidate thinks his mind will explode when the lecture continues considerably longer, there's a brief final portion of material that appears unconnected towards the relaxation from the degree. Coming after a lot more memorable discourses on benefits, lodge structure and history, as well as an explanation from the degree experience, what's the reason for this little bit of material?
You will find three areas of this passage, one enumerating three mineral substances, one giving their symbolic meaning, and something explaining how individuals symbolic meanings be a consequence of the minerals. Three elements—three meanings—three parts, the amount three is located everywhere in Masonry.
The passage under consideration has a lot more meaning than basically to stress the amount three, however. Consider, for instance, the colour from the elements. The very first is pure whitened, the 2nd is among the blackest substances known, as the third is frequently grey, although you will find other colors. The very first two should help remind us from the earlier indication of the variety pavement, which portrayed existence as checkered with higher and evil, symbolized by black and whitened tiles. But at this time within the lecture, the greater profound lesson is trained the world we reside in and on—our “mother earth”—is neither black nor whitened, but grey. Grey represents the moral options we will probably confront will not be so easily made the decision as though these were clearly black or whitened. Furthermore, its connection to the 3rd element, that is stated to become constantly useful for our use, shows us these moral options and problems are continually before us. This will prepare the recently joined Mason to get the philosophical instruction arriving the following levels that can help him in solving these challenges.
Some authors have strongly asserted the influence of alchemy on Freemasonry’s meaning and ritual certain substances (salt, sulfur, and mercury) utilized in alchemy were, in certain European areas, put into the chamber of reflection (together with anything else) for that candidate to look at just before his reception in to the Lodge to get the Joined Apprentice Degree. Most Masons today will think about alchemy as oriented round the four aspects of earth, air, fire, and water, a minimum of a couple of which aren't especially identifiable within the passage being considered here. However, the Magnum Opus of alchemy, allegedly the way the Philosopher’s Stone may be produced, contemplates three stages from the endeavor—blackening, whitening, and reddening.
The 3rd in our elements, that has been referred to as grey above, can also be found red-colored colored. Look around the role of alchemy further must, however, remain for an additional time.
Moving onto the mentioned meaning connected with service, we discover both fervency and enthusiasm. But they are these not so very similar? Our new Joined Apprentice will need to watch for his instruction in grammar and rhetoric before he's, hypothetically a minimum of, prepared to cope with such fine distinctions. From the perspective later within the degree sequence, however, we have seen by consideration that fervency is really a sign of belief or thought, whereas enthusiasm is much more correlated with action, or at best a readiness to do something. A job of fervency towards the black element is really a indication that fervently held values might be an indication of the closed mind, which fervency dances around the fringe of fanaticism.
The smelting of the very most refractory metals may make reference to the constructive procedure for removing them using their ores, but fire is another destructive pressure, frequently ever the weapon of preference for that “ruthless hands of lack of knowledge.” When Babylon mastered Judah and razed the Temple of Solomon, the town gates were burnt with fire to ensure that Jerusalem could no more be considered a secure home.
Enthusiasm, being action-oriented, is attached to the grey element, in which the grey color shows that actions have effects, including unintentional and unforeseen ones. That which was intended to be advantageous might not come out this way whatsoever. Within this context, we discover why these instructions work towards the Joined Apprentice Degree and therefore are associated with plan to an expert. The master’s role would be to direct the fervent efforts from the apprentice to ensure that he doesn't go down the wrong path.