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5thDegreeEssay

5thDegreeEssay

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Published by fratersi
My 5th degree essay for the College of the Consistory.
My 5th degree essay for the College of the Consistory.

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Published by: fratersi on Jul 14, 2011
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03/07/2013

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A Comparison of the Characters of KingSolomon & King Hiram in the 5° of the Scottish Rite
It is the purpose of this paper to compare the characters of King Solomon and King Hiram asthey appear within the 5° Ritual of the Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite known as 'Perfect Master'--notas they may have been in reality (even if one could prove not only that both existed but that they wereon friendly terms, etc.), but as to the
lesson
the characters impart, which is of more importance than anyhistorical aspects or lack thereof.These two rulers are depicted as close friends, the remaining two of a triad of which HiramAbiff was the third partner—at the time of this ceremony deceased. While coming from differentcountries, having different native languages, what they have in common is more important. They have both lost a loved one. They are both rulers of entire nations. They have both struggled to build theTemple of Solomon, and have seen the treachery of man in the form of the murder of their dear friend.In spite of the superficial differences of these men, they have more in common than not. Yet they areunified in the sense that they are men who have put aside the superficial differences, both religious and political, in order to meet together on the level to mourn the loss of their friend.Although they have all these differences these men are excellent examples of how men socompletely different can yet feel one another to be brethren. We all remember hearing on our initiationPsalm 133: “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for the brethren to dwell together in unity! It islike the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down to the beard, even Aaron's beard, that wentdown to the skirts of his garments. As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon themountains of Zion; for there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life forever more.”
1
Freemasonry provides a context in which men of different religions, political ideas, and financial statuses may“dwell together in unity”, may truly be “on the level” with one another, and the characters of this ritualexemplify this quite clearly to the attentive candidate.But that is only one of the lessons of this degree. Life is fleeting. Even as I am typing this Imight die, and we must always keep this in mind, keeping every moment that passes dear in our heartsas a non-renewable resource; gold dust that flows through our fingers and is lost. In previous times thecandidate was required to make out his Last Will and Testament in order to reinforce our fragile, precious existence.Green is the primary color of this degree, and represents not only the evergreen acacia, whichseems to die and be born again, but also represents the renewal of virtue. Now our word 'virtue' is fromthe Latin 'virtus', which means, besides our own definition of the word, “manliness, manlyexcellence”
2
.This added definition of the word adds even more meaning to the “renewal” previouslymentioned: Masonic symbolism is overwhelmingly Solar in its essence, and just as the Sun, from our  point of view, dies and is reborn again so is, not only this 'virtue', but Mankind as a whole in the
 petitemorte
of Union.Among the lessons of this degree are to live such a life that nothing is left behind us to regret
1“Brock's Manual of Masonic Lectures”, Georgia Edition, by D.R. Brock (Buck Creek Lodge No. 639 F&AM, 2003)2“Cassell's New Latin Dictionary” by D.P. Simpson (Funk & Wagnall's, 1959) under entry 'virtus'
 
when Death finally overtakes us. During our life we should ever be ready for we know not when Deathshall overtake us, nor how, but when it does we should be ready, and face Him with the confidence of alife well lived.What is better: To live a long and bright life, after having left a comrade to the wolves as ayouth, or to die in his or her defense and in so doing, know that even among the living a type of immortality will be accorded you far beyond what you could ever have achieved otherwise? In everywar throughout history there have been instances of both; only the actors know for sure what fruit their actions bore.As I wrote above, Death is not the worst that can befall a man: A lifetime of shame being onlyone possible outcome. We may fear pain and death, but to quote an old writing, “Thou then, that hasttrials and troubles, rejoice because of them, for in them is Strength, and by their means is a pathwayopened unto that Light.”
3
Another very important lesson of this degree is that we should be quick to forgive our Masonic brethren, as true brothers would. Squabbles and disagreements may occur in the precincts of theLodge, but they should be left there, for peace and harmony are the strength of all well-run institutions,most especially this brotherhood of ours! Arguments and strife will but weaken us in the long run.There is another analogy for Christian brethren that some might find of interest: Our GrandMaster Hiram Abiff received three blows (analogous to the three wounds of Jesus upon the Cross:Thorns, nails, and a spear...though this leaves out the scourging). Hiram Abiff was Raised again, and inthis degree is shown that they had an annual ceremony in memory of their slain and risen Master, justas the Christians do on December 25
th
of each year, but his Rebirth is celebrated on 'Easter', which isalways near to the beginning of Spring, the entry of the Sun into Aries and the beginning of the year, aswell as the rebirth of Nature Herself. Admittedly, these analogies are tenuous, but are not entirelywithout interest.I feel that this essay has covered much territory, too much in some ways to compress into alinear format. However, I feel that the most important lesson of all is that King Solomon and KingHiram of Tyre, while completely different in so many ways, can yet put aside those differences and benot only Brethren of necessity but dear friends. My brethren, this is a wonderful lesson to us all, andshould be pondered long and hard by us all!As a student in elementary school we were asked to read a poem before the class, a poem of our own choosing. I chose “Because I Could Stop for Death” by Emily Dickinson, and to this dayremember the poem, though not word-for-word...but I think that the general sentiment of the poem, theatmosphere of it, is very apropos to the Masonic degree in question:
Because I could not stop for Death,He kindly stopped for me;The carriage held but just ourselvesAnd Immortality.We slowly drove, he knew no haste,And I had put awayMy labour, and my leisure too,
3
 Liber Librae,
in “Gems from the Equinox” by A. Crowley, ed. Israel Regardie (New Falcon Pub., 1992)

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