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were, it would not deceive us nor should we suffer deception. In going round this circle, we must necessarily touch on both those parallel lines as well as on the Sacred Volume; and while a mason keeps himself thus circumscribed, he cannot seriously err from the path of duty.
12. One other interpretation remains to be noticed. The point is supposed to symbolize an individual mason circumscribed by the circle of virtue ; while the two perpendicular parallel lines by which the circumference is bounded and supported, are the representatives of Faith and PRACTICE. This is the definition. The point represents an individual brother, and the circle is the boundary line of his duty to God and man; beyond which he ought never to suffer his passions, prejudices, or interests to betray him. The two parallel lines represent St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist, who were perfect parallels in Christianity as well as in masonry; and upon the vertex rests the Holy Bible, which points out the whole duty of man. In a progress round this circle, the two lines and the Bible restrict us to a certain path, and if this path be steadily persevered in, it will enable us to mount the ladder, through the gates of Faith, Hope, and Charity; and finally to take our seat in the blessed regions of immortality.
In the lectures which are still delivered in our old provincial lodges, the following illustration is used. From the building of the first Temple at Jerusalem to the Babylonish captivity, the lodges of Freemasons were dedicated to King Solomon; having from the deliverance out of Egypt to the first named period been dedicated to Moses. From the building of the second Temple to the advent of Christ, they were dedicated to Zerubbabel; and from that time to the final destruction of the Temple by Titus, they were dedicated to St. John the Baptist. Owing to the calamities which were occasioned by that memorable occurrence, Freemasonry declined; many lodges were broken up and the brethren were afraid to meet without an acknowledged head. At length a secret meeting of the Craft was holden in the city of Benjamin; who deputed seven brethren to solicit" St. John the Evangelist, who was at that time bishop of Ephesus, to accept the office of Grand Master. He replied to the
deputation, that having been initiated into masonry in his youth, he would cheerfully acquiesce in their request, although now well stricken in years; thus completing by his learning what St. John the Baptist had begun by his zeal; and drawing what Freemasons call a line parallel ; ever since which, the Lodges in all Christian countries are, or ought to be, dedicated to the two St. Johns.
These various conjectures, like "a cluster of pomegranates with pleasant fruits,” which have been the produce of different periods and phases of the Order, are all ingenious if they be not orthodox. Like the fat kine of Pharoah, they equally display a beneficial nurture, and point out its moral and religious tendency. Here is no overstraining of facts, no unnatural antagonism, to serve the purpose of some wild or untenable theory; but every interpretation is alike consonant with the deductions of reason, without being at variance with revelation, or contrary to the established laws of Nature. Each, like the growth of the acacia, has budded in its spring, flourished its brief period of summer, and shed its leaves in autumn, to make room for its successor; which has pursued a parallel course ; and the following lecture will be devoted to a consideration of which is the most eligible interpretation in consonance with the general principles on which Freemasonry has been founded.
Of the St. Peter's Lodge, Wolverhampton, No. 607.
MY DEAR BRETHREN AND FRIENDS
The consciousness that you still retain a lively recollection of my presence amongst you, when a mutual interchange of affection and thought cemented an intercourse which commenced under circumstances of the greatest personal interest to myself; and was not only continued during the entire period of my residence as the Incumbent of the Collegiate Church, and the head of the Ecclesiastical Establishment in the town, but terminated in a public and spontaneous demonstration of the feelings that you were kind enough to entertain towards me during a series of trying events, cannot fail to excite in my bosom sensations of the most pleasurable nature, accompanied by a lively gratitude for the continuance of that friendship which sustained no diminution amidst the hostile denunciations of a clique of interested individuals who were leagued in an unnatural coalition to ruin my peace of mind at the least, if they should fail to accomplish a more destructive purpose.
During the arduous conflict, your sympathy consoled me,—your friendship animated me, and ultimately, your assistance procured for me a complete and unquestioned triumph. I have much pleasure in having this public opportunity of assuring you, that I entertain no unkindly feelings against those whose hostility was most bitter. Freemasonry has taught me a different lesson ; and I sincerely tender my unsolicited forgiveness to them, in Christian charity, with the same cordiality as I hope myself to be forgiven at the bar of judgment. The sole aim of my life has been to benefit my fellow creatures; and my principles are well embodied in the following lecture which I have the honour to dedicate to you.
If the two parallel lines by which the circle and point are flanked and supported, have, as I believe, a reference to faith and practice, they include forgiveness of injuries ; and I trust that my practice will always verify this valuable principle of masonic teaching; that when I meet my persecutors at the last great tribunal, I may salute them as friends with the grip of a Master Mason; and, by the five points of fellowship, unite with them in an indissoluble chain of sincere affection, which may continue unbroken throughout all eternity.
Believe me to be,
GEO. OLIVER, D.D.,
November 1, 1849.
Lecture the birth
Enquiry into the true meaning of the Circle and Parallel
“In regard to the doctrine of our Saviour, and the Christian revelation, it proceeded from the East. The Star which proclaimed the birth of the Son of God, appeared in the East. The East was an expression used by the prophets to denote the Redeemer. From thence it may well be conceived that we should profess our prayers to be from thence; if we profess, by being masons that we are a society of the servants of that Divinity whose abode is in the centre of the heavens."
" To Thee, whose temple is all space,
Whose altar, earth, sea, skies !
SO MANY reflections arise in the mind on a full consideration of this comprehensive symbol; like a majestic river augmented by the rich contributions of its tributary streams; and so various are the opinions which successive races of masons have entertained respecting its real interpretation, that we find it impossible to dismiss the subject without some brief statement of our own views on those particular points which have hitherto divided the fraternity. We need be under no surprise that interpretations of an abstruse symbol should vary by passing through different hands, because every one knows that in the most common transactions of life, accounts related by several eye-witnesses, however they may assimilate in facts, differ considerably in the details.
This is not a novel observation, for it is mentioned by Sir Walter Raleigh and many others, as constituting one