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BRO. WILLIAM RODEN, M.D., D. P. G. M. & W. M.
AUGUSTUS TILDEN, P. G. SUP. W. & S. W.
P. P. G. R. & P. M.
P. G. S. & S. D.
P. G. S. & STEWARD,
Of the Royal Standard Lodge, Kidderminster.
MY DEAR BRETHREN,
It was a saying nearly two thousand years ago,
quod mediocrum est Promittunt medici, tractant fabrilia fabri.
I consider my tools to be the symbols of Freemasonry. I have served a long, although I must confess, an agreeable apprenticeship to learn their use and application; and if they read a solemn lesson to man, that the effects of a good and useful life will be a happy reward in the regions of light and glory, their study cannot be reprehensible, or interfere, in the slightest degree, with the moral or religious duties of a Christian.
I have taken the liberty of dedicating the following lecture on the application of the Cloudy Canopy to you, my beloved brethren and associates in the holy cause of Masonry. It points to the most sacred things, and embodies the glory of that Divine Personage whose fiat created the world. When Moses came down from Mount Sinai, which was the temporary summit of the ladder of Jacob, or the gate of heaven, his face shone with such splendour of Light that the Israelites could not steadily look upon him, and he threw over it a veil before he ventured to address the people. Hence in Christian symbolism, the Mosaic dispensation is figured as a female whose eyes are covered with a bandage; and is thus sculptured in the door of the Chapter House at Rochester. By communion with Jehovah, the great lawgiver had acquired a portion of the light of God's countenance ; so in the prayers and means of grace under a better dispensation, a new light is kindled in our souls, as the two disciples, when conversing with Christ, felt their hearts burn within them like fire.
This result was symbolized by the descent of the divine Comforter at Pentecost, which was not in a fire attended by the darkness of a cloud, as in the case of the Israelites in the wilderness; but in a bright flame resting on each of the Apostles, and ascending, like so many pyramids divided at the apex into two or more tongues of fire; because the doctrines of revelation became clearer as the designs of Providence were more fully developed. The cloud was a symbol of the Law; but the fire is an emblem of the Gospel. In the former case the nimbus was attached to the head of Moses only; but in the latter it was common to all who were present in the Temple, although in other respects the appearances corresponded with each other. In the former was thunder; in the latter the noise of a mighty wind. There the people saw a flame, and here fiery cloven tongues; there the mountain trembled, and here the place where they were gathered together was moved. The Jews heard the sound of a trumpet, but the Christians were more highly favoured; for they were endowed with the power of speaking all languages.
These celestial manifestations were but a repetition of the appearance of TGAOTU, who always displayed his
glory in fire and light; and will come, in like manner, at the last day to judge the quick and dead. May every Free and Accepted Mason be prepared to meet him with confidence and joy. With grateful and fraternal respects,
Believe me to be,
My dear Brethren,
GEO. OLIVER, D.D.,
March 1, 1850
Lecture the Centh.
Application of the Cloudy Canopy and its attendant Symbols
at the summit of the Ladder to Freemasonry.
“ The Mason views yon glittering orbs on high,
eye sheds pity's dew, his hand is near
MASONIC PROLOGUE, 1775.
“ A Hall she sees standing,
Than the Sun fairer,
In all the transactions of the present world, activity is excited by the hope or prospect of some useful advantage as the reward of our toil. This observation was never more strikingly verified than in the rage which is so universally displayed at the present day for investigations in search of gold amidst the wild regions of California. Whatever we may be induced to undertake, success is the object of our ambition; and the disgrace of a failure is so much dreaded, that we strive to the utmost of our ability to prevent it. No exertion is spared which may contribute to that end. It will follow, then, that if this principle of action is strong enough to enable a person to surmount all the obstacles which may impede
his attainment of worldly benefits; it may be applied with an equally reasonable prospect of success to the business
of Freemasonry, and to the climbing of the Theological Ladder which leads to the Grand Lodge above. And the reward promised to such exertions is this ;—“to him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me on my Throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my
Father on his Throne.” Or in other words, those who are faithful and constant in the discharge of their several duties, shall occupy a conspicuous situation in the Cloudy Canopy that crowns the summit of the Ladder; and be rewarded with everlasting honour and glory.
On this account it is that the practice of moral virtue is strongly recommended in the system of Freemasonry, as one of the requisites to make our course successful; where Faith produces Hope, and Hope leads to Charity. For this purpose a symbolical armour is provided, and described in the Book which constitutes one of the Great Lights of Masonry, as an antidote and protection against the wiles of the devil. Whence the true Mason will see the necessity of fighting the good fight of Faith, if he be desirous of the reward. And to show the comforts of such a course, he has the example of an inspired Apostle of Jesus Christ, who assures him that having fought that good fight by keeping the Faith, he is certain of receiving, as the recompense of his labours, a peaceable crown of righteousness.
But there is another example of still greater importance to the Christian Mason to incite him to the habitual practice of the Theological and Cardinal virtues, that he may have a claim to the same crown—that of the Saviour of mankind; and he not only directs him what to do to obtain it, but also promises that if he shall succeed in overcoming the temptations of the devil, he will give him a WHITE STONE, and in the Stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.
In the catalogue of virtues which Freemasonry enjoins upon her members as essential to the observance of every brother who is desirous of attaining the summit of the Ladder, the most prominent is a steadfast belief in God
Eph. iv., 11.
31 Tim. vi., 12.