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children of the same Parent, governed by the same laws, and partners in the same beneficent institutions.
I should, indeed, be insensible to all good and holy feeling, were I to remain unimpressed with the most lively sensations of gratitude to you, my brethren, for your kindness in associating my name with your own, in connection with a lodge, from the existence of which so many beneficial results may be expected to ensue.
The flattering manner in which the honour was conferred merits my warmest thanks. Proposed in full lodge by the Provincial Grand Master, Dr. Burnes, whom a great authority truly denominates the far-shining beacon of the Order in India ;” carried by acclamation; and conveyed to me by a distinguished native brother, Manackjee Curtsejee, Esq., in highly complimentary terms; it was ultimately confirmed by a formal diploma, transmitted by the same hand in the following year.
Under these circumstances, a Lecture on the Blazing Star may with great propriety be addressed to the brethren of the Rising Star of Western India, not only as a public expression of gratitude, but also as a tribute of friendship, and a small though inadequate return for the distinguished favours I have received at the hands of so respectable and intelligent a body of men. As the heliacal rising of the canicular Star caused all the inhabitants of Egypt to rejoice in its appearance, as a prelude to those prolific inundations which were a blessing to the land, so may the population of Western India rejoice in the existence of their Rising Star, as the harbinger of moral benefits, more valuable than the produce which the Egyptians derived from the overflowing of their sacred river.
May its glory increase with every succeeding year; and its usefulness exceed the most sanguine anticipations of him who has the honour to subscribe himself,
W. Sir, and dear Brethren,
GEO. OLIVER, D.D.,
April 1, 1850.
Lecture the Eleuenth.
Enquiry into the true Masonic reference of the Blazing Star.
“ A Star, in the hieroglyphical system of the pagan onei ro-critics, denoted a god; and this sense the word doubtless acquired from the universally established doctrine of the Gentiles, that each Star was animated by the soul of a hero-god, who had dwelt incarnate upon earth as a descent or avatar of the creative divinity. Balaam, beholding with open eyes the very person who had appeared to him as the anthropomorphic Angel of Jehovah, and from whom he specially received the communications which he was to make to Balak; beholding (I say) with open eyes this person, as the future victorious offspring of Jacob, he was naturally led, from a full knowledge of his divine character, to describe him prophetically by an hieroglyphic which denoted a God. The Star, therefore, foretold by Balaam, is the Lawgiver foretold by Jacob. But the Lawgiver foretold by Jacob is the Man Jehovah. Therefore, the Star foretold by Balaam, is the Man Jehovah also."
FABER. “I have seen a Blazing Star, or the Shekinah, each of whose beams contained one of the Sacred Names; inclosing the letter G within a circle, and also an equilateral triangle, under which was placed the Ark of the Covenant. The circle denoted is eternity, because it is without beginning and without end; the triangle signified the Blazing Star, the light of Providence pointing out the way of Truth; and the letter G, glory, grandeur, and gomel; all referring to the divine Name and perfections."
LECTURE OF THE DEGREE OF SECRET MASTER. It is a remarkable fact, and shows how careful the Deity has always been to preserve a strict uniformity in all his gracious revelations to his creatures, that in every covenant which he condescended to make with man, he always manifested himself by the Star-like appearance of a celestial fire, as a symbol of purity and truth. The Covenant with Adam was made by the Shekinah, or Sacred Fire, in which a deliverer was promised, whose appearance was to be announced by a similar phenomenon. It was Jehovah Elohim, translated the Lord God,
“the brightness of the Father's glory, and express image of his person,”! who appeared in this holy cloud of Light to converse with Adam; and what is denominated by Moses "a flaming sword,” when the guilty pair were expelled, was also a vision of the pointed flame which denoted the presence of the Deity, and was repeated to Moses at the Burning Bush, and to the Apostles of Christ at Pentecost.
When the Covenant was renewed with Noah, a similar celestial appearance was manifested in a brilliant semicircle of light charged with prismatic colours ; and hence we are told that, when the Jews see the rainbow, they offer up their prayers to God as being faithful to his promise. The heathen had also a tradition of the same nature; whence they believed the rainbow to be a symbol of comfort to mankind. The Greeks denominated it the daughter of Wonder, and a sign to mortal man; and its appearance was considered as a messenger of the gods.
To Abraham, the father of the faithful, the Covenant was again repeated, Jehovah appearing like a splendid and bright fire in the midst of clouds; and at the sacrifice of Isaac on Mount Moriah, when it pleased him to substitute a more agreeable victim, the glory of God broke forth from behind a cloudy canopy like a Blazing Star, and forbade the offering, promising to renew the covenant of blessing, as the reward of his prompt and willing obedience.
In like manner Jehovah appeared to Moses in the Bush, as a flaming fire burning with mild radiance but not consuming; like the divine nature of Christ, symbolized by fire, which burned in his material body, symbolized by the Bush, without injuring the frail substance of his human nature. And a still more signal manifestation was made to Moses on the Mount, when he was permitted to see the hinder part of the glory of God, the forepart being of such exceeding brightness that no man can behold it and live; and therefore, on this occasion, the dazzling lustre of the divine presence was graciously veiled by “a covering cloud."
These remarkable circumstances attending the ap
pearance of TGAOTU to his favoured creatures, will, in some measure, account for the symbol of a Blazing Star being placed in the centre of our lodges; for it would scarcely have had such a conspicuous situation assigned to it by our ancient brethren, if it had not possessed some very sublime reference. In a primitive Trestle Board of Masonry, the Blazing Star represented BEAUTY, and was called “the glory in the centre," being placed exactly in the middle of the Floor Cloth. In correspondence with this allegorical arrangement, the two pillars of the Porch were symbols of Wisdom and STRENGTH. An alteration was subsequently made by Bro. Dunckerley, under the sanction of the Grand Lodge, by which these three qualities, so necessary to the perfection of any magnificent structure, were assigned to the three chief supporters or pillars of the lodge.
The primitive Blazing Star of Masonry had five points. This was a proper representation of Beauty, as displayed in “ a building not made with hands,” according to the practice of ancient art, in sculpture, painting, and Mosaics. Lord Lindsay, speaking of a Mosaic of S. Clemente at Rome, executed A. D. 1112, describes it as “a most elaborate and beautiful performance, yielding to none in minuteness of detail and delicacy of sentiment, by a resuscitation of the symbolism of early Christianity, and therefore meriting the most attentive examination. The centre of the composition is occupied by the Tree of Life, the Cross, elevated on the Mount of Paradise and the Church, and reaching to a series of five concentric rainbow-like semicircles, signifying Heaven, from which the hand of God issues, veiled in clouds, holding a crown of victory, and also two cords with a heart attached to each, allusive possibly to Hosea xi., 4, or Psalm cxviii., 27. To the right and left, within the circle, stands the Paschal Lamb with a glory and other ornaments, all having a tendency to the cross form.''5
The five points therefore in the masonic Blazing Star are in strict accordance with the primitive symbolization of Christian Masons. And as an exposition of the same principle, the Blazing Star, in one of the ineffable degrees of Masonry, is made to consist of five points, like a royal crown, in the centre of which appears the initial letter of the Sacred Name. They refer to the five equal lights of Masonry, viz., the Bible, Square, Compasses, Key, and Triangle; and as the Blazing Star is said to enlighten the physical, so the five equal points should enlighten the moral condition of a Master in Israel. They denote the five orders of architecture; the five points of fellowship; the five senses, which constitute the physical perfection of man; and the five zones of the world, all of which are peopled with initiated brothers.
4 See Hist. Landmarks, vol. i., p. 133. 5 Christian Art, vol., i. p. 119.
In symbolical Masonry the Blazing Star is considered to be an emblem of Prudence; and our Lectures say: "the Blazing Star, or glory in the centre, refers us to that grand luminary the Sun, which enlightens the earth, and by its genial influence dispenses blessings to mankind. This definition is retained in our present mode of working, with some slight verbal alterations. I entertain considerable doubts of its correctness, for the following reasons :
First, because the Sun constitutes one of our legitimate emblems, and therefore its symbol is superfluous. Secondly, because the Sun was substituted for the Supreme God, and became in that character the great object of worship to all heathen antiquity; as is fully proved by Macrobius, who takes great pains to show that Saturn and Jupiter, Apollo, Mars, and Mercury, with a whole host of other deities, were nothing else but the Sun. And the Egyptians assigned, as one great reason for his worship, that his heat and kindly influence brought their favourite garden gods to maturity. This was also the reason why the Stoics interpreted the genitalia abscissa of Saturn to mean the same luminary. And the Sun was so universally worshipped in the time of Julius Cæsar, that some nations who were ignorant of the Roman deities, paid their sole adoration to that idol ; for he tells us in his Commentaries, that the Germans wor"shipped no other gods but those visible intelligences which they believed to be interested in their behalf, viz., the Sun, Moon, and Fire.