Friday, March 9
A Secret Freemasons View Of Old Age And Death
It's interesting that in the Freemason's third degree they refer to the Book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible. The most relevant parts being the end of Chapter 11 and Chapter 12.
These Chapters give advise and a description of our lives, the way we age, plus a hint that there may be something after death.
Ecclesiastes 11, Chapter 11, verses 9 and 10 gives us an introduction: "Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of your youth, and walk in ways of thine heart, and in sight of thine eyes: but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgement. Therefore remove sorrow from they heart, and put away evil from thy flesh: for childhood and youth are vanity."
In other words enjoy your youth but remember that you are still answerable to God for your actions ... and old age will follow.
Ecclesiastes Chapter 12 - with a Freemason's interpretation: "Remember now thy Creator in the days of your youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them" (here is a reminder that our days are three score and ten and, if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow).
"While the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened" (youth lives in the sunlight, and even at night the moon and the stars give lumination; but these blessings are not forever; darkness comes to the elderly), "nor the clouds return after the rain." (youth is a time of refreshing showers, but as one grows older the clouds gather).
Ecclesiastes continues with strong imagery. "In the days when the keepers of the house shall tremble" (the hands and arms shake), "and the strong men bow themselves" (the back and legs become bent), "and the grinders cease because there are few" (with age the teeth fall out), "and those that look out of the windows be darkened." (the eyesight fails).
"And the doors shall be shut in the streets, when sound of the grinding is low" (with old age comes loss of hearing, and the outside world becomes cut off), "and he shall rise up at the voice of a bird" (the old man wakens with the birds) "and all the daughters of music shall be brought low." (the quavering voice will be without tune).
"Also when they shall be afraid of what is high" (heights are terrifying), "and fears shall be in the way" (walking in the street is terrifying), "and the almond tree shall flourish" (their hair becomes as white as almond blossoms), " and the grasshopper shall be a burden" ( the withered old man drags himself along), "and desire shall fail" (he has no appetite): "because man goeth to his long home" (death is near), "and the mourners go about the streets." (the professional mourners stand around waiting to be hired).
"Or ever the silver cord be loosed" (before the cord of life snaps), "or the bowl be broken" (before the cup of life becomes cracked and the contents drain away), "or the pitcher be broken at the fountain" (death comes to some in the midst of their work), "or the wheel broken at the cistern." (man is a fragile mechanism which falls into disuse).
All in all a pretty gloomy picture this paints of the ageing process. Though it does end with, "Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was" (earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust): "and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it." (the spirit of man returns to his long home to be with his Creator).
I'm pleased that the Freemasons seem to be saying that there is an afterlife (which is also what I believe) but their description of ageing doesn't have to be. And this is what I consider to be one of the problems with man having such a short life: we are programmed, and therefore believe that certain things happen at specific ages. It's the acceptance of this misinformation that we have to overcome. It will probably take a few generations to do this but we will do so eventually. Already we read about how 60 is the new 40 and other positive statements.
One day we will learn to live to the length of time required to achieve our full potential.
The above interpretation, together with Freemasons: The Solemn Obligation Of A Master Mason were taken from secret Freemason manuscripts.