If the first degree is intended as a representation of youth, and the second of manhood, the third, or Master Mason, is emblematic of old age, with its trials, its sufferings, and its final termination of death. The time for toiling is now over; the opportunity to learn has passed away; the spiritual temple that we all have been striving to erect in our hearts is now nearly completed, and the wearied workman awaits only the word of the Grand Master of the Universe, to call him from the labors of earth to the eternal refreshment of heaven. Hence, this is by far the most solemn and impressive of the degrees of Masonry; and it has, in consequence of the profound truths which it inculcates, been distinguished by the Craft as the Sublime Degree, As an Entered Apprentice, the Mason was taught those elementary instructions which were to fit him for further advancement in his profession, just as the youth is supplied with that rudimentary education which is to prepare him for entering upon the active duties of life; as a Fellow Craft, the Mason is directed to continue his investigation in the science of the institution, and to labor diligently in the tasks it prescribes, just as the man is required to enlarge his mind by the acquisition of new ideas, and to extend his usefulness to his fellow creatures; but, as a Master, the Mason is taught the last, the most important and the most necessary of truths, that having been faithful to all his trust, he is at last to die, and to receive the rewards of his fidelity.
It was the single object of all the ancient rites and mysteries practiced in the very bosom of pagan darkness, shining as a solitary beacon in all that surrounding gloom, and cheering the philosopher i n his weary pilgrimage of life, to teach the immortality of the soul. This is still the great design of the third degree of Masonry.
This is the scope and aim of its ritual. The Master Mason represents man, when youth, man-hood, old age, and life itself have passed away as fleeting shadows. yet raised from the grave of iniquity, and quickened into another and a better existence. By its legend and all its ritual, it is implied that we have been redeemed from the death of sin and the sepulchre of pollution.
Marcio Teixeira dos Santos M:.M:.
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