It must be remembered that Masonry was not invented; it grew and, likewise, its interpretations grew with the birth of adepts through the centuries. However, Masonry as we know it began in England and this view seems to have been generally adopted. In many respects, however, it is a reconstruction of the Secret Doctrine, a philosophy common to Indians, Egyptians, Chaldeans and Hebrews. Thus we are not entitled to say one interpretation is right and another wrong, both may be right. Hundreds of papers and books have been written on the Third Degree. What is presented here is only a fraction of the information available but it is hoped it will serve to stimulate the brethren to develop their own interpretations. Those of us who value the inner meaning of Masonry owe a debt to many unknown brethren and part of the duty imposed on us is that we shall not hastily tamper with the ritual just because we do not understand the significance of a phrase or think that by revising it we can make the wording run more smoothly. However, since Masonry is old, it must be remembered that its rituals in the course of years have been revised and continually grafted on to the old stock; just as Christianity has taken over a vast mass of preChristian ceremonies and symbols, the student of Masonry is perfectly entitled to consider that the Christian and the preChristian interpretations of these symbols are equally deserving of respect. The persistent questioning of every inquiring mind demands answers to the questions: What am I?
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The Meaning of Masonry , by W. Wilmshurst, , at sacred-texts. Members of the Order are gradually, and here and there, becoming alive to the fact that much more than meets the eye and ear lies beneath the surface of Masonic doctrine and symbols. They are beginning to think for themselves instead of taking the face-value of things for granted, and, as their thought develops, facts that previously remained unperceived assume prominence and significance. They discern the Masonic system to be something deeper than a code of elementary morality such as all men are expected to observe whether formally Masons or not. They reflect that the phenomenal growth of the Craft is scarcely accountable for upon the supposition that modern speculative Masonry perpetuates nothing more than the private associations that once existed in connection with the operative builders' trade. They recognize that there can be no peculiar virtue or interest in continuing to imitate the customs of ancient trade-guilds for the mere sake of so doing; or of keeping on foot a costly organization for teaching men the elementary symbolism of a few building tools, supplemented by a considerable amount of social conviviality. Upon a little thought it becomes pretty obvious that our Third Degree and the great central legend that forms the climax of the Craft system cannot have, and can never have had, any direct or practical bearing upon, or connection with, the trade of the. It may be urged that we have our great charity system and that the social side of our proceedings is a valuable and humanizing asset. Granted, but other people and other societies are philanthropic and social as well as we; and a secret society is not necessary to promote such ends, which are merely supplemental to the original purpose of the Order.
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Then there is the authoritative statement that Masonry rests on three degrees reflecting the triple duty of a Mason, i. These of course constitute an epitome of the teachings of Theosophy. There follows a description of the third degree rite, as far as the resurrection from the coffin. Perhaps the whole doctrine of Devachan and some of the information given in the Mahatma Letters was some of the information which was given to us in The Secret Doctrine as never having been made public before. Other extracts in this Section indicate much teaching by symbol and number, e. Geometrical figures also evinced these numbers in triangles, squares and cubes. In the Secret Doctrine these are related to the principles of man and the Cosmic Planes, with more explanations not made public before.