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From The Historian's Desk
Symbolism of the Third and Fourth Degrees

By Edith Schoell, State Historian

  NOVEMBER 2010 --

Continuing with Rev. Grosh’s ideas on the degrees...

Third Degree: 

“The Harvester’s Emblem of this degree is a sickle, the implement and sign of his employment; and a wheatband, ready for binding the sheaf, denoting the subject of his labors; the whole signifying that the good harvester is to reap, collect, and bind together all he can find of truth, goodness, and beauty, in the harvest-field of life, this theatre of God’s bounty.

“Another Emblem of this degree is a Heart in Halo, to signify the great virtue of this degree, an active, untiring, ever-glowing Charity, with the motto, “CHARITY NEVER FAILETH.”

“The Emblem of a Gleaner, in this degree, is a Hand grasping Flowers mingled with Wheat-heads; denoting the employment of gathering remnants and fragments of the beautiful and the good, which else had been allowed to go to waste, and the duty to seek out and bring to notice all that is bright and lovely, which else had been unnoticed and unknown.

“Another emblem of this degree is a Heart in halo, resting on a Crown of Thorns, with the motto, “CHARITY ENDURETH,” the double sense of ‘endureth’ being to bear all things, and to continue or remain notwithstanding all sufferings; thus rising above the afflicting thorns, and, by its success and triumph, converting them into a crown of glory...”

Fourth Degree:

“The Emblem of a Husband in this degree is the constellation of Ursa Major (Commonly called ‘the dipper,’ or ‘Charlie’s Wain’ or the ‘wagon’), with ‘pointers’ directing to the Pole or North Star above.  The crowning motto, ‘Fidelity,’ teaches its emblematic meaning; and the motto beneath, ‘IF I LOSE THEE, I AM LOST,’ inculcates the great lesson of consequences resulting from its neglect.

“The Emblem of the Matron of this degree is a Crumbling Tablet of Stone, to show the perishable nature of the most durable of human efforts to record itself for future generations.  The ‘effacing fingers of time’ surely, however slowly, obliterates the inscription, and the fine filaments of lichen and moss, aided by elemental changes, gradually consume the granite and the marble.  In contrast is that other tablet- the living heart, - put for the soul of human kind; where undying ‘Love’ receives deeds of kindness and words of truth, and where unfading Memory treasures them...

“The crossed pens are emblems of the means for writing these indelible impressions on the soul of childhood and youth, -the words of truth, the speech of love, written with the pens of kindness and carefulness.  They are to serve also as reminders of this great duty of the good Matron.

“Another emblem of this degree is the Shock of grain Sheaves protected by a Rock.  The former represents Plenty; the latter Protection and Safety.  The Shock of Sheaves represents our Order.”


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