The Lectures of the Holy Royal Arch
As once used in the Supreme Grand Royal Arch Chapter
I shall now describe to you the Sacred Pedestal. A cube has ever been considered
the symbol of equality, purity, and justice; so, therefore, the double cube
was selected by our forefathers as the shape of the Altar of incense, being
a type - in a superlative degree - of the purity, excellence, and durability
of the divine power.
The characters on the front of the pedestal are the initials of the names
and designations of the Grand Masters, who presided over the Sacred Lodge.
They are delineated in Hebrew characters, thus :
Shelomoh Meleck Israel,
Huram, Meleck Tsur,
Huram. Ben Almanah,
meaning Solomon King of Israel, Hiram King of Tyre, and Hiram the Widow's
Son : or, Solomon Rex Israelis, Hiram Rex Tyri, Hiram Vidua Filius.
Below these characters near the foot of the pedestal is the Triple Tau.
Around the top of the pedestal are sculptured ornaments; the top itself should
be of pure gold and illuminated from above, but we use enamelled glass illumined
from below on it is a circle, and a triangle.
The Circle is an emblem of eternity having neither beginning nor end, and
fitly reminds us of the purity, wisdom, and glory of the Omnipotent, which
is without beginning or end.
The Triangle is a symbol of divine union, and an emblem of the mysterious
Triune, equally representing the attributes of Deity, and His Triune essence.
On the circle of gold you behold the great and awful name of God, the sacred,
mysterious, and ineffable Tetragrammaton.
It is not in the power of any mortal adequately to solve or analyze the import
or comprehensiveness of this word. Suffice it to observe that it implies
the self-sufficient power of the Omnipotent, typifying the eternal duration
of the Godhead, of that Great Being who is of, by, and from Himself, the
origin and source of all power and majesty incomprehensible and that it denotes,
with wonderful and peculiar accuracy, the eternally un hanged and unchangeable
existence of the Almighty, who was, and is, and ever shall be the same great
and living God. This awful name was held in such veneration by the children
of Israel, that it was never uttered but once a year, and then only by the
High Priest, when at a solemn assembly he entered the Sanctum Sanctorum or
Holy of Holies, and after many religious ceremonies in propitation of the
nation's sins; and, at the present day, no true Israelite would dare to
pronounce, or even write it, in his prayers, public or private, but invariably
adopts the substitute words Adonai or El Shaddai. This word also implies
that the God of Israel will be faithful to His promise, and keep the covenant
He made with the seed of Abraham.
It is lawful for three Jews who are Royal Arch Masons to pronounce this Holy
Word by the three distinct aspirations, but in no other way, and it is always
pronounced by us in the same manner.
On the three sides of the triangle you behold the three sacred syllables,
which collectively constitute the peculiar and grand word which you have
sworn never to pronounce but in the presence of two or more Companions of
this exalted order, and in the manner pointed out to you.
Of this mysterious compound the first syllable is a Chaldaic word signifying
"I Am." It is also a Hebrew word which signifies "I shall be" thus wonderfully
referring to the present, future, and eternal existence of God. It also denotes
the incomprehensible majesty of the Omnipotent, and is composed of two of
the four letters of the Tetragrammaton. The second is a Syriac word, and
signifies "Lord" or "Powerful" ; but is also a compound word, being formed
of a preposition, Beth, which in many oriental languages signifies "In" or
"On," and another expression, which implies "Heaven" or "On High." The third,
which is an Egyptian word, signifies "Father of all" ; it is also a Hebrew
word implying "Power." The three syllables therefore, or the whole expression,
convey the following divine import " I am and shall be Lord in Heaven on
High, the Powerful, the Father of all."
Such is the account of the Pedestal, of the circle, and of the single triangle
found by the Sojourners and from this we may infer that the equilateral triangle
was the original mark or signature of a Master Mason, and the same as that
preserved by the Mark Masters, which was pointed out to you in that degree.
But the three ancient Principals of the Sanhedran Zerubbabel; Haggia and
Joshua added another triangle intersecting the former, on the sides of which
they caused to be engraved the secret word of these offices. These cannot
be imparted to you at present, as they are only given to Principals of Chapters.
The various significations of the double triangle itself have been described
to you in the 2nd. lecture.