Thursday, March 30, 2017

Lamech ...Jachin and Boaz

Early ritualists confused the mythical pillars of stone, spoken of in almost all the old Charges, or Manuscript Constitutions of the Craft, with the Brazen pillars of the porch - the result is that modern Freemasons have composite pillars, fusing of the ancient and the mythical pillars on which were supposed to be engraved the arts and sciences of the time before the flood, and those which Hiram Abif erected - undoubtedly with Egyptian influences and memories of Egyptian Temples to guide him - before the great house of the Lord which Solomon built.

The fascinating, if wholly legendary, history of the Craft, repeated with variations in the majority of the old manuscript rolls, beginning with the Regius of 1390, is older than any Freemasonry we know in practice. The story varies from manuscript to manuscript, but in its essentials is much the same - it was evidently a tradition as strong in its day as is our legend of Hiram. To quote but a few line bearing on the pillars, consider these words from the York Manuscript No. 1, written about A.D. 1600:

“Before Noah flood there was a man called Lamech as is written in the Scriptures in ye Chatr of Genesis And this Lamech had two wives ye one named Adah by whome he had two sons ye one named Jabell ye other named Jubell And his other wife was called Zillah by whome he had one son named Tubelcaine & one Daughter named Naamah & these four children founded ye beginnings of all ye Sciences in ye world viz Jabell ye oldest Sone found out ye Science of Geomatre he was a keepr of flocks and sheep Lands in the Fields as it is noted in ye Chaptr before sd And his bother Jubell found ye Science of Musicke Song of the Tongue harpe & organ And ye third brother Tuball Caine found ye Science called Smith Craft of Gold Silvr Iron Coppr & Steele & ye daughter found ye ara of Weaving And these persons knowing right well yt God would take vengencance for sinne either by fire or water wherefore they writt their severall Sciences yt they had found in two pillars of stone yt might be found aftr Noah his Flood And ye one stonbe would not burn wth fire & ye othr called Lternes because it would not dround wth wtr etc.”

The word here spelled “Lternes” is rendered on other old Constitutions as “laterns,” usually translated “brick.” But marble does not resist fire; brick - especially early unscientifically vitrified brick - does not resist water.  If the word be considered a perversion of “latten,” which means brass or bronze, then the ancient legendary pillars are made of metal and marble, a more sensible idea, since metal would resist fire, and the marble, water.  In Tyre was the great Temple to Herakles with two pillars, one of gold, the other of smaragdus (polished green marble).  Other Tyrian Temples to Melkarth had two metal pillars or two monoliths.  Modern Masonry has hollow pillars to serve as safe repositories for the “archives of Masonry” and to preserve them from flood and fire, in spite of the fact that sacred history says nothing of Masonry, or the reason for the pillars being hollow.  It is reasonable to suppose that the ancient Masonic tradition of Lamech’s children and their pillars was confused, as knowledge of the Bible became more common after the invention of printing, with other “brazen pillars” of an ancient day, and finally with those of Solomon’s Temple.  How high were the pillars?  A question which has agitated American Freemasonry - largely without reason - for many years!  A majority of American rituals state that they were thirty-five cubits in heights.  A minority hold to eighteen..  One compromises on thirty.  A few do not give the height at all.

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