When it is said in the passage of Scripture from the twelfth chapter of Ecclesiastes, sometimes read during the ceremonies of the Third Degree, "the almond tree shall flourish," reference is made to the white flowers of that tree, and the allegory signification is to old age, when the hairs of the head shall become gray.
But the pinkish tinge of the flower has aroused some criticism of the above explanation. However, Doctor Mackey's study of the allegory is supported by Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible which says, ''Probably the whiteness of the blossom from a little distance---the delicate pink at the bases of the petals being visible only on closer inspection-suggested its comparison to the white hair of age" (see Ecclesiastes xii, 5).
A poetic view of the flower is to be seen in Edwin Arnold's Light of the World (book1, page 57), thus:
"The almond's crimson snow, rained upon crocus, lily, and cyclamen, at feet of feathery palms'." There is another Bible reference in Jeremiah (1,11, 12), where we find a curious play upon the Hebrew word for almond, meaning also to watch, and in the same language an almost identical word, save only for a slight alteration of a vowel sound, meaning I wi1 hasten.
From these noteworthy examples the Freemason may make his own choice of the most useful instruction for practical application, though the suggestion given by Doctor Mackey has received general favor.
The Encyclopedia Masonica exists to preserve the wealth of information that has been generated over the centuries by numerous Masonic authors. As Freemasonry is now Speculative and not Operative, the work of a Mason is now conducted in the quarries of symbolism, literature, history and scholasticism. Freemasonry encourages intellectual exploration and academic achievement in its members and many Masons over the years have taken up this calling. The result has been that an incredible amount of philosophy, symbolic speculation and academic insights have been created. However, as Freemasonry teaches, human knowledge is frail and fragile. It is easily lost in the turnings of the ages and unforeseen catastrophes can result in great setbacks to human knowledge.
For too long these great works have sat on forgotten shelves, gathering dust and concealing the light that could be shed on the darkness of our ignorance. The Encyclopedia Masonica has been created to act as an ark, sailing through time, to ensure that future generations of Freemasons have access to the same knowledge that inspired the Brethren that came before them. It will contain the works of such Masonic Luminaries as Albert G. Mackey, Manly Palmer Hall, G.S.M. Ward, Albert Pike and many others. The Encyclopedia Masonica is a living work and the volunteers of Universal Co-Masonry will continue to labor until the most comprehensive Masonic reference work the world has ever seen has been created. The Encyclopedia Masonica is open to any who wish to use it and will remain open so that the treasures contained within may increase the wealth of all those who seek its wisdom.
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