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.
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