“3 5 7”
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.
Do not be wise in your own eyes;
fear the Lord and shun evil.
SHORT TALK BULLETIN - Vol.III June, 1925 No.6
Before you could become a Fellowcraft it was demanded of you that you become proficient in the work of the First Degree; that you learn "by heart" a certain portion of the Ritual, and make yourself competent to "stand and deliver" it on occasion. Such a memorization is the sole survival of that ancient custom of Operative Masonry of demanding from the Apprentice, who had served the legal time (usually seven years), a Master's Piece; and example of ability in Masonry by which his fellows could judge whether or no he had made good use of his time and was fit to be "passed" from the state of being but an Apprentice, to that of being a Fellow (or companion) of the Craft.
The modern Fellowcraft Degree is, as a whole, emblematical of manhood; to attain is to be grown up, Masonically speaking. As the entered Apprentice Degree speaks of birth and babyhood, of first beginnings and first principles, so does the degree of Fellowcraft speak of growth, of strength and of virility to those who have inward and spiritual ears with which to hear. No thoughtful man can avoid the impression that this degree in an attempt to emphasize the vital need of knowledge; to encourage study and research, to bring out the beauty of wisdom.
We can consider the meaning of the degree, and govern ourselves accordingly. And if we do so, we will start now, at once, to make ourselves earnest students not only of Masonic knowledge, but of knowledge in general. For of knowledge and its obtaining, this degree is most certainly a teacher; from the time of entry through the West Gate until the finish of the lecture, the entered Apprentice in the process of being "passed" is instructed, taught, given knowledge and urged that only by knowledge can he hope to obtain complete growth and the final glory of Masonry and of life, the Sublime degree of Master Mason.
The most outstanding symbol in the degree of Fellowcraft is the Flight of Winding Stairs. In the Book of Kings we find; "They Went up With Winding Stairs into the Middle Chamber." We go up "with winding stairs" into "The Middle Chamber of King Solomon's Temple." Also we travel up a winding stairs of life, and arrive, if we climb steadfastly, at the middle chamber of existence, which is removed from birth, babyhood and youth by the steps of knowledge and experience, but which is not so high above the ground that we are not as yet of the earth, earthy; not so high that we can justifiably regard it as more than a Stepping Off Place from which we may, perhaps, ascend to the Sanctum Sanctorum; that Holy of Holies, in which our troubled spirits find rest, our ignorance finds knowledge, and our eyes see God.
There is a symbolism in the fact that the stairway "Winds." A straight stairway is not as easy to climb as a winding one, which, because of the fact that it does wind, ascends by easier stages than one which climbs as a ladder. But, also, a straight stair has the goal in sight constantly, and while it may be more difficult in the effort and strength required, it is easier because one can see where one is going. There is no faith needed in climbing a ladder; one can visualize the top and have its inspiration constantly before one as one rises rung after rung.
But the winding stairway is one which tries a man's soul. He must "Believe," or he cannot reach the top. Nothing is clear before him but the next step. He must take it on faith that there is a top, that if he but climb long enough he will, indeed, reach a middle chamber, a goal, a place of light. In such a way are the Winding Stairs and the Middle Chamber symbols of life and manhood. No man knows what he will become; as a boy he may have a goal, but many reach other Middle Chambers than those they visualized as they started the ascent. No man knows whether he will ever climb all the stairs; the Angel of Death may stand but around the corner on the next step. Yet, in spite of a lack of knowledge of what is at the top of the stairs, in spite of the fact that a Flaming Sword may bar his ascent, man climbs. He climbs in faith that there is a goal and that he shall reach it; and no good Mason doubts but that for those who never see the glory of the Middle Chamber in this life, a lamp is set that they may see still farther in another, better one.
“3 5 7”
There is still yet deeper meaning to the numbers 3:5:7:
These are the steps in Masonry. They are the steps in the Winding Stair which leads to the Middle Chamber and they are the number of brethren which form the number of Master Masons necessary to open a lodge of:
Master Mason: 3
Fellow Craft: 5
Entered Apprentice: 7
With these numbers we are given the gift to “Square our Square” or rather to solve the 47th Problem of Euclid as known as the Pythagorean Theorem. What is so important about the ability to know these numbers you ask? With this simple geometric ratio of how to create a 90 degree Right Angle:
- Man can reach out into space and measure the distance of the stars in light years!
- He can survey land, mark off boundaries and construct every single
thing on Earth.
- He can build homes, churches and buildings, and with the knowledge
of this simple ratio...he can begin digging on opposite sides of a
mountain and dig a straight tunnel through the center of it that
meets exactly at the center!
- He can navigate the oceans and be able to locate himself in the
middle of the water (with no land in sight)...And is also able to
calculate how far he has come and how much farther he must go!
S & F,