|Apron of Shame||Apron of Sacrifice||Apron of Repentance|
|Apron of Salvation||Apron of Eternal Life||The Seven Virtues|
A Candidate for Initiating, Passing and Raising
The Masonic Apron, like no other, is steeped in spiritual meanings, and it is to that end that we seek the eternal truth of this called Freemasonry, more especially, Prince Hall Masonry. Open your Bibles and your heart and let's travel the footsteps of Time.
1. Apron of Shame: Genesis 3:7 states that Adam and Eve made aprons of fig leaves to hide that which they were most ashamed of, the genital area of the body. This came about because of their enlightenment, discovering the difference between good and evil. It just goes to show you...The more you know...The more you should grow.
However, Adam and Eve went contrary to the ways of God, and consequently, the wages of their sin would be the death of not only them, but all of mankind.
Knowledge by itself is uselesssss, unless it is crowned with understanding with Wisdom in the middle. This is the one ingrediant that Satan, with his inviting promises to Eve, could not give. However, by disobeying God, Adam and Eve were exposed to knowledge. There are three (3) steps in education and Adam and Eve only achieved one (1), knowledge. Knowledge leads to Wisdom, gotten from experience or directly from God, as in the case of Solomon, and you know what happened to him. Wisdom leads to Understanding, as found in Proverbs, when Solomon in his "old age" admonishes us to "get ye understanding."
2. Apron of Sacrifice: In Exodus 28:4-8, we find that after man has been freed from physical captivity, he is shown responsibility to his creator, and to his calling. In the wilderness of Zin, Moses found that he could not govern temporal mankind withou rules, so God gave him some. They are called the Ten Commandments, but it seems that was not enough, for they were too few and too simple. Then God gave Moses over 500 "Thou shall" and "Thou shalt not's." In the midst of the laws, God gave Moses instructions on how Aaron was to be dressed when he came into the Holy of Holies. The last piece was an "Ephod," girded about his loins.
With rules, there must be an enforcer, and the lot fell on Aaron and his sons, officiating as High Priest and the priesthood. The ephod was to be worn by Aaron once per year in the Holy of Holies, on the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16). Today, Masons wear the apron when in lodge receiving good and wholesome instructions.
3. Apron of Repentance: In Matthew 3:4, we find John the Baptist "Coming out of the wilderness, dressed in Camel's hair with a leather girdle about his loins." This was the dress of the old prophets, as the camel hair made them uncomfortable all of the time, while the girdle (apron) reminded them that beneath the apron was the one thing guaranteed to take them to hell!
The old prophets did not wear the priestly garments of the Aaronic line, and did not necessarily come from the priestly family, but had special jobs to do for the Lord. When the people were doing wrong, when the priest were doing wrong; even when the king was doing wrong, everbody listened to the prophets!
John's message was simple: "Repent and be baptized, for the kingdom of God is at hand." The message came after a 400 year period of Darkness when no word came from the Lord. John did not prophecy of He that is to come; rather he preached of One that is HERE!
In his climb up the ladder to paradise, man learns that he must get "down" before he can get up. Hence, the watery grave. Hence the "raising from a dead level to a living perpindicular." Consider the ladder of Jacob, not as a building ladder, but as a step ladder, with seven (7) rungs going up and seven (7) going down. They are:
John's baptism was to be likened to the Children traveling in the wilderness, following a Pillar of Cloud by Day (water) and a Pillar of Fire (Holy Ghost) by night. Man's day is occupied by meaningful jobs or vocations (per 8 hours), and the service of God and distressed brethren (per 8 hours), while in his hours of refreshment and sleep, man becomes vulnerable to the wiles of Satan. Therefore, John baptised with water, symboling the productive part of man, yet he knew that water would not save lost souls. He then spoke of one that is coming that would baptize with the "Holy Ghost and with Fire." This will be what is needed to fight the Evil One.
John is like a Junior Warden, callig the craft from refreshment to labor, to announce a new Worshipful Master, one that is the "Glory and Beauty of the Day." John said, "As he increases, I must decrease." As the moon decreases when the sun is about to make its appearance, so must the Junior Warden decrease when the Master calls the Lodge to labor. The Master has his orders from the Grand Master of the Universe, to give teh world one more chance.
4. Apron of Salvation: Jesus, the fire represented by Boaz; Jesus, the end of the Scarlet Line; Jesus, the fulfillment of the prophecies, has come. The material kingdom of man is about to be relegated to second place, and a spiritual kingdom is to replace it. It will not be a kingdom of riches, per se, but is rich in substance, rich in rewards, rich in salvation.
It is in John 13:4 that we find the whole make-up of man and his relationship with his fellowman, for it is here that Jesus shows His Disciples just what it means to be the chief, the head knocker, the HNIC. It is to be a position of service. This he showed by example, when, "after supper, he laid aside his garment and girded himself with a towel, and washed His Disciples feet." Mind you, water was scarce, and I'm sure that the feet were smelly, but being of service means "regardless of."
Jesus took on the appearance of an Entered Apprenticed Mason when He served his masters. By girding Himself, Jesus showed that even the Son of Man had to be properly dressed when in the service of God. While He was innocent of worldly pleasures, He also showed Peter that if man does not serve other men, "you will have no part of me." Such is salvation, a healing 'salve' for the sin-sick soul.
5. Apron of Eternal Life: Revelations 7:9 gives us the fifth and final apron, one that is not an apron at all, but a long white robe, made "white by being washed and dipped in the Blood of the Lamb." The genital area is no longer important, for there will be no use for it in the New Jerusalem, as there will be, "no marriage, or giving in marriage in heaven."
John has seen a vast number of people from all walks and all nations, coming out of "great tribulation," and has transversed from the base of mankind to the sublime, from temporal (temporary) to the spiritual (eternal). In that number you will find those that "worked the works of Him that sent me, while it is day, for when night cometh, then no man can work."
The four Cardinal Virtues of the Entered Apprenticed Mason comes to mind with new meaning as man comes through the ages:
Man has reached his attainable heights, not by his own merits, but by the Grace and Mercy of the Grand Architect of the Universe. This is borne out by the theologian principles of the last three (3) virtues on the downward side of the step ladder (Mithraic Ladder of the Egyptians), which solidifies his Faith in God, Hope in immortality, and Charity to all mankind, but more especially a Brother Mason. Once man has returned to the "dead level" from whence he came, then man can be raised "from a dead level of mortality to a living perpindicular of eternal life."
Man then, is a Temple unto God, dedicated to His worship and service to all mankind. This temple is an emanation of God and is likened unto God, in His own image and likeness, if you will.
When a Mason puts on an apron, he is putting on the history, the philosophy, the religion and the reputation of Freemasonry. He should wear it with pride, for many great men have worn the little 13x15, or 14x16 piece of cloth that covers man's greatest weakness, the staff of life. When a Mason puts on the apron, he tells the world that he has taken vows in an honorable institution, and that he is ready to be tried by his words and actions, that his badge is worthy to be worn, and that he will not spoil it, or soil it, acknowledging that the apron cannot spoil him.
However, all members are not Masons, and we regretfully acknowledge the fact, for some had ulterior motives when they joined, and will never understand that to be a Mason is to be a member in the oldest fraternity in the world, the largest in the world, and the only one in the world to take its cues from the Holy Writings. When you see that kind of member, one that would bring derision and shame upon the fraternity, we should help them if we can, report them if we can't and let the fraternity live on.
God recognized this when, in Jerimiah 13, He directed Jerimiah to bury an apron under a rock, and upon returning to retrieve the apron, found it soiled and dirty, and therefore, of no use to anyone. This is an analogy of God's relationship with mankind if they are soiled from the pleasures that defile the body, and consequently, soils the apron.
Beneath the apron lies the reproduction of the world, but remember that when Adam and Eve became knowledgeable, they covered the one thing that was guaranteed to take them to hell...if used wrong.
"No higher honor can be given to you by anyone, be he king, prince or potentate, unless he be a Brother Mason."
Wear it with pride, but also with dignity!
THE SEVEN VIRTUES
The Masonic Apron, by its shape and corners, is emblematical of the seven virtues, divided into two (2) classes, terrestial and celestial, or cardinal and theologian.
The Cardinal Virtues teaches us what we have to do to get along with mankind:
TEMPERANCE: Teaches us to be temperate in what we put in our bodies, but more especially to bridle our tongues so that nothing comes OUT that would be harmful to our fellowman.
PRUDENCE: Teaches us that LOW is the way, to the Upper Room. Micah 6:8 gives us direction on our emotions (love mercy), and our actions (do justly and walk humbly before thy God).
FORTITUDE: Teaches us to always be prepared before the enemies of Freemasonry (uninitiated), and to give due regard (due gard) to God's Laws.
JUSTICE: Teaches us of the equality of man in the sight of God. Further admonishes us to treat everyone "justly."
The Theologian Virtues teaches us what we need to do to be entitled to the Eternal Life we speak about; think on things of a heavenly nature.
FAITH: Faith is beyond belief, for it is, in the words of Paul, "The substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things unseen. It is to have blind trust.
HOPE: Teaches us that there is a reward at the end of this earthly existence. Without hope, there would be no justification for being a Christian or a Mason.
CHARITY: Teaches us of our needed return back to, "from whence we came." To be divested of (soul) what we were vested with (mortality), and to be vested with a "new stone" (immortality). Man cannot be raised if he is already "up" and consequently, he has to be in a dead level, before he can be raised to a living perpendicular.
The apron has seven (7) corners and/or angles. Notice that the four (4) corners the genital area, while the three (3) angles point upward, toward the heavens. The triangle at the top is emblematical of the uppermost part of Mogen David, or the Star of David, the spiritual part.
Hence, man is a temple unto God, the Grand Architect of the universe, with the apron covering the "Outer Porch," the skin is the Outer Porch, the body is the Holy Place and the soul is the Most Holy Place.
The Masonic Apron, when in the form of an Entered Apprentice Mason is representative or symbolic of the Seven, with a triangle at the topmost and a square at the bottom most part. The meridian line is counted twice, there by adding the triangle (3) and the square (4) you get seven, a cardinal number, and a number that is used in the Bible 287 times, or 7x41; seventh occurs 98 times, or 7x14. Check out 2 Chronicles 7:14 for further clarification. Seven is a sacred number, in Hebrew Savah, meaning: to be full or satisfied, and is the root word for Sabbath, the fullness of man's week. (Numbers in the, by Kesner) (Scriptures from the Holy Bible)