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Usages

The peculiarity of constant intercourse between the Kings of Israel and Tyre pending the construction of the Holy House, has been frequently commented upon. That this was so is evident from the old sacred Scriptures, as well as from cumulative history by Joseph us and others. This ancient custom of intercommunication would not be so marked, had these two kings ever met, yet during the years of construction, gifts and messages seem to have led to the more intimate custom of propounding problems and difficult questions. Hence the inducement to speculate upon whether there was any secret tie between these two Kings or merely friendship and business.

The customs, habits, and usages of the ancients are visible in every form and ceremony of Masonic work, as well as in the instruction, except where modern innovators have injured, while endeavoring to improve, the time worn yet mellowed services of the Brotherhood. One of the most beautiful expressions occurring in the Catechism of Freemasonry is the answer to an interrogatory as to the position of the hand in assuming the vow of the First Degree; to wit, "In accordance with ancient usages the right hand has always been deemed the seat of Fidelity. "A somewhat similar expression occurs in relation to the casting off of the shoe; answer, "This was in accordance with the usages of the ancient Israelites; a man plucked off his shoe and gave it to his neighbor; this was testimony in Israel. "The shoe was the symbol of subjection when sent by rulers to princes (see Ruth iv, 7). It was the symbol of humiliation and surrender with Germans and Israelites. The formal divestiture was surrender of title (see Hand).

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