The real object of Freemasonry, in a philosophical and religious sense, is the search for truth. This truth is, therefore, symbolized by the Word. From the first entrance of the Apprentice into the Lodge, until his reception of the highest degree, this search is continued. It is not always found and a substitute must sometimes be provided. Yet whatever be the labors he performs, whatever the ceremonies through which he passes, whatever the symbols in which he may be instructed, whatever the final reward he may obtain, the true end of all is the attainment of Truth.
This idea of truth is not the same as that expressed in the lecture of the First Degree, where Brotherly Love, Relief, and Truth are there said to be the "three great tenets of a Mason's profession." In that connection, Truth, which is called a "Divine Attribute, the foundation of every virtue," is synonymous with Sincerity, honesty of expression, and plain dealing. The higher idea of truth which pervades the whole Masonic system, and which is symbolized by the Word, is that which is properly expressed to a knowledge of God. There was an Egyptian goddess named in the Hebrew, Thm, or Thme, meaning integritas, or Justice and Truth.
This one of the three great Masonic principles is represented among the Egyptians by an ostrich feather; and the judicial officer was also thus represented, "because that bird, unlike others, has all its feathers equal," Horapollo. The Hebrew word ion, signifies an Ostrich, as also a Council; and the word Rnne, is interpreted, poetically, an ostrich, and also a song of joy, or of Praise; hence, "the happy souls thus ornamented, under the inspection of the lords of the heart's joy, gathered fruits from celestial trees." In the judgment in Amenti, the soul advances toward the goddess Thme, who wears on her head the ostrich feather. In the scale, Anubis and Horus weigh the actions of the deceased On one side is the ostrich feather, and on the other the vase containing the heart. Should the weight of the heart be greater than the feather, the soul is entitled to be received into the celestial courts. The forty-two judges, with heads ornamented with ostrich feathers, sit aloft to pronounce judgment (see Book of the Dead ).
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