The Tau Cross, or Cross of Saint Anthony, is a Cross in the form of a Greek T. The Triple Tau is a figure formed by three of these crosses meeting in a point, and therefore resembling a letter T resting on the traverse bar of an H. This emblem, placed in the center of a Triangle and Circle--both emblems of the Deity--constitutes the jewel of the Royal .Arch as practiced in England where it is so highly esteemed as to be called the ''emblem of all emblems,'' and "the grand emblem of Royal Arch Masonry." It was adopted in the same form as the Royal Arch badge, by the General Grand Chapter of the United States in 1859; although it had previously been very generally recognized by American Freemasons. It is also found in the Capitular Freemasonry of Scotland (see Royal Arch Badge).
The original signification of this emblem has been variously explained. Some suppose it to include the initials of the Temple of Jerusalem, T. H., Templum Hierosolymse; others, that it is a symbol of the mystical union of the Father and Son, H. signifying Jehovah, and T. or the cross, the Son. A writer in Moore's Magazine ingeniously supposes it to be a representation of three T-squares, and that it alludes to the three jewels of the three ancient Grand Masters. It has also been said that it is the monogram of Hiram of Tyre; and others assert that it is only a modification of the Hebrew letter shin, 0, which was one of the Jewish abbreviations of the sacred name.
Doctor Oliver thinks, from its connection with the circle and triangle in the Royal Arch jewel, that it was intended to typify the a sacred name as the Author of Eternal Life. Old English Royal Arch lectures say that by its intersection it forms a given number of angles that may be taken in five regular combinations; and, reduced, their amount in right angles will be found equal to the five Platonic bodies which represent the four elements and the sphere of the Universe."
Amid so many speculations, Doctor Mackey felt that he need not hesitate to offer one of his own. The Prophet Ezekiel speaks of the tau or tau cross as the Mark distinguishing those who were to he saved, on account of their sorrow for their sins, from those who, as idolaters, were to be slain. It was a mark or sign of favorable distinction; and with this allusion we may, therefore, suppose the triple tau to be used in the Royal Arch Degree as a mark designating and separating those who know and worship the true name of God from those who are ignorant of that August mystery (see Three).
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