An emblem connected with the Third Degree, according to the Webb lectures, to remind us by the quick passage of its sands of the transitory nature of human life. As a Masonic symbol it is of comparatively modern date, but the use of the hourglass as an emblem of the passage of time is older than our oldest known rituals. Thus, in a speech before Parliament, in 1627, it is said: "We may dan dandle and play with the hour-glass that is in our power, but the hour will not stay for us; and an opportunity once lost cannot be regained." We are told in Notes and Queries (First Series, v, page 223) that in the early part of the eighteenth century it was a custom to inter an hour-glass with the dead, as an emblem of the sand of life being run out.
There is in Sir John Soane's Museum, Lincoln's Inn Fields, London, a manuscript account book, of 1614- 41, once owned by Nicholas Stone, Mason to King James I and Charles I, which on the title page has the following written note: In time take time while time doth last, For time is no time wheel time is past. A few sad and studious lines written in his Bible by Sir Falter Raleigh are found in Cayley's biography of him (volume in, chapter ix): E'en such is time! which takes in trust Our youth, our joys, and an we have And pays us naught but age and dust, Which, in the dark and silent grave, When we have wandered all our ways, Shuts up the story of our days. And from which grave, and earth, and dust The Lord will raise me up, I trust. Longfellow, in his "Sand of the Desert in an Hour glass," has written thus: A handful of red sand from the hot clime Of Arab deserts brought Within the glass comes the spy of Time, The minister of Thought.
An hour-glass is in the possession of the Lodge at Alexandria, Virginia, of which our Brother George Washington was Master.
That old treasure, a measure of the flying moments, well exhibits the changing methods brought about in time.
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