The eagle, as a symbol, is of great antiquity. In Egypt, Greece, and Persia, this bird was sacred to the sun. Among the Pagans it was an emblem of Jupiter, and with the Druids it was a symbol of their supreme god. In the Scriptures, a distinguished reference is in many instances made to the eagle; especially do we find Moses (Exodus xix, 4) representing Jehovah as saying, in allusion to the belief that this bird assists its feeble young in their flight by bearing them upon its own pinions, "Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles' wings, and brought you unto myself." Not less elevated was the symbolism of the eagle among the Pagans. Thus, Cicero, speaking of the myth of Ganymede carried up to Jove on an eagle's back, says that it teaches us that the truly wise, irradiated by the shining light of virtue, become more and more like God, until by wisdom they are borne aloft and soar to Him. The heralds explain the eagle as signifying the same thing among birds as the lion does among quadrupeds. It is, they say, the most swift, strong, laborious, generous, and bold of all birds, and for this reason it has been made, both by ancients and moderns, the symbol of majesty. In the jewel of the Rose Croix Degree is found an eagle displayed at the foot of the cross; and it is there very appropriately selected as a symbol of Christ, in His Divine character, bearing the children of His adoption on His wings, teaching them with unequaled love and tenderness to poise their unfledged wings and soar from the dull corruption's of earth to a higher and holier sphere. Thus the eagle in the jewel of that Degree is significantly represented with wings displayed as if in flight.
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