The use of a bell in the ceremonies of the Third Degree, to denote the hour, is, manifestly, an anachronism, an error in date, for bells were not invented until the fifth century. But Freemasons are not the only people who have imagined the existence of bells at the building of the Temple. Henry Stephen tells us in the Apologie pour Herodote ( chapter 39 ), of a monk who boasted that when he was at Jerusalem he obtained a vial which contained some of the sounds of King Solomon's bells. The blunders of a ritualist and the pious fraud of a relic- monger have equal claims to authenticity.
The Masonic anachronism, however, is not worth consideration, because it is simply intended for a notation of time--a method of expressing intelligibly the hour at which a supposed event occurred.
Brother Mackey, in writing the foregoing paragraph, had no doubt in mind the kind of bells used in churches of which an early, if indeed not the earliest, application is usually credited to Bishop Paulinus about 400 A.D.
However, in the Quarterly Statement of the Palestine Exploration Fund, 1904, there is a report of the discovery at Gezer of a number of small bronze bells, both of the ordinary shape with clapper and also of the ball-and-slit form. If these bells are of the same date as the city on whose site they were found, then they may have like antiquity of say up to 3000 B.C. Bells are mentioned in the Bible (as in Exodus xxviii 34, and xxxix, 26, and in Zechariah xiv, 20), but the presumption is that these were mainly symbolical or decorative in purpose.
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