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BRO. GEORGE WASHINGTON'S APRON

1. RED. symbolizes courage, zeal, the blood of life, and fire. It is the color of Royal Arch Masonry.

2. WHITE. has throughout the ages represented purity and innocence.

3. BLUE. has been esteemed since antiquity as a beneficent color, denoting immortality, eternity, chastity and fidelity. It is the color of Symbolic Masonry, "the Blue Lodge."

4. ALL-SEEING EYE. a symbol of watchfulness and the Supreme Being.

5. RAYS OF GLORY. symbolic of the power of the Supreme Being to penetrate the innermost reaches Of the human heart.

6. RAINBOW. is sometimes associated with the Royal Arch. It is also part of the architectural arch, being the 9th arch under Solomon's Temple. It is supported by two Pillars (see No.8).

7. MOON. one of the Lesser Lights in Freemasonry. The Moon governs and rules the night.

8. PILLARS OF ENOCH. Enoch, fearing that the principles of the arts and sciences might be lost, erected two pillars, the one of marble to withstand fire, the other of brass to resist water. On each he engraved that which he feared would be lost. The Gloves are
symbols of Unity and Peace and Plenty. (See also No 37)

9. PILLARS B. and J. were within the porch of King Solomon's Temple. Boaz the name of the left pillar means "in strength"; the right pillar, Jachin, means "God will establish" (see also No.38). The globe on the left pillar represents earth; that on the right, heaven. These brazen pillars with their globes are today the columns of the Senior and Junior Wardens.

10. DOVE. in early Masonry is a symbol of Noah's messenger. In ancient symbolism, the
dove represented purity and innocence.

11. FORTY-SEVENTH PROBLEM OF EUCLID'S. first book of geometry. It is said that when Pythagoras solved the problem he exclaimed. "Eureka!," which signifies "I have found it." It is, however, not a problem, but a theorem. It has been adopted as the symbol on the Past Master Mason's Jewel in Pennsylvania (The Ahiman Rezon, Art XVI, Sec. 3 & 4).

12. HOPE. is sometimes shown as a female with an anchor, also as an anchor near the ark. Anchor, an emblem of a well-grounded hope and a well-spent life. With hope, an Anchor holds the soul both sure and steadfast.

13. PLUMB. the proper Masonic Jewel of the Junior Warden, admonishes us to walk uprightly before God and man. It is one of the working tools of operative Masons, used to try perpendiculars.

14. JACOB'S LADDER. without a clouded canopy or star-decked heaven, which he saw in a vision ascending from earth to heaven. The three principal rounds are denominated FAITH, HOPE, and CHARITY.

15. SQUARE WITHIN BOUNDS. is a symbol formed by four stonemason's squares of equal arms superimposed one on the other to form a central square. This symbol has not been found in American or English books of Masonic symbolism and therefore may well be of French origin. There has been no interpretation found for it to date.

16. LIGHTS or BURNING TAPERS. like the three principal Lodge officers, refer undoubtedly to the three stations of the sun, its rising in the East (Worshipful Master), its meridian in the South (Junior Warden), and its setting in the West (Senior Warden). (See also Nos. 30 & 31)

17. TROWEL. a working tool of the operative mason, is used symbolically for spreading the cement of Brotherly love and affection.

18. FIVE-POINTED STAR. represents the five points of fellowship. Within the star is the letter "G," a well-known symbol of Freemasonry representing both God and geometry.

19. MOSAIC PAVEMENT. a representation of the ground floor of King Solomon's Temple. The Masonic Pavement is emblematical of human life, checked with good and evil.

20. STEPS. are usually three in number. The six steps are said to represent degrees Washington received.

21. HOLY BIBLE. the great light of Freemasonry.

22. COFFIN. has always symbolized death. It is found on tracing boards of the 18th century and, in that time, constituted a part of the esoteric symbolism.

23. SKULL AND CROSS-BONES. are symbols of mortality and death and are so used in French degrees.

24. SPRIG OF ACACIA. The acacia tree is supposedly the shittah wood of the Old Testament. The name is sometimes spelled Cassia. It has long been used as a symbol of immortality.

25. SQUARE. is the proper Masonic Jewel of the Master of the Lodge. It is one of the Great Lights in Freemasonry. It is the stonemason's square of two equal arms.

26. COMPASSES. the proper Masonic emblem of the Craft, and one of the Great Lights in Freemasonry.

27. BRICK WALL. appears to represent the place in the Lodge occupied by the Altar. The Holy Bible, Square, and Compasses rest upon it, as do the three Lesser Lights. It composes nine rows of bricks, one upon the other. To give the symbolic meaning of the wall would be mere speculation.

28. ARK. is emblematical of that Divine Ark which safely carries us over this tempest-tossed life. It is often shown with the Anchor.

29. SETTING MAUL. in operative Masonry, is used for setting stones, that is, tapping them to a firm seat in the mortar or urging them sidewise into place. It is considered by some to be a symbol of untimely death.

30. (See No.16)

31. (See No.16)

32. TREASURER. of the lodge wearing the Apron of his office and holding the emblem of his office, Crossed Keys.

33. TWENTY-FOUR INCH GAUGE. symbolizes the twenty-four hours of day divided into three equal parts devoted to God, usual vocations, and rest.

34. SWORD POINTING TO A NAKED HEART. demonstrated that justice will sooner or later overtake us; and that although our thoughts, words and actions may be hidden from the eyes of man, they are not hidden from the All-Seeing Eye.

35. TASSEL. consists of a cord with tassels on the ends. It alludes to the Care of Providence which surrounds and deeps us within its protection while we govern our lives by the four cardinal virtues: temperance, fortitude, prudence and justice. The tassel may also represent the Mystic Tie, that sacred bond which unites men of diverse opinions into one band of Brother.

36. LEVEL. the proper Masonic Jewel of the Senior Warden, symbolizes equality and reminds us that we are traveling upon the level of time. It is one of the working tools of an operative mason.

37. (See No 8)

38. (See No 9)

39. SUN, one of the Lesser Lights. As a source of light, it reminds the Mason of that intellectual light of which he is in constant search.

40. SEVEN SIX-POINTED STARS. The number SEVEN represents the Seven Liberal Arts and Sciences: Grammar, Rhetoric, Logic, Arithmetic, Geometry, Music and Astronomy. The SIX-POINTED STAR symbolizes Divine Providence, the star of David or Shield of David. It comprises tow interlaced triangles, which have a number of Masonic interpretations.

41. LETTERS used symbolically in the Mark Master Mason's degree, Chapter of Royal Arch Masons.

42. BEEHIVE. is the emblem of industry. It teaches us that as we came into this world rational and intelligent beings, so we should ever be industrious ones.


43. APRON. The Masonic Apron, which derives from the working apron of the stonemason, is in itself a symbol. It is an emblem of innocence, and the badge of a Freemason.

When the young Marquis de Lafayette came to America at the age of 20 and joined George Washington's army for the Battle of Brandywine in 1777, the American cause had become his cause. The affection each man held for the other is legend. So too is the legacy of Masonic history developed through that affection. The Lafayette Apron, of white satin and embroidered by Madame Lafayette, was presented to Bro. Washington by Bro. Lafayette in August of 1784.The apron was presented to the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania by the Washington Benevolent Society on July 3, 1829 and is now on display in the Grand Lodge Museum at the Masonic Temple in Philadelphia.

It is a study in symbolism. For example, the apron border colors of red, white and blue are the national colors of both the United States and France. Symbols are silent emblems having meaning only when interpreted. Given the unique character of the interpretation process, it can be understood that no symbol has absolute meaning. In preparing the following, Bro Frank W. Bobb, Grand Lodge librarian and curator, has used those meanings most widely accepted my Masonic scholars in interpreting the symbolism of the Washington Apron.

The name of George Washington claims a place in our American Masonic history. As the "Father of our Country" he is a source of pride to every American Freemason and we are honored to call him a "Brother" in our time-honored Fraternity. He was "raised" to the sublime degree of a Master Mason in Lodge #4 of Fredericksburg, Virginia on August 4th, 1753. On December 20th, 1788 Brother Washington was elected the first Worshipful Master of Alexandria Lodge #22.

It was during the Revolutionary War that the young Marquis de Lafayette came to America from France and joined General George Washington's army for the Battle of Brandywine in 1777. The affection each man held for each other as Friends and Brothers was legend. The American cause had become Lafayette's cause. The legacy that developed through this affection led to the presentation of a special Masonic Apron at Mt. Vernon in August of 1784. It was made of white satin and hand-embroidered by Madame Lafayette.

This apron has become a study in symbolism. Symbols are silent emblems having meaning only when interpreted and given the unique character of the interpretation process, it is also understood that no symbol has an absolute meaning. For example, the apron border colors of red, white and blue are the National Colors of both the United States and France, and the colors of our National Flag. In Masonry the color red is a symbol of courage, white for innocence, and blue for fidelity. The "Lambskin" or white leather apron is itself an emblem of innocence and the badge of a Mason, more ancient than the Golden Fleece or Roman Eagle, more honorable than the Star and Garter, or any other order that could be conferred upon me, at this or any future period by king, prince, potentate, or any other person, except he be a Mason. It was hoped that I would wear it with pleasure to myself and honor to the Fraternity.

The "All-Seeing Eye" is a symbol of watchfulness and the eye of the Grand Architect. It is the symbol of his Divine watchfulness and care of the Universe. The All-Seeing Eye, whom the Sun, Moon, and Stars obey, and under whose watchful care even comets perform their stupendous revolutions, pervades the inmost recesses of the human heart, and will reward us according to our merits. The "Rays" represent "Light". Freemasons are emphatically called "The Sons of Light" because they are entitled to be in possession of the true meaning and knowledge of this symbol. It is in fact the first of all symbols presented to the initiate, and continues to be presented to him in various forms throughout his Masonic career. But as Light not only came from God, it also makes mans way clear before him, so it is employed to signify moral truth. The "Dove" in early Masonry is a symbol of Noah's messenger. In ancient symbolism, the Dove represented purity and innocence and was often seen bearing an olive branch.

The constellation of "Seven Six-pointed Stars" in Masonry represents the Seven Liberal Arts and Sciences: They are Grammar, Rhetoric, Logic, Arithmetic, Geometry, Music and Astronomy. The Six-pointed Star symbolizes Divine Providence and is the Star of David or Shield of David. This starry-decked heaven is where all good Masons hope at last to arrive by aid of that "Theological Ladder" which Jacob in his vision saw extending from Earth to Heaven, the principal rounds of which are denominated Faith, Hope and Charity, which admonish us to have Faith in God, Hope in Immortality, and Charity toward all Mankind. The greatest of these is Charity; for our faith may be lost in sight, hope ends in fruition, but Charity extends beyond the grave, through the boundless realms of eternity!

The "Sun" as the source of material light reminds the Mason of that intellectual light of which he is in constant search. The Worshipful Master who rules and governs his Lodge is said to be the symbol of the rising sun in the east. The sun, therefore is the symbol of sovereignty, the hieroglyphic of royalty; and signifies absolute authority. As the sun rules the day, so does the moon govern the night; as the sun regulates our years, so does the moon mark the passing months. These symbols in Masonry are known as the "Lesser Lights".

The "Three Great Lights" in Masonry are the Holy Bible, Square and Compasses. The Holy Bible is dedicated to the service of God because it is the inestimable gift of God to man, and on it we obligate our Brethren. The "Square" to the Worshipful Master because it is the proper Masonic emblem of his office, and the "Compasses" to the Craft because by a due attention to their use we are taught to circumscribe our desires and keep our passions within due bounds toward all mankind, especially a Brother Mason.

Here are the "Pillars of the Porch" of King Solomon's Temple... King Solomon did not simply erect them as ornaments to the temple, but memorials of God's repeated promises of support to His people of Israel. Boaz, the name of the left pillar means "in strength", the right pillar Jachin means "God will establish", which signifies when combined, the message "In strength, God will establish His house in Israel". And thus were the Jews, in passing through the porch to the temple, daily reminded of the abundant promises of God, and inspired with confidence in His protection and gratitude for His many acts of kindness to His chosen people. The globe on the left pillar represents "Earth", that on the right, "Heaven".

The outer pillars of the temple are called the "Pillars of Enoch". Enoch, fearing that the principles of the Arts and Sciences might be lost, erected two pillars, the one of marble to withstand fire, the other of brass to resist water. On each he engraved all the knowledge which he feared would be lost. The globes are symbols of unity, peace and plenty. These pillars also support the "Rainbow" which is sometimes associated with the Holy Royal Arch. It is also called the "Arch of Heaven", symbolic of the architectural arch.
The "Mosaic Pavement" is a representation of the ground floor of King Solomon's Temple. The Mosaic Pavement is emblematical of human life checked with good and evil. The "Blazing Star" reminds us of that awe inspiring period when the Almighty delivered the two tablets on stone, containing the Ten Commandments, to His faithful servant Moses on Mt. Sinai; when the rays of His divine glory shone so bright that none could behold it without fear and trembling. It also represents the sacred name of God, as a universal spirit who enlivens our hearts, who purifies our reason, who increases our knowledge, and who makes us wiser and better men.
The "Ark" is emblematical of the Divine Ark which carries us over this tempest-tossed life. It is sometimes shown with the "Anchor", an emblem of a well-grounded hope and a well-spent life. With hope, the anchor holds the soul sure and steadfast.

The "Square within Bounds" is a symbol formed by four stonemason's squares of equal arms superimposed one on the other to form a central cube. The square and cube are both significant symbols. The square is an emblem of morality, or the strict performance of every duty. The square teaches us to regulate our conduct before God and man. The cube is a symbol of truth, wisdom, and moral perfection.

The "Forty-Seventh Problem of Euclid's" first book of Geometry contained a mathematical theorem so complex that when Pythagoras solved the problem he exclaimed; "Eureka" which signifies "I have found it"! It has been adopted as a symbol of a Past Master. It teaches Masons to be general lovers of the arts and sciences.

The "Working Tools" of an Entered Apprentice Mason are the twenty-four inch gauge and common gavel. The "Twenty-four Inch Gauge" is an instrument made use of by Operative Masons to measure and lay-out their work, but we, as Free and Accepted Masons, are taught to use it for the more noble and glorious purpose of dividing our time. It being divided into twenty-four equal parts, is emblematical of the twenty-four hours of the day, which we are taught to divide into three equal parts, whereby are found eight hours for the service of God and a distressed worthy Brother, eight for our usual vocations, and eight for refreshment and sleep.

The "Common Gavel" is an instrument made use of by operative Masons to break off the corners of rough stones, the better to fit them for the builder's use, but we as Free and Accepted Masons, are taught to use it for the more noble and glorious purpose of divesting our hearts and consciences of the vices and superfluities of life, thereby fitting our minds as living stones for that spiritual building - that house not made with hands - eternal in the heavens.

The "Plumb" is an instrument made use of by operative Masons to try perpendiculars, the "Square" to square their work, and the "Level" to prove horizontals, but we, as Free and Accepted Masons are taught to use them for more noble and glorious purposes. The "Plumb" admonishes us to walk uprightly in our several stations before God and man, squaring our actions by the Square of Virtue, ever remembering that we are traveling upon the Level of Time, toward "that undiscovered country from whose bourne no traveler returns."

The "Trowel" is an instrument made use of by operative Masons to spread the cement which unites the building into one common mass; but we as Free and Accepted Masons, are taught to use it for the more noble and glorious purpose of spreading the cement of brotherly love and affection; that cement which unites us into one sacred band, or society of friends and brothers, among whom no contention should ever exist, but that noble contention, or rather emulation, of who best can work and best agree.

The "Setting Maul", in operative Masonry is used for setting stones, that is, tapping them to a firm seat in the mortar by urging them sideways into place. It is considered by some to be a symbol of untimely death.

The "Coffin" containing the remains of a deceased friend and Brother reminds Masons that we are the custodians of a great heritage passed along to us in the story of the "Hiramic
Legend".

The "Sprig of Acacia" is the symbol of the immortality of the soul; as the flower, which "cometh forth and is cut down", reminds us of the transitory nature of human life.

The "Beehive" is an emblem of industry. It teaches us that we came into this world rational and intelligent beings, so should we be industrious ones.

The "Sword Pointing to a Naked Heart" demonstrates that Justice will sooner or later overtake us, and that although our thoughts, words and actions may be hidden from the eyes of man, they are not hidden to the All-Seeing Eye.

The "Tassel" consists of a cord with tassels on the end. It represents the "Mystic Tie"; that bond which unites men of diverse opinions into one sacred band of Friends and Brothers. In closing, the ceremonies and lectures in Symbolic Masonry beautifully illustrate this all-engrossing subject; and the conclusion we arrive at is... that youth, properly directed, leads us to honorable and virtuous maturity, and that the life of man, regulated by morality, faith and justice, will be rewarded at its final hour by the prospect of eternal bliss, and he who has received from his Master this approving language... "Well done, good and faithful servant;
thou has been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things; enter thou into the joys of thy Lord".


Bibliography

"Encyclopedia of Freemasonry" by Albert G. Mackey, MD, 33 Degree. Revised Edition under William J. Hughan, 32 Degree and Edward L. Hawkins, MA, 30 Degree. Volumes
No. 1 & 2 Published by The Masonic History Company, New York & London, 1917.

"The Florida Masonic Monitor", Twenty-third Edition, Prepared by the Committee on Work,
GL #214, 1992. James W. Creecy, Chairman.

"The Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania Poster" reprinted January 1985 by Museum Curator and Librarian Bro. Frank W. Bobb titled "Bro. George Washington's Apron" as presented by the Marquis de Lafayette at Mt. Vernon in August of 1784.

Acknowledgements

Hon. Elmer G. Coffman, Chairman, Committee on Work, Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of F. & A.M. of Florida.

Hon. M. W. David Eschrich, Chairman, Jurisprudence, Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of
F. & A.M. of Florida.

Hon. M. W. J. Roy Crowther, Grand Treasurer & Historian, Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of F. & A.M. of Florida.

Hon. R. W. Hubert Maston, Chairman, History & Museum Committee, Most Worshipful
Grand Lodge of F. & A. M. of Florida.

Hon. Anthony E. Rhoades, Webmaster, Florida Masonic Museum, www.tntpc.com
Webmaster E-mail: tony@tntpc.com

Hon. Frank W. Bobb, Jr., Curator, Masonic Library and Museum of Pennsylvania, One
North Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA. 19107-2520

    Brother Darrell G. Waddell (#760) (Honorary Member of Valley Lodge #511) - Webmaster