Legend of the Third Degree

The most important and significant of the legendary symbols of Freemasonry is, undoubtedly, that which relates to the fate of Hiram Abif, commonly called, "by way of excellence," the Legend of the Third Degree. The first written record that Doctor Mackey had been able to find of this legend is contained in the second edition of Anderson's Constitutions, published in 1738 (page 14), and is in these words: It (the Temple) was finished in the short space of seven years and six months, to the amazement of all the world; when the capstone was celebrated by the Fraternity with great joy. But their joy was soon interrupted by the sudden death of their dear master Hiram Abif, whom they decently interred in the Lodge near the Temple, according to ancient usage.

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