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timber, or metal, was wrought and prepared before they were brought to Jerusalem ; so that the only tools made use of in erecting the fabric were wooden instruments prepared for that purpose. The noise of the axe, the hammer, and every other tool of metal, was confined to the forests of Lebanon, where the timber was procured ; and to Mount Libanus, and the plains and quarries of Zeredathah, where the stones were raised, squared, marked, and numbered ; that nothing might be heard among the Masons at Jerusa lenı, but harmony and peace.
In the year of the world 3029, king Solomon died, and was succeeded by his son Rehoboam, who immediately after the death of his father went down to Sechem, where the chiefs of the people were inet together to proclaim him king.
When Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, who was in Egypt, whither he had fled from the presence of Solomon, and whose ambition had long aspired to the throne, heard ofthe death of the king, he hastened to return from Egypt, to put himself at the head of the discontented tribes, and lead them on to rebellion. He accordingly assembled them together, and came to king Rehoboam, and spake to him after this mapper :
“ Thy father made our yoke grierous ; now, therefore, ease thou somewhat the grievous servitude of thy father, and his heavy yoke that he put upon us, and we will serve thee. And he said unto them, Come again arto me after three days. And the people departed. And king Rehoboam took counsel with the old men that had strođ before Solomon his father while he yet lived, saying, What counsel give ye me, to return answer to this people? And they spake unto him, saying, If thou be kind to this people, and please them, and speak good words to them, they will be thy servants for ever. But he forsook the counsel which the old men gave bim, and took counsel of the young men that were brought up with him, that stood before him. And he said unto them, What adpice give ye, that we may return answer to this people,
which have spoken to me, saying, Ease somewhat the yoke that thy father did put upou us? And the young men that were brought up with him spake unto him, saying, Thus shalt thou answer the people that spake unto thee, saying, Thy father made our yoke heavy, but make thou it somewhat lighter for us, thus shalt thou say unto them, My little finger shall be thicker than my father's loins. For, whereas my father put a heavy yoke upon you, I will put more to your yoke :my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions. So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam on the third day, as the king bade, saying, Come again to me on the third day. And the king answered them roughly; and king Rehoboam forsook the counsel of the old men'; and answered them after the advice of the young men, saying, My. father made your yoke heavy, but I will add thereto; my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions, And when all Israel saw that the king would not hearken unto them, the people answered the king, saying, What portion have we in David ? and we have no inheritance in the son of Jesse : every man to your tents, O Israel! and now, David, see to thine own house, So all Israel went to their tepts." --See 2 Chron. ch. X.
But as to the children of Israel that dwelt in the cities of Judah and Banjamin, Rehoboam reigned over them.
In this manner were the tribes of Israel dirided, and under two distinct goveroments, for 254 years, when the ten revolted tribes, having become weak and degenerated, by following the wickedness and idolatry of the kings who gov. erned them, fell a prey to Shalmaneser, king of Assyria, who, in the reign of Hoshea, king of Israel, besieged the city of Samaria, laid their country waste, and utterly extirpated their government. Such was the wretched fate of a people who disdained subjection to the laws of the house of Da. vid, and whose impiety and effemipacy ended in their de struction.
After a series of changes and events, of which an account, may be found in the history of the temple, Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, with his forces, took possession of Jerusalem, and having made captive Jehoiachim the king of Judah, elevated his uncle Zedekiah to the throne, after binding him by a solemn oath neitber to make innovations in the government, nor to take part with the Egyptians in their wars against Babylon.
At the end of eight years, Zedekiah violated his oath to Nebuchadnezzar, by forming a treaty offensive and defensive with the Egyptians; thinkiug that jointly they could subdue the king of Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar immediately marched and rayaged Zedekiah's country, seized his cas
tle and fortress, and proceeded to the siege of Jerusalem. · Pharaoh, learning how Zedekiah was pressed, advanced
to his relief, with a view of raising the siege. Nebuchadnezzar, having intimation thereof, would not wait his ap-, proach, but proceeded to give him battle, and in one contest drove him out of Syria. This circumstance suspended the siege.
In the ninth year of Zedekiah's reign, the king of Babylon again besieged Jerusalem, with a large army, and for a a year and a half exerted all his strength to conquer it ; but the city did not yield, thongh enfeebled by famine and pestilence.
In the eleventh year the siege went on vigorously ; the Babylonians completed their works, having raised towers all round the city so as to drive the invaded party from its walls. The place, though a prey to plague and famine, was obstinately defended during the space of a year and a half. But at length, want of provisions and forces compelled its surrender, and it was accordingly delivered, at midnight, to the officers of Nebuchadnezzar.
Zedekiah, seeing the troops enter the temple, ab-. sconded by a parrow pass to the desert, with his officers and friends : but advice of his escape being given to the Babylonians, they pursued them early in the morning,
ROYAL ARCH MASON.
and surrounded them near Jericho, where they were
After this victory, Nebuchadnezzar despatched his
In the seventieth year of the captivity of the Jews, and the first of the reign of Cyrus, king of Persia, he issued his famous edict, purporting that the God adored by the Israelites was the eternal being through whose bounty he enjoyed the regal dignity; and that he had found himself honourably mentioned by the prophets of ancient date, as the person who should cause Jerusalem to be rebuilt, and restore the Hebrews to their former state of grandeur and independency ; he, therefore, gave or. ders for the release of the captives, with his permission to return to their own dative country, to rebuild the city and the house of the Lord.
The principal people of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, with the priests and Levites, immediately depart. ed for Jerusalem and commenced the. under:aking; but many of the Jews determined to remain in Babylon, rather than relinquish the possessions they had obtained in that city.
Charge to a newly exalted Companion. "Worthy Companion,--By the consent and assistance of the members of this chapter, you are now exalted to the sublime and honourable degree of a Royal Arch Mo
son. Having attainod this degree, you have arrived at the summit and perfection of ancient Masonry : and are consequently entitled to a full explanation of the mysteries of the order.
" The rites and mysteries developed in this degree have been handed down through a chosen few, unchanged by time, and uncontrolled by prejudice; and we expect and trust they will be regarded by you with the same veneration, and transmitted with the same scrupulous purity to your successors,
." No one can refect on the ceremonies of gaining admission into this place, without being forcibly struck with the important lessops which they teach.
“Here we are necessarily led to contemplate with gratitude and admiration, the sacred source from whence all earthly comforts flow; here we find additional inducements to continue steadfast and immoveable in;the discharge of our respective duties ; and here we are bound, by the most solemn ties, to promote each other's welfare, and correct each other's failings, by advice, admonition, and reproof.
"6 As it is our most earnest desire, and a duty we owe to our com papions of this order, that the admission of every candidate into this chapter should be attended by the approbation of the most scrutinizing eye, we hope always to possess the satisfaction of finding none among us, but such as will promote, to the utmost of their power, the great end of our institution. By paying due attention to this determination, we expect you will never recommeud any candidate to this chapter, whose abilities and knowledge of the foregoing degrees you connot freely vouch for, and whom you do not firmly and confidently believe will fully conform to the principles of our order, abd fulốl the obligations of a royal arch Mason, While such are our members, we may expect to be united in one object, without lukewarmness, inattention, or nega Lect: bụt zeal, fidelity, and affection, will be the distinnisbing characteristics of our society, and that satisfac