The Tassels

Pendant to the four corners of the Lodge room are four tassels. These four tassels are described as referring to the four principle points — the guttural, pectoral, manual and pedal — and through them to the four cardinal virtues, namely Temperance, Fortitude, Prudence and Justice, the practices of which are inculcated in the first degree.

N/W: GUTTURAL, from the Latin 'guttur', the throat. The throat is that avenue of the body which is most employed in the sins of intemperance, and hence it suggests to the Mason certain symbolic instructions in relation to the virtue of Temperance. Temperance refers to the entrance upon the penal responsibilities, and suggests to the Mason who properly appreciates the secrets which he has solemnly promised never to reveal that he will not, by yielding to the unrestrained call of appetite, permit reason and judgement to lose their seats, and subject himself, by the indulgence in habits of excess of excess, to discover that which should be concealed, and thus merit and receive the scorn and detestation of his brethren. And lest any brother should forget the danger to which he is exposed in the unguarded hours of dissipation, the virtue of temperance is wisely impressed upon his memory by its reference to one of the most solemn portions of the ceremony of initiation.

N/E: PECTORAL, from the Latin 'pectus', the breast. The heart has always been considered the seat of fortitude and courage, and hence by this word is suggested to the Mason certain symbolic instructions in relation to the virtue of Fortitude, whose excellencies are dilated in the first degree. It not only instructs the worthy Mason to bear the ills of life with becoming resignation, but by its intimate connection with a portion of our ceremonies, it teaches him to let no dangers shake, no pains dissolve the inviolable fidelity he owes to the trusts reposed in him. Or, in the words of the old Prestonian lecture, it is "a fence or security against any attack that might be made upon him, by force or otherwise to extort from him any of our Royal Secrets".

S/E: MANUAL, relating to the hand from the Latin 'manus', a hand. Masons are, in a peculiar manner reminded, by the hand, of the necessity of a prudent and careful observance of all their pledges and duties, and hence this organ suggests certain symbolic instructions in relation to the virtue of Prudence. Prudence is one of the four cardinal virtues, the practice of which is inculcated upon the Entered Apprentice. Prudence is the true guide to human understanding, and consists in judging and determining with propriety what is to be said or done upon all our occasions, what dangers we should endeavour to avoid, and how to act in all our difficulties.

S/W: PEDAL, belonging to the feet, from the Latin 'pedes', the feet. The just man is he who, firmly planting his feet on the principles of right, is as immoveable as a rock, and can be thrust from his upright position neither by the allurements of flattery nor the frowns of arbitrary power. And hence this word is suggested to the Mason certain symbolic instructions in relation to one of the cardinal virtues, Justice, which is inculcated in the first degree. The Mason who remembers how emphatically he has been charged to preserve an upright position in all his dealings with mankind should never fail to act justly to himself, to his brethren and to the world. This is the cornerstone on which alone he can expect "to erect a superstructure alike honourable to himself and to the Fraternity".

Therefore, Temperance, Fortitude, Prudence and Justice designate the Perfect Points of Entrance, and are so called because they refer to the four important points of initiation. The Guttural refers to the entrance upon the penal responsibilities; the Pectoral to the entrance into the Lodge; the Manual to the entrance on the covenant; and the Pedal to the entrance on the instructions in the Northeast.

Transcribed from the GLBC Bulletin, Jan. 1980 by Jim Bennie, PM Nos. 65 & 44, Vancouver

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