By: R.W.Bro. J.H.Young; Editor, Tracing Board, GRS;
December, 1973.

From the first moment when he hears the Charge in the ante-room, to the sublime instant when he is raised to a Master Mason, the candidate is marching steadily forward to greater light and the great secret of Freemasonry. It is a great secret, and yet it is no secret in the sense that it must not be told since the Bible, the Church as well as Freemasonry the world over, herald it to all men viz-the truth of immortality and a life beyond.

And if the All-Seeing Eye is the most ancient in the ritual of Masonry, then the grandest of the symbols and emblems of the Master Degree, the Sprig of Acacia holds the greatest comfort. As a symbol of hope this sprig of evergreen marks the temporary resting place of the departed, for is it not the whole drama of the Master Mason Degree one which teaches in the most simple terms the immortality of the soul.

The Acacia tree grows abundantly in many parts of the Eastern lands, though more especially in the Holy Land. It attains a great height and is among the hardest of wood. It is one of the evergreens, and in contrast to other varieties of trees which shed their leaves, the Acacia is a perpetual reminder of life. Among the Jews it was held in great reverence and respect and was used in building the Tabernacle in the wilderness, as well as many other articles of furniture which made up the complete Temple of worship such as the ark, the table for the shew-bread and other sacred pieces of furniture. Of its boughs, it has been said, was woven the crown of thorns the Christ wore. The Acacia has other peculiar characteristics in that life seems so strong in it that it is stated on authority that when it is cut and used as building parts where a portion of it touches the ground that it will sprout and grow again. From it a very fine species of arabic gum is secured. The Arabs as well as the Jews hold it in the highest esteem. The Acacia has then always been consecrated from among the many other trees by virtue of the sacred purposes to which it has been used. Masons have appropriated this hallowed and sacred tree to equally sacred purposes of a symbol that teaches and conveys the lessons of an after life. Indeed, it is incorporated into the funeral service in these or similar words - "this evergreen is the emblem of our faith in the immortality of the soul; by this we are reminded that we have a mortal part which never dies." In the stately prayer in the Master Mason degree we hear - "For there is hope of a tree that if it is cut down it will sprout again." Later we learn of man who "comes forth as a flower and is cut down by the scythe of time which gathers him to the land where his fathers have gone before him."

Where is that land many Freemasons have asked? In reply is incorporated into that glorious immortality symbolized by the Sprig of Acacia; there is that boundless certainty of spiritual revival though it also implies and takes for granted a large measure of faith. That Sprig of Acacia is not only the emblem of a future but also of faith - a faith which brings peace and happiness to the spirit.