We may have come across freemason symbols in many places including architecture, cinemas, and literature. For many of us, our understanding of them remains just superficial. Nearly all those symbols were used in ancient times.
The early freemasons and stonemasons used many of these symbols in conjunction with trading tools. Examples of such tools include: Masonic apron, gavel, compass, square, level, and trowel gauge.
The presentation of God as an authoritative figure who does not rule forcefully is the cornerstone influencing masonic philosophy. If this were not the case, freedom and the rule of law would be foreign concepts. The choice to believe or not to believe in God’s sovereignty is subject to one’s inclination.
The authority of God in the universe is imitated by the master of the freemasons lodge. During a ritual in a Masonic degree, a candidate is informed that the Master is stationed on the east always, while the senior and junior wardens are stationed at the west and south respectively.
One of the tools handed to the lodge master during his official installation by the installing officer is the Masonic gavel. The gavel is meant to be an official sign of his leadership. However, he can choose to use the authority positively or negatively. Bottom line is that authority can be exercised in wise restraint rather than coercion. King Solomon in the Bible is said to be the sole inspiration of this philosophy.
The common gavel, which is used by stonemasons, has one pointed end. It is used to shape stones and bricks. The Masonic gavel is used figuratively in the same way as a signifier of chipping away the uncontrolled nature of man.
The implication of the Masonic gavel is that the bearer does not replace divine authority but rather, restrains his own will in order to be used as a conduit for the order of divine authority. The sceptre, which is represented by the gavel, highlights this point. Lack of respect towards the free will of the subjects by the master is interpreted as a failure on his part.
A master who exercises restraint symbolically grants the brethren freedom to feel the loving guidance of their deity. This kind of master uses the message behind the gavel’s sceptre for his subject’s good by keeping his naturally impulsive side under control.
During the Masonic journey, candidates are also instructed that the compass is an important tool for teaching In their dealing with other men, particularly other masons, they are to keep their passions and desires at bay.
The general intention of freemasonry teachings is to teach the students on how to live and interact with others peacefully through restraint of the natural unregenerate man.