CASTING THE MOLTEN SEA
As the spiritual gifts of the SONS OF SETH flowered in Solomon, the wisest of men, and enabled him to conceive and design a marvelous temple, according to the plan of his creator, Jehovah, so Hiram, the clever craftsman, embodied within himself the consummate skill of a long line of ancestral artificers. He possessed the concentrated quintessence of the material knowledge gained by the SONS OF CAIN, while they wrought from the wilderness of the world a concrete civilization; and in the execution of the wonderful Temple of Solomon this superlative skill found full fruition.
Thus this glorious edifice was the chef d'oeurve of both lines, an embodiment of the sublime spirituality of the CHURCHMEN, the SONS OF SETH, combined with the superlative skill of THE CRAFTSMEN, THE SONS OF CAIN. So far, the honors were even, the achievement equal. Solomon was contented; he had carried out the design transmitted to him, he had a place of worship worthy of the Lord he revered; but the soul of Hiram was not satisfied. Armed with the art of ages, he had constructed an incomparable masterpiece in architecture. BUT THE DESIGN HAD NOT BEEN HIS OWN; he had been merely the tool of an unseen architect, Jehovah, working through an intermediary Solomon. This rankled in his heart, for it was as necessary for him to originate as to breathe.
In that ancient age when Cain and Abel first found themselves upon earth, Abel contentedly cared for the flocks CREATED like himself and his parents, Adam and Eve, by Jehovah; but in Cain, semi-divine progeny of the Lucifer Spirit, Samael, and Eve, the creature of Jehovah, divine incentive to ORIGINAL EFFORT burned; he tilled the field and made two blades of grass grow where one grew before; the creative instinct must have expression.
Hiram, being the focus of and having inherited all the CRAFTS OF CAIN, was also invested with the Spirit of Samael intensified in commensurate ratio; therefore he was consumed by an overpowering urge to add something to the Temple that would eclipse the rest of the structure in beauty and importance. Out of the travail of his spirit was born the conception of THE MOLTEN SEA, and this great ideal he proceeded to carry into execution, though heaven and earth held their breath in awe at the audacity of his purpose.
The Bible gives very little information about the molten sea. In Second Chronicles, the fourth chapter, we learn that Hiram made such a vessel, that it was of considerable size, that it stood upon 12 oxen arranged so that their heads were at the periphery of this circular basin and their hind parts were towards its center. It was intended solely for use by the priests. Much is said of a nature to bewilder the reader, but the above salient points prove the signal importance of this instrument, as we shall see when we study and compare the Masonic account with this veiled word of the Bible. The Masonic story runs as follows:
When Hiram had about completed the Temple, he commenced to cast the various vessels required in the service according to designs made by Solomon as agent of Jehovah. Chief among these was the great laver, intended to hold the bath of purification, through which all priests must pass to enter the service of the Lord. This, and all the lesser vessels were successfully cast by Hiram, as recorded in the Bible. But there is an important distinction between the vessel and the molten sea which it was designed by Hiram to contain, and until that had been successfully poured, the vessel was without virtue, so far as purifying properties were concerned; until then it could no more cleanse the sin-stained soul than could a dry basin be utilized to cleanse the body. Nor could Solomon speak the Word, the formula for this wonderful work. None but Hiram knew it. This work was to be his Masterpiece, and IF HE SUCCEEDED, HIS ART WOULD HAVE LIFTED HIM ABOVE THE HUMAN, and made him divine like the Elohim Jehovah. In the garden of Eden, his divine progenitor Samael, had assured his mother, Eve; that she might become "as the Elohim," if she ate of the tree of knowledge. For ages his ancestors had wrought in the world; through the accumulated skill of the Sons of Cain, an edifice had been reared, wherein Jehovah hid himself "behind the veil" and communed only with his chosen priests, the Sons of Seth. THE SONS OF CAIN WERE THRUST OUT OF THE TEMPLE WHICH THEY HAD BUILT, as their father, Cain, had been driven from the garden which he had tilled. This Hiram felt to be an outrage and an injustice; so he applied himself to prepare the means whereby the Sons of Cain might "rend the veil" and open the way to God for "whosoever will."
To this end he sent messengers over the world to collect all the metals with which the Sons of Cain had ever wrought. With his hammer he pulverized them and placed them in a fiery furnace to extract by alchemistry, from each particle, the quintessence of knowledge derived in the experience of working with it. Thus the combined quintessence of these various BASE METALS would form a SPIRITUAL SUBLIMATE OF KNOWLEDGE incomparable in potency, valuable beyond all earthly things. Being of ultimate purity it would contain no color, but resemble a "sea of glass." Whoever should lave in it would find himself endowed with perpetual youth. No philosopher could compare with him in wisdom; this "white stone" knowledge would even enable him to lift the veil of invisibility and meet the superhuman Hierarchs, who work in the world with a potency undreamt of by the masses.
Masonic traditions tell us that Hiram's preparations were so perfect that success would have been assured, had not treachery triumphed. But the incompetent craftsmen whom Hiram had been unable to initiate into the higher degrees, conspired to pour WATER into the vessel cast to receive the Molten Sea; for they knew that the Son of Fire was unskilled in the manipulation of the watery element, and could not combine it with his wonderful alloy. Thus, by frustrating Hiram's cherished plan and spoiling his Masterpiece, they aimed to revenge themselves upon the Master. Solomon had been privately informed of the nefarious plot, but jealousy on account of the Queen of Sheba bound his tongue and stayed his arm, for he hoped that when the ambitious plan of Hiram failed, the affections of the queen would turn from his humiliated rival to himself. He therefore closed eyes and ears to plot and plotters.
When Hiram confidently PULLED THE PLUGS, the liquid fire rushed out, was met by the water, and there was a roar that seemed to shake heaven and earth, while the elements boiled and battled. All but Hiram hid their faces at the awful havoc; then from the center of the raging fire he heard the call of Tubal Cain, bidding him jump into the Molten Sea. Full of faith in his ancestor, who had gone before him upon the path of fire, Hiram obeyed and plunged fearlessly into the flames. Sinking through the disintegrated bottom of the vessel, he was conducted successfully through NINE-ARCH-LIKE layers of the earth to the Center, where he found himself in the presence of Cain, the founder of his family, who gave him instructions relative to blending Water and Fire, and who furnished him with a NEW HAMMER AND A NEW WORD, which would enable him to produce these results. Cain looked into the future and uttered a prophecy which has been partially fulfilled; what remains is in process of realization day by day, and as surely as time goes on all will come to pass.
"You, Hiram," said Cain, "are destined to die with hopes unfulfilled, but many sons will be born to the widow and keep your memory green through the ages, and at length one will come who is greater than you. You shall not wake till the Lion of Judah raises you with the powerful grip of His paw. This day you have received your BAPTISM OF FIRE, but He shall BAPTIZE YOU WITH WATER AND WITH SPIRIT; you, and every son of the widow, who will come to Him. Greater than Solomon, he will build a new city and a Temple wherein the nations may worship. The Sons of Cain and the Sons of Seth shall there meet in Peace, at the sea of glass. And as Melchisedec, King of Salem (Salem means Peace,) and Priest of God, ministered to Abraham, the father of nations, when mankind was yet in its infancy, so shall this new Light combine in Himself the dual office of King and Priest after the order of Melchisedec. He shall judge the nations with THE LAW OF LOVE and to him that overcometh will be given a White Stone with a name that will serve as passport to the temple. There he may meet the king FACE TO FACE.
Hiram was again conducted to the surface of the earth and as he walked from the scene of his shattered ambition, the conspirators set upon and fatally wounded him; but before he expired, he hid the hammer and disc upon which he had inscribed the Word. This was never found until ages later when Hiram, "the widow's Son," was reborn as Lazarus and became the friend and pupil of the Lion of Judah, who raised him from death through initiation. When the hammer was found it had the shape of a CROSS, and the disc had become a ROSE. Therefore Hiram took his place among the immortals under the new and symbolical name: Christian Rosenkreuz.
He founded the Order of Temple-Builders which bears his name; in that Order aspiring souls are still instructed how to fuse the base metals and make the White Stone.