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THE WINDING STAIRS

There were no winding stairs in Solomon's Temple, no stairs at all except for the steps that led to the little rooms in the outer walls, therefore the winding stairs in the Fellowcraft Degree are manifestly symbolical. This is made all the more obvious by the fact that the steps are divided into groups of 3, 5 and 7, a thing; undoubtedly inherited from the days when these numbers had for men a mystical significance that has perhaps escaped us. Concerning the definitely symbolical meanings of these things there will ever be a deal of debate, but there call be little difference or opinion concerning the general idea involved. Human life, if it is ever to achieve anything, if it ever arrives in the Holy of Holies, is, to quote the beautiful old words of Emerson, "an ascending effort." We can never rest on our oars. Always it is effort, effort, and then more effort, climb after climb, step above step. Something in the depths of our souls seems to demand it; the manner in which the world is built makes it necessary.

These steps do not stand vertical or in a straight incline, but wind. It reminds us of one of the most sparkling books of recent years, a volume by Allen Upward called The New World, in which that learned English barrister works out a theory that all vital activity in this world is spiral in its pattern so that life itself winds about and about in its ascending effort. There is something more than fancy in this, if one may trust his own experiences, for in our development upwards towards more strength, wisdom and grace we now and again seem to return to some point from which we started except that we are above it, and therefore see our old truths in a new light.

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