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unknown to the ancients, although it might be going too far to say they had no grain similar to the
Indian maize from which our great corn crop has grown.

An ear of grain has been an emblem of plenty since the mists of antiquity which shroud the
beginnings of mythology. Ceres, goddess of abundance, survives today in our cereals. The Greeks
call her Demeter, a corruption of Gemeter, our mother earth. She wore a garland of grain and
carried ears of grain in her hand. The Hebrew Shibboleth means both an ear of corn and a flood
of water. Both are symbols of abundance, plenty and wealth. American Masonic use of a sheaf
of wheat in place of an ear of wheat - or any other grain such as corn - seems rather without point
or authority. As for the substitution occasionally heard, of “water ford” for “water fall,” we can
only blame the corrupting influence of time and the ignorance of those who have permitted it, since
a water “Ford” signifies a paucity, the absence of water, while a water “Fall” carries out both the
translation of the word and the meaning of the ear of corn - plenty.

Scarcely less important to our ancient brethren than their corn and oil, was the wine. Vineyards
were highly esteemed both as wealth and as a comfort - the pleasant shade of the “vine and fig
tree” was a part of ancient hospitality. Vineyards on mountain sides or hills were most carefully
tended and protected against washing away by terraces and walls, as even today one may see the
hillsides of the Rhine. Thorn hedges kept cattle from helping themselves to the grapes. The
vineyardist frequently lived in a watch tower or hut on an elevation to keep sharp look-out that
neither predatory man nor beast took his ripening wealth.

The feast of Booths, in the early fall, when the grapes were ripe, was a time of joy and happiness.
“New Wine” - that is, the unfermented, just pressed-out juice of the grape - was drunk by all.
Fermented wine was made by storing the juice of the grape in skins or bottles. Probably most of
the early wine of Old Testament days was red, but later the white grape must have come into
esteem - at least, it is the principal grape of production for that portion of the world today.

Corn, wine and oil were the wages paid our ancient brethren. They were the “Master’s Wages” of
the days of King Solomon. Masons of this day receive no material wages for their labors; the work
done in a lodge is paid for only in the coin of the heart. But those wages are no less real. They
may sprout as does the grain, strengthen as does the wine, nourish as does the oil. How much we
receive and what we do with our wages depends entirely on our Masonic work. A brother obtains
from his lodge and from his Order only what he puts into it. Our ancient brethren were paid for
their physical labors. Whether their wages were paid for work performed upon the mountain and
in the quarries, or whether they received corn, wine and oil because they labored in the fields or
vineyards, it was true then, and it is true now, that only “in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat
bread.” To receive the equivalent of corn, wine and oil, a brother must labor. He must till the
fields of his own heart or build the temple of his own “house not made with hands. “He must labor
to his neighbor or carry stones for his brother’s temple.

If he stands, waits, watches and wonders he will not be able to ascend into the Middle Chamber
where our ancient brethren received their wages. If he works for the joy of working, does his
part in his lodge work, takes his place among the laborers of Freemasonry, he will receive corn,
wine and oil in measures pressed down and running over, and know a Fraternal Joy as substantial
in fact as it is ethereal in quality; as real in his heart as it is intangible to the profane of the world.

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