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CHALK, CHARCOAL, AND CLAY

By these three substances are beautifully symbolized the three qualifications for the servitude of an Entered Apprentice---freedom, fervency, and zeal. Chalk is the freest of all substances, because the slightest touch leaves a trace behind. Charcaal, the most fervent, because to it, when ignited, the most obdurate metals yield; and Clay, the most zealous, because it is constantly employed in man's service, and is as constantly reminding us that from it we all came, and to it we must all return. In the earlier lectures of the eighteenth century, the symbols, with the same interpretation, were given as Chalk, Charcaal, and Earthen Pan.

- Source: Mackey's Encyclopedia of Freemasonry


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