Lesson 1: Mackey's Encyclopedia of Freemasonry - CORN, WINE, AND OIL

CORN, WINE, AND OIL

Corn, wine, and oil are the Masonic elements of consecration. The adoption of these symbols is supported by the highest antiquity. Corn, wine, and oil were the most important productions of Eastern countries; they constituted the wealth of the people, and were esteemed as the supports of life and the means of refreshment David enumerates them among the greatest blessings that we enjoy, and speaks of them as “wine that maketh glad the heart of man, and oil to make his face to shine, and bread which strengtheneth man’s heart” (Psalm civ., 15). In devoting anything to religious purposes, the anointing with oil was considered as a necessary part of the ceremony, a rite which has descended to Christian nations. The tabernacle in the wilderness, and all its holy vessels, were, by God’s express command, anointed with oil; Aaron and his two sons were set apart for the priesthood with the same ceremony ; and the prophets and kings of Israel were consecrated to their offices by the same rite.

Hence, Freemasons’ Lodges, which are but temples to the Most High, are consecrated to the sacred purposes for which they were built by strewing corn , wine, and oil upon the Lodge, the emblem of the Holy Ark. Thus does this mystic ceremony instruct us to be nourished with the hidden manna of righteousness, to be refreshed with the Word of the Lord, and to rejoice with joy unspeakable in the riches of divine grace. “Wherefore, my brethren,” says the venerable Harris (Discourse iv, 81), “wherefore do you carry corn, wine, and oil in your processions, but to remind you that in the pilgrimage of human life you are to impart a portion of your bread to feed the hungry, to send a cup of your wine to cheer the sorrowful, and to pour the healing oil of your consolation into the wounds which sickness hath made in the bodies, or afflictions rent in the heart, of your fellow-travelers?”

In processions, the corn alone is carried in a golden pitcher, the wine and oil are placed in silver vessels, and this is to remind us that the first, as a necessity and the “staff of life,” is of more importance and more worthy of honor than the others, which are but comforts.

WINE

One of the elements of Masonic consecration, and, as a symbol of the inward refreshment of a good conscience is intended, under the name of the Wine of Refreshment, to remind us of the eternal refreshments which the good are to receive in the future life for the faithful performance of duty in the present.

OIL

The Hebrews anointed their Kings, Prophets, and High Priests with oil mingled with the richest spices. They also anointed themselves with oil on all festive occasions, whence the expression in Psalm xlv, 7, “God hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness (see Corn, ravine and Oil).

CORN OF NOURISHMENT

One of the three elements of Masonic consecration (see Corn, Wine, and Oil).