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SRA 76

Volume 17 Issue 1 No. 131 January 2021

Monthly Magazine

Cover Story, The Poet Burns and Freemasonry Truth is a Divine Attribute The Two Pillars Did You Know? Lodge Stewards Lodge St. John Bangkok No. 1072 Famous Freemasons – Eddie Cantor The Old Past Master The Soul of Freemasonry The Tao of Freemasonry The Building Code – A Poem Freemasonry…Veiled in allegory… The Back Page – The Final Toast 1 Main Website – ‘Robert Burns’ by Wallace McLeod

In this Issue: Cover Story ‘The Poet Burns and Freemasonry’ Another obscure article about Robert Burns and Freemasonry that the Editor came upon from 1873 and reproduced here, mistakes and all. Page 6, ‘Truth is a Divine Attribute’ Exposing another Masonic Myth! Page 10, ‘The Two Pillars’ Page 11, ‘Did You Know?’ Questions about the Craft. Page 13, ‘Lodge Stewards’ They don’t really do much, do they? Page 16, ‘Lodge St. John Bangkok No. 1072.’ A History of one of our Old Scottish Lodges. Page 18, ‘Eddie Cantor’ Famous Freemasons. Page 22, ‘The Old Past Master.’ “Ancient Landmarks”, Eighteenth in the series. Page 23, ‘Reflections.’ The Soul of Freemasonry Page 27, ‘The Tao of Freemasonry.’ Tao Te Ching – The Way! Page 29, ‘The Building Code’ – a poem. Page 30, “Freemasonry…Veiled in allegory…” Page 31, ‘The Back Page.’ The Final Toast. In the Lectures website The article for this month is ‘Robert Burns’ by Wallace McLeod. [link] Front cover –The statue of Robert Burns at Stirling. (The editor’s old school is at the bastion on the town wall.) 2


Lodge began his acquaintance with Gavin Hamilton, whom the poet thus describes. — "The poor man 's friend in need; The gentleman in word and deed." Amongst others, he then became intimate with Dr. Mackenzie, who married one of the celebrated "Mauchline Bells." John Ballantine, to whom "The Brigs of Ayr" were inscribed, and by whose exertions was erected the new "brig," opened on the 22nd November, 1786, when a grand Masonic demonstration took place; William Wallace, Sheriff of Ayrshire, respecting whom the poet wrote.

In a little work, intended for private circulation, an author, concealing himself under the title of “A Son of the Rock¹,” has given some interesting facts regarding the Masonic career of the poet Robert Burns, which deserve a place in the pages of The Freemason.

"Heaven bless your honoured, noble name. To Masonry and Scotia dear."

The author starts by stating that Masonry was the "Great propelling power of the poet, influencing his thoughts, inspiring his muse, and nurturing that stern love of independence and brotherhood which are universally acknowledged to have been predominant characteristics of his manhood."

and John Rankine, of Adamhill, who was also a member of the lodge, was a great humorist and great companion of the poet. After settling at Mossgiel, the poet held lodges at Mauchline, and in July, 1714, he was elected Depute Master of St. James's Lodge, signing the minutes "Robert Burness" till the 1st March, 1785, when his name appears as it was afterwards known to the world. Professor Dugald Stewart, who visited the Masonic lodge at Mauchline, where Burns presided, thus speaks of him," He had occasion to make some short unpremeditated compliments to different individuals, from whom he had no reason to expect a visit, and everything he said was happily conceived, and forcibly as well as fluently expressed. In the early part of 1786, Burns went to Kilmarnock, to arrange for the publication of the first edition of his poems, when he visited St. John's Lodge, where he was surrounded by the brethren of the mystic tie, who were friends and patrons of the forthcoming volume. One of the most eminent of these was Bro. Thomas Samson, seedsman, hero of the well-known "Elegy,"

With few exceptions, the poet's patrons, associates, correspondents, &c—in fact all whose names are made memorable by his genius—were linked together in the Masonic chain. On the 4th July, 1781, when Burns was in his 23rd year, he was initiated at St. David's Lodge, Tarbolton—a memorable event for him, who was so full of human nature and brotherly earnestness. In the following year a disruption took place, when the separating portion reconstituted the old lodge of St. James, Tarbolton, which had formerly existed, and to which Burns adhered with all the fervour of new love and light. Major-General Montgomery, a scion of the noble house of Eglintoun, was the first W. M.; and though the poet removed to Mossgiel, about three miles distant, he never missed attendance at any of the meetings. In the St. James's 3

at whose house the poet was welcomed with genuine cordiality, and whose sterling worth was thus immortalised after his death.

On the same evening the "Kilwinning" was visited by the Grand Lodge and eight Craft Lodges, and the poet was in a blaze of excitement as he returned to his lodgings in the Lawn Market, after he had been lionised during the evening. Two days afterwards, Henry Mackenzie ("The man of Feeling") a brother Mason published in The Lounger a review of Burns' Kilmarnock poems, in which it was first declared that "a poet of no ordinary rank had been born among the peasantry of Scotland, possessing the spirit as well as the fancy of a poet." On the13th the Courant printed a complimentary epistle in which Burns was spoken of as

"The brethren of the mystic level, May hing their heads in wofu bevel, While by their nose the tears will revel, Like ony bead Death ' s given the lodge an unco devel, Tam Samson ' s dead.' Before leaving Kilmarnock, Burns was admitted an honorary member of St. John's Lodge, on the 26th October, 1786, and he left them his parting benediction, full of brotherly affection. One stanza is certainly worth being quoted and remembered by every brother: —

"The prince o poets and o" ploughmen.” On the same day the poet wrote to a brother Mason— "I have been introduced to a good many of the noblesse but my avowed patrons and patronesses are the Duchess of Gordon, the Countess of Glencairn, with my Lord and Lady Betty (Cunningham), the Dean of Faculty, Sir John Whitefoord, & etc. I have likewise warm friends among the literati, Professor Stewart Blair, and Mr. Mackenzie, the "Man of Feeling." The publication of the poems was pushed forward and warmly supported by the eminent brothers whom he met. On the 11th of January, 1787, the Grand Master visited the ancient Lodge Mary's Chapel, and Burns, who was present, wrote to Ballantine at Ayr: — "I went to a Mason lodge yesternight, where the Most Worshipful Grand Master Charteris and all the Grand Lodge of Scotland visited . The meeting was numerous and elegant; all the different lodges about town were present in all their pomp. The Grand Master, who presided with great solemnity and honour to himself as a gentleman and Mason, among other general toasts, gave 'Caledonia and Caledonia's Bard, Brother Burns,' which rang through the whole assembly with multiplied honours

"Ye powers who preside o'er the wind and the tide, Who marked each element's border, Who formed this frame with beneficent aim, Whose sovereign statute is order; Within this dear mansion may wayward contention, Or withered envy ne'er enter, May secrecy round be the mystical bound, And brotherly love be the centre. The 28th of November, 1786, is the supposed date of the poet's memorable arrival in Edinburgh, where Masonry was in the highest repute at the time, eleven or twelve lodges held monthly meetings, and the officials of the Grand Lodge were in the habit of visiting each lodge once a year. Amongst the officers at that time were the Duke of Atholl, the Earl of Balcarras, Lord Haddo, Sir Wm. Forbes, Col James Murray, Sir. James Hunter Blair, Earl of Buchan, Lord Napier, Lord Banning, Earl of Morton, & etc. On the 7th of December, Burns attended a meeting of the Cannongate Kilwinning Lodge, where he was introduced to the Hon. Henry Erskine, Dean of Faculty. 4

and repeated acclamations. As I had no idea such a thing would happen, I was downright thunderstruck, and, trembling in every nerve, made the best return in my power."

the education and relief of the sons of poor teachers; James Johnson, engraver, musicseller, & etc, to whom the “world is indebted in a large measure for the publication of many valuable songs”; Lord Monboddo, the first pioneer of the Darwinian theory, the Earl of Buchan, a literary celebrity of the day & etc.

On the 1st February, sixteen new members were initiated in the Canongate Kilwinning Lodge, some from Forfarshire, all of whom became Masons to meet Burns, who was then made an honorary member. On the 6th of February the Prince of Wales was initiated, and on the same evening Burns was created Poet Laureate of the Canongate Kilwinning Lodge, an honour which he highly prized

Speaking of the poet 's Edinburgh visits and associations, Robert Chalmers writes— "All the admiring, the disliking, and the indifferent must, we think, admit that Burns, externally a peasant and of peasant breed, but internally a great man, had come through the crisis without the slightest derogation from his true character. Intellectually a giant, he maintained his proportions in convivial scenes which too often caused a sacrifice of the inherent to the accidental, of the true to the false, of the great to the mean. The dignity of the whole picture, as it looms through the saloons of the polite and learned world of Edinburgh, must indeed form a gratifying picture in the minds of all true men whatever. “Masonry”, the author of the brochure adds, "was the keystone of the arch, and Burns was doubtless indebted to the brotherhood for his brilliant reception in the capital, and the generous homage it called forth.

"To please you and praise you, Ye ken your Laureate scorns; The prayer still you share still Of grateful minstrel Burns. He added the title of "Bard" to his signature, and appended his Masonic mark in the Bible he presented to Highland Mary, now treasured in the monument at Alloway kirk. On the 1st April his poems appeared, containing a list of 1500 subscribers names, making up a list of a, 2800 copies. Publisher, printer, portrait painter, and engraver of. the portrait, were a rare class of men—all characters in their way, and all Masons. During a tour through Scotland the poet was made a Royal Arch Mason at the general encampment of St. Abb's Lodge, Eyemouth, on the 19th May, and on the 25th June he was present at a meeting of the Canongate Kilwinning Lodge when Lord Torphichen was elected Master, and Wm. Dunbar, Writer to the Signet, Depute Master— "rattling, roaring Willie. Amongst the members of the Lodge to whom Burns specially attached himself were William Woods, tragedian, for thirty years the reigning dramatic favourite; Louis Cauvin, teacher of French in Edinburgh, who afterwards left money to found a hospital for

If he had not possessed the mystic key to unlock the door of the inner sanctuary he might have had to wait longer for the recognition of his genius. All honour, then to the brotherhood who rallied round him introduced him to their homes and families, and interested themselves in his fame." After continuing faithful to his Masonic allegiance, Burns died on the 21st July, 1796, and the author to whose excellent little work we are indebted for the sketch which we have given, concludes as follows "Masonry was the undercurrent of many a poetical inspiration, and his heart's devout 5

prayer in one of his very latest and noblest songs, sent to Thomson the year before his death: —


"For a' that , an' a' that, It ' s coming yet for a' that; That men to men, the warld o ' er, Shall brothers be for a' that."

Truth is a divine attribute and the foundation of every virtue. “To be a good man and true is the first lesson taught us in Masonry.” Now this may well be the first lesson taught us in Masonry, as well, hopefully in the moral code of our churches, but apparently this first lesson does not make too great an impression on many of our Masonic speakers.

And so with a hearty "Amen" ends our slight framework of biography, in the hope that a more extended and exhaustive work may follow. The Masonic life of Burns has yet to be written by some brother of the Craft competent to do it justice; this stone to the cairn is offered with all the affection of brotherhood without its mysticism. "

There are many offences committed against our newly made Masons but one of the worst, if not the worst, is that committed by many Masonic speakers when they stand before an audience, containing young and impressionable Masons and reiterate some hoary untruth which they have heard or have seen published in one or another Masonic periodical.

From the Editor of ‘The Freemason.’ ¹The Masonic Genius of Robert Burns by Benjamin Ward Richardson Friday, 4th March, 1892. Ars Quatuor Coronatum, Vol.5, 1892, p. 46-53, says of the writer ’Son of the Rock’ "Surely," says an anonymous writer on this subject, " a son of the Rock," as he styled himself, but whom I have since found to have been Mr. James Gibson, of Liverpool, and not himself a Mason, " surely never book came out of a more Masonic laboratory. Publisher, printer, portrait painter, and engraver of the portrait were a rare class of men – all characters in their way - and all Masons." the_masonic_genius_of_robert_burns.htm

Most of these untruths can be refuted with the most superficial checking. Merely because something has been published in a Masonic publication, even if many times repeated, does not, of necessity, guarantee its authenticity. A good example of this is the world's most complete collection of falsehoods which was published by Colonel James Churchward. This group of prevarications deals with the supposed existence of Freemasonry in Ancient India, in pre-historic South America and makes the statement that Freemasonry came from the legendary and mythical "Lost Continent of Mu.''

(James Gibson, Robert Burns and Masonry, Liverpool 1873) This article appeared in “The Freemason” Nov. 22 1873 and was extracted from that periodical by the Editor of SRA76.

It would appear that no one, possessing even the most rudimentary intelligence, would give the slightest credit to such fantastic 6

tales. Yet, within the last two years, (this written in 1978, ed) all of these works of Churchward's have been republished in paperback editions, are on the news-stands, and are selling at a good rate. If someone with a high Masonic office purchases one of these books, copies some of the statements which it contains, and uses them in a speech, an audience must conclude that the speaker is putting his stamp of approval on these statements. It is difficult to imagine anyone, who has the qualifications to succeed to high office, doing this, but it has been done and has been done more than once.

on these ancient artefacts which may be construed by some well-meaning, but uninformed brother, to be Masonic, is merely wishful thinking on the part of that brother. The earliest constructions in the Western Hemisphere are all less than 2,000 years of age and again, these do not bear any Masonic symbols. There was a correspondence a few years ago with a minister who had supposedly seen a letter "G" on one of the Mayan Temples in Yucatan and who wanted to know if this meant that the Mayans were Masons. He didn't even take into account that the Mayans would not have used the letter "G" and even if they had known the letter they would not, under any circumstances, have assigned to it the same value which we assign to it.

We can't list every falsehood which finds its way into our Masonic speeches but we can closely examine a very few. These are indicative of the rest of the errors. Continuing with the false antiquities of the fraternity, a brother, in one of our Southern states, holding a high Masonic position, and who is apparently overly impressed by the supposed antiquity of the Masonic institution, has begun teaching all of the newly made Masons with whom he comes in contact, that Freemasonry is so very old, that in Central America, on buildings which are over 25,000 years old, Masonic symbols can be found.

Consequently, when he was informed that there could not possibly be any connection, he asked if this meant that there could be mistakes in the works of Colonel Churchward. When he was informed that the works of Colonel Churchward were a tissue of lies, he volunteered the information that he had been making talks to various lodges, as the clergy has a habit of doing, and using the works of Churchward as the basis for these talks. If a minister can be this easily taken in and then be so naive as to use these works for the basis of Masonic speeches, it should be much easier to deceive the normal candidate of our fraternity.

Most of the assertions which he makes are based on the works of Churchward and, no doubt, he makes these statements in good faith. If only he had taken the time to make even a superficial investigation, he would see the absolute incongruity of his position. The Smithsonian states, and a number of archaeological treatises concur with their statements, that the oldest known man made buildings are of Sumerian origin and are between 6,000 and 8,000 years of age.

However, if a young, intelligent, college educated man is told this type of occult drivel. it is of little wonder that he will come to the conclusion that all of Freemasonry is shallow and superficial, when brethren, who are supposedly "well informed" brethren, present such asinine assertions and endeavour to convince him of their veracity.

Of course, these are not elaborately decorated Temples and certainly do not contain any Masonic symbols. Any design 7

Another instance which has received fairly widespread publicity recently concerns a story which is being circulated by one of the highly placed members of our fraternity. Since it is considered bad taste to openly pillory a living brother, this brother shall remain nameless.

this type of publication will become apparent once you read it), is a collection of the most ridiculous puerilities which have ever been the misfortune of any Mason to read. No assertion is too fantastic, no incident is too far-out for the author to chronicle. He makes the most unbelievable types of assertions and does not offer a single iota of proof for any of them. Nearly any high school freshman would dismiss the entire collection as a group of fantasies if not outright falsehoods. Yet the organization continues to peddle the volume thereby putting an apparent stamp of approval on it. By selling and by making this book available to the Masonic public, at least tacit approval of the organization must be deduced. If newly-made Masons buy the book, and if they are thereby induced to believe these false statements, the organization must be prepared to shoulder most of the blame.

We will therefore refer to him as "Brother Nameless'' of Fallen Arch Lodge No. 1313 of Peculiar, Missouri. Actually, "Brother Nameless" has a title long enough that a giraffe would have trouble trying to swallow all of it. "Brother Nameless," in his travels throughout the country, makes the assertion that there is a Masonic lodge in Kowloon, Chine which has existed since 20 A.D. and that, since the 19th century, it has held and worked under a charter from the Grand Lodge of Scotland. The year books of the Grand Lodge of Scotland for the last 100 years would seem to refute this extravagant claim and much correspondence with friends from both China and Japan can furnish no basis for the tale. He (Brother Nameless, that is) also tells a wild, weird and woolly story about a supposed visit of Jesus to both China and Japan, which is not only impossible to verify, but so puerile that it would seem implausible that anyone would give the least iota of belief to it. Yet the followers, wanting to believe, they believe "Brother Nameless" using the high position which he holds to make these ridiculous assertions, continues to purvey false information through Masonic periodicals.

With the bi-centennial celebration approaching within the next few years, the Masonic fraternity is making plans to assist in this great celebration. Unfortunately, some zealous brethren are of the opinion that the entire War of Independence was a Masonic sponsored and Masonic backed enterprise. One of the oldest and one of the most false statements ever made about the American Revolution is the one that 53 of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence were Freemasons. Brother Ronald Heaton of Pennsylvania, in his first book. "Masonic Membership of the Founding Fathers," which is published by the Masonic Service Association, gives al' the known facts about the signers. Brother Heaton was able to authenticate only eight of these signers as members of the Masonic order. Since that time Brother James R. Case of Connecticut has proved the membership of one more, William Ellery. This makes a

There is a book for sale in one of our Masonic shrines which must, undoubtedly, be the worst Masonic book ever written. There are only three types of Masonic books, good books, bad books, and this book. The volume, which was published by one of the vanity publishers (The reason for 8

total of nine Freemasons, which is quite a difference than 53.

faith. When they finally check on some of the statements which they have heard our Masonic speakers make, they are apt to condemn the entire fraternity for the erroneous statements of one or two brethren. Then, when a young man feels that he has joined an organization, which insults his intelligence, we are going to lose him.

Yet, at a banquet of one of the most prestigious of the appendant orders, the speaker, a Supreme Court Justice, made the statement that 53 of the 56 signers were Masons. The Judge hadn't done his homework. However, the thing which compounded the offence and made it nearly a crime was that the editor of one of our leading Masonic periodicals not only complimented the Judge on his speech, but obtained a copy and published it verbatim. Now this is a crime against Masonic education. If the editors of our Masonic magazines do not take time to check out the articles which they receive and publish possible controversial articles without endeavouring to authenticate them, then they deserve any criticism which may come their way.

No matter how hard we try to educate him, no matter how hard we try to eradicate the bad impression made by some speaker. we will find it difficult, if not impossible to do so. First impressions are lasting and if some Masonic speechmaker makes a bad first impression, this will most probably be the impression which the young Masons retain. It is not difficult to authenticate one's sources. If a Masonic speaker will only take the time and trouble to cross check his work and to check any statements which he may wish to use, his speeches may lack some of the flamboyant statements which he has used at previous times, but they will have something much better, they will have truth.

We have had far too much of the Andersons, the Olivers, the Bucks, the Pikes, the Waites, the Kinnamons and other Masonic myth makers; and simple justice to the fraternity makes it imperative that we endeavour to keep the research articles which we publish free from error. Anything in this general area which applies to Masonic publishers applies also to Masonic speakers. They should be judged by the same criteria. Regardless of how impressive a speaker may be, if he is endeavouring to impart information, he should do his utmost to verify the authenticity of that information. Mistakes, errors, and misstatements, in our ritualistic work can be easily explained and the misinformation of our ritual makers can be forgiven, but a man, speaking to a group of young Masons and, either intentionally, or through ignorance, purveying false information, is hard to forgive. The young people of our country today find it extremely difficult to take anything on blind

If our fraternity is to continue to be a force for good, if we are to attract men of high calibre and high intelligence, we must be particularly careful not to insult that intelligence, by telling them a group of unbelievable tales. We must ascertain that we have used our utmost endeavours to see that the statements which we make to our newly admitted members are the truth and nothing but the truth, for:-

"Truth is a Divine Attribute and the Foundation of Every Virtue." This is the another article from “How to Kick a Sacred Cow� series (Main website Oct 2020) Written by Jerry Jerry Marsengill A publication of Iowa Research Lodge # 2 Second Print - December 1978


Biblical account. From other sources we gather that these same designers and craftsmen, initiated Dionysiac architects, were responsible for the magnificent palaces and temples at Byblos, the cultural and esthetic centre of ancient Phoenicia. The Phoenician realm occupied an area roughly the same as that of modern Syria and Lebanon, and in Biblical accounts is usually cal led Tyre, from the name of its then capital city. Byblos, also known as Gub'l or Gebal, the present-day village of Jebeil, was particularly famous for architects and sculptors.


The twin pillars symbolize the dual nature of life and death, positive and negative or rather active (establishment) and passive (endurance), male and female, light and dark, good and evil, uniting in a central point of equilibrium, the apex of an equilateral triangle; a circle between two parallel uprights. Isis represented standing between two pillars of opposing polarity, the Ark of the Covenant between two Cherubim, Christ crucified between two thieves, are all symbols of the same trinity, the completeness and perfection of Deity. That the twin pillars resemble the conventional symbol for Gemini, third sign of the Zodiac, is no accident, but rather due to the common ancestry of the two apparently unrelated symbols. In some lectures the pillars are said to be 35 cubits high, the height given in II Chronicles, King James Version. Another version of the same source gives the height as 120 cubits. Since the height of the first or outer chamber was probably no more than 30 cubits, the measurement given in I Kings: 18 cubits, seems more likely to be correct. The addition of map globes atop the pillars is a modern invention, with little Biblical or other authority and serving little purpose but to permit the lecturer to harp upon the

THE Fellow-Craft is introduced to the wonders of his world of art and science through portals flanked by two massive pillars. Detailed description of these pillars in the Books of Kings indicates a style of design common to Egyptian architecture, where a pillar terminates in a capital representing a conventionalized lotus blossom, or the seed pod of that sacred lily. Such twin pillars are frequently found among Egyptian and Sumerian archaeological remains. The pillars of King Solomon's Temple, and in fact that entire group of structures, were the work of Phoenician artists, according to the 10

advantages of studying astronomy, geography, etc., worthy pursuits but wholly unrelated to the symbolism of the pillars.


Whether the three chambers of the Temple were connected by stairs is debatable. The best-informed scholars believe the Temple roof was flat, in which case the successively decreasing heights of the chambers, plus the somewhat sloping configuration of the site, would require approach and connection by means of either stairways or of some sort of ladder and trapdoor arrangement. Certainly the fantastically elaborate many-storied versions of the Temple depicted by some well-intentioned but ill-informed Bible illustrators and Masonic artists are so illogical and at variance with the few known facts and testimony of both the Bible and history as to seem the figments of a disordered imagination. Josephus stated that the Temple was of Grecian style which implies entablature and consequently a flat roof, although he had the cart before the horse, since Greek architecture was derived from Phoenician, not the reverse.

Question: What was the significance of the two pillars at the entrance to King Solomon’s temple? Answer: Let us go back to the beginning when the children of Israel were held in captivity by the Egyptians. The great architect of the universe was annoyed about their treatment by the Egyptians, so he sent Moses down to talk to the pharaoh about releasing his captive Israelite's. When the pharaoh refused to release then from their bondage the great architect of the universe instructed Moses to cast plagues on the land of Egypt , and instructed Moses to set up the plagues and to ask pharaoh to set his people free. 1st plague was to turn water in to blood 2nd plague was a plague of frogs 3rd plague was a plague of lice 4th plague was a plague of flies 5th plague was a plague of diseased livestock 6th plague was leprosy to pharaoh‘ s people 7th plague was the death of all first born human and animals

In any case, the stairway of our lectures is purely symbolic, consisting as it does of the significant numbers 3, 5, and 7. In such a series, 3 symbolizes such qualities as peace, friendship, justice, piety, temperance, and virtue. 5 represents light, health, and vitality- 7 is a symbol of control, judgment, government, and religion.

At this point pharaoh relented and release the Israelite's from bondage. Then Moses informed them to collect their belonged and to go out into the desert and flee.

The Two Pillars was sourced from the New Age Magazine – January 1964 by H. Jordan Roscoe.

As the Israelite's were many It took them some time to escape into the desert and flee from their Egyptian masters. They then ran across the desert. The desert at night is pitch black and not flat but contains many wadis which are similar to ravines and are dangerous to those fleeing across the desert. 11

So for the Israelite's safety “the great architect of the universe” sent them down a column of fire to light up the dessert for them to flee across it safely.

Question: What Column" signify?




Answer: It is an emblem of mortality and it has no place in our English ritual. In many of our Lodges, it is used as a collecting-box for Alms, but it has no status as a Masonic symbol. In the USA it appears with other symbols in many of the monitorial workings, associated, I believe, with the Master Mason Degree.

Days after the Israelite's had escaped pharaoh decide who was going to finish building his magnificent structures. So pharaoh decided to send his army’s out to bring the Israelite back to his cities. When pharaoh’s army’s came into the desert “the great architect of the universe” send down a pillar of smoke between the army’s and the children of Israel and between the army’s and the children of Israel it turned into night (pitch black) and pharaoh’s army could not see the Israelite's and so they continued to flee across the desert away from their captures.

Question: What does the "Hoodwink" symbolize? Answer: The purpose of this term is to ensure that in case a Candidate refuses to undergo the ceremony, he may be led out of the Lodge without discovering its form. [First Lecture, Section Il]. The symbolism of the Hoodwink is the darkness of ignorance until the light of Masonry is made known to the Candidate.

“The great architect of the universe” instructed King Solomon that when he had erected his magnificent temple he had to put two massive pillars at the entrance to the temple that on the right to be called Boaz and that on the left was called Jachin. So that every time the children if Israel went to work each day they would pass these pillars and be reminded how “their great architect of the universe had safely rescued them from their Egyptian bondage and how he safely brought them across the desert. So the pillars are looked at from outside of the temple. You will hear many arguments about these pillars so remember look at your bible reference sheet and it will explain quite clearly where they were positioned. If you look at some summons you will see the globes on the top the pillar is a globe showing the world this represent the pillar of fire the other one showing the heavens and it starry firmament is the pillar of smoke.

Question: What is the limit of a Mason's charity? Answer: In its pure original sense, e.g. man's love of his neighbour, kindness, affection, with some notion of generous or spontaneous goodness [Oxford English Dictionary] there is no limit to a Mason's charity. In its more common sense of alms, or more substantial gifts to the poor or to institutions, the English ritual specifies the limit, ie, "without detriment to yourself or connections." [dependants]. Question: I would appreciate it if you would tell me the name and date of the earliest document indicating that a candidate for initiation was brought to

This Q & A is a personal view held by W.Bro. Iain Taylor PM (PJGD) delivered to Baxter Lodge #934 AF&AM Victorian constitution March 2020 .and in no way reflect the views or thoughts of the editor and or his Lodge or Mother Constitution.


the door of the lodge blindfolded. In his paper entitled 'Initiation Two Hundred Years Ago' in AQC 75, Bro. Harvey indicates that according to Hiram (1764) the candidate was unable to see. He does not specifically say that he was hoodwinked.

LODGE STEWARDS (they don’t really do much, do they?)

Answer: It is difficult to give a definite reply to your question. In the catechism of the Graham MS of 1726, in answer to the question : 'How came you into the Lodge?' The answer is: 'poor and penniless, blind and ignorant of our secrets' and it seems this would indicate that the candidate was blindfolded. However, there is no reference to the fact in that most famous of exposures, Prichard's Masonry Dissected (1730). Nevertheless it seems certain that the candidate was blindfolded at this time as the French exposure of 1737, Reception d'un Frey- Macon, there is a passage which in translation, reads: '...let him see the light, he has been deprived of it long enough; at that moment his eyes are unbandaged...'.

The Lodge Stewards are exactly what their name implies: The flight attendants of the Lodge. They assist Brethren with mobility issues, fetch glasses of water for officers, etc. During times of Refreshment, they serve meals, clean tables, help in the kitchen, etc. Their ceremonial duties in the Lodge include assisting the Junior Deacon in preparing the candidate for degrees and in purging the Lodge. The Junior Steward is seated on the left of the Junior Warden in the South. The Senior Steward, on the right of the Junior Warden in the South. They carry rods and their emblem is the cornucopia, symbolizing plenty for all. During hours of Refreshment, they report to the Junior Warden. During hours of Labour, they report to the Junior Deacon.

Question: What is the meaning of the term 'St. John's Masonry'? Answer: It is a term sometimes applied to the three Craft Degrees. During the 18th Century an unattached Lodge or Brother was sometimes known as a 'St. John's Lodge' or a 'St. John's Mason'.

The logical place to start is to ask, “What is a steward?” The word, steward, has an interesting etymology. It literally means, “sty-ward”—the manager of the pigsty. Pretty high quality, huh? In the original Anglo-Saxon it is a pig keeper. Later, it was applied to the person who managed the activities in a nobleman’s hall. He was the ward, or manager, of that place where the king or a nobleman would welcome guests, hear requests, make judgments, hold feasts, and other sorts of things. He was in charge of making sure that there was plenty of food for everybody, and that the guests were

The Questions and answers from ‘Did you Know’ were collected from various constitutions across the world, and in no way reflect the views or thoughts of the editor and or his Lodge or Mother Constitution.


introduced and dismissed at the proper times, and so forth.

thing, but it has a more governmental connotation to it. It is an officer responsible for the king’s house. We would probably use the term “treasurer,” or “chamberlain” instead of steward, but it is the same idea. He is the chief officer of a royal court. And in Isaiah 22:15, there was Shebna who was called the treasurer of the court, and he was replaced because he was not being responsible.

But over time, a steward’s responsibilities expanded to include the management of the entire estate of the nobleman, or other rich men. If he had a business, then a steward would be the chief manager of that business for him. He would supervise servants or employees. Depending on the sort of business that it happened to be, he would collect rents, or payments; he would keep the books; he would order provisions and supplies making sure that the storeroom was kept well stocked. And, he did many other things that the boss either could not do, or did not need to be bothered with.

If you remember the book, The Lord of the Rings, there was a city called Minas Tirith that had lost its king, and the stewards who were regents over that city ruled that citystate for hundreds of years. And when the king returned, as faithful stewards should be, they turned the city back over to the king.

The word manager has replaced this term. We do not use steward very much any more. We have even dropped the term for the stewards and stewardesses on passenger planes; they are now flight attendants. So really, it is a word that just about only has its theological meanings left to it in our everyday life, such as in the parable of the unjust steward.

Other words translated “steward” in the Bible may specifically mean “leader,” “officer,” “commander,” or “overseer.” The New Testament only uses two words for this idea. The Greek words “epitropos” and “oikonomos.” Epitropos means “One to whose care something is committed.” Sounds like steward to me. It is translated as steward, guardian, and even tutor. The verb form, “epotropae” means “to turn over to,” like a rich man will turn over his estate to his steward while he is gone. It is used in a situation with the apostle Paul, in a negative light, when he was “commissioned” by the priests in Jerusalem to go to Damascus and put into prison true believers of the way. He was commissioned—made a steward—of this task, and sent to Damascus to carry it out. This word is also found in Matthew 20:8, Luke 8:3, and Galatians 4:2. They are used generally where so and so is a steward, and that sort of thing.

Stewardship, then, is the conducting, supervising, or managing of something. And it usually means, “The careful and responsible management of something that has been entrusted into your care.” We use is like, “The nation is responsible for the stewardship of its natural resources.” Or, you have been given a sum of money in trust (a trustee); you would be a steward of that money. The Bible’s use of the term “steward” is very similar to the dictionary definition of the term. The Old Testament uses a phrase that means, “One who is over a house,” just like Joseph was a steward over the household of Potiphar. Another word is the Hebrew “soken,” means basically the same

Now, oikonomos literally means “House arranger; one who arranges the household.” It is also defined as house manager, steward, governor, treasurer, and chamberlain. 14

You probably noticed that all these definitions are very much the same, both in our usage of the word, the Old Testament usage of the word, and the New Testament usage too. It is very clear throughout the whole Bible that a steward is one who manages something entrusted to him by another, more often by a superior who entrusts things to him. He is accountable to guard, maintain, and even enhance what has been entrusted to him. A steward is always under authority of another, and must report his progress to his superior on occasion. A businessman would not expect to have a steward and not be told what is going on. It is part of his duties. He must report his progress to his superior.

for building the temple in Jerusalem. These men did a good job. They were worthy of the trust that David put into them. Now, this idea of managing money is the main understanding that the Protestants have of stewardship. And, if you read any of their articles on stewardship, you will find that they mostly key in on stewardship of the ministry over the church’s funds. That is good and right, and should be considered. However, even though they seemed to be aware of the more spiritual meanings, not just for the ministry but for the lay members as well, most of their discussions of stewardship seems to end with the using of one’s tithes, and church finances. This is not wrong. But it is only the most rudimentary of the applications of the idea of stewardship. It is incomplete.

Let us see how it is used in the Bible, and watch these ideas surface. I Chronicles 28:1 Now David assembled at Jerusalem all the leaders of Israel: the officers of the tribes and the captains of the divisions who served the king, the captains over thousands and captains over hundreds, and the stewards over all the substance and possessions of the king and of his sons, with the officials, the valiant men, and all the mighty men of valour.

The concepts of khalifa, stewardship, and amana, trust, emerge from the principle of tawhid. The Quran explains that mankind holds a privileged position among God’s creations on earth: he is chosen as khalifa, “vice-regent” and carries the responsibility of caring for God’s earthly creations. Each individual is given this task and privilege in the form of God’s trust. But the Quran repeatedly warns believers against arrogance: they are no better than other creatures.

Now, this is a steward of a different colour. These stewards were considered leaders of Israel. They had in their charge all the riches that David possessed, as well as the possessions of his sons. Notice that it is “stewards,” plural. They needed many money managers to look after all David’s family’s substance. They were extremely trustworthy men to have all this money in their hands to do with as they would, and as David directed them. And, there is no indication that they fell down on the job, because David was able to lay up an incredible amount of materials—gold and silver, precious gems, wood and stone—all

Even the Buddhists believe that we are Stewards of the world, and it is in our care. So as Lodge Stewards we are charged with every care that the lodge and its members may have. This takes us back to the reference of lodge Stewards being the grunts. Let us not forget that they are the backbone of the lodge and without their diligence to their duty the lodge would struggle and fail. 15

Lodge St. John Bangkok No. 1072

“The Steward is, in my opinion, one of the most important roles and one of the most overlooked by all Brothers.” A good Steward will know that he has done his job, by the lack of complaining by the membership and the lack of recognition that they will receive for a job well done. However, I will say that, the Steward who’s success will be noticed by the Worshipful Master, and officers, for it would have most likely made his job that much easy, and his year as Master that much more successful. Be proud to be a Steward and be diligent, for the time we spend in the chairs goes quickly and without our knowledge. Remember that it is up to you to help those who come after you and if you did your duty well you will know every part of what it means to be the Lodge Steward.

The Lodge Badge The badge depicts St. John the Baptist, the patron saint of Freemasons, with a staff in his left hand and a halo around his head. He is facing the symbolic East and is flanked by 2 thistle flowers. The thistle flowers indicate the lodge’s association with Scotland. At the top, is a stylized ribbon proclaiming the name of the lodge. The lodge number is displayed at the bottom along with the place of its meeting – the city of Bangkok.

Stewards – they don’t really do much, do they? Article by Brother Keith Becker, Educational Officer Queensbury Lodge 121, Queensbury Ny, and sourced from the Masonic Leader.

Establishment of Freemasonry in the Kingdom Lodge St. John celebrated its Centennial in February of 2011. Over the last hundred years, our Lodge has enjoyed practising speculative Masonry in Bangkok, Thailand although as may be found within the historical synopsis below, interest in establishing Freemasonry in Thailand preceded the initial Consecration of Lodge St. John by many years. 16

Early Trials

This dampened enthusiasm but not spirit. Furthermore, the English District Grand Lodge in Singapore continued to support the efforts of the Masons in Thailand and, by 1905, a Petition to the Grand Lodge of England was drafted, stating the desire to establish a new Lodge. This time, the Brethren felt it beneficial to prepare and submit a draft of regulations to be upheld, including: - Lodge Name: Lodge Menam, which is the old name for the river flowing through Bangkok.

As trade between Thailand and Europe increased, Bangkok became the second home for Expatriates, many of whom worked for Shipping Companies, Law Offices, Trading Companies and Banks. They brought with them their own customs and culture. That included Freemasonry, as can be seen by the Masonic symbols on some of the old headstones in the Christian Cemeteries. The main push for the establishment of a Lodge in Bangkok came from the English, Irish & Scottish seafarers plying the Singapore Bangkok Singapore route as they were involved in Lodges in Singapore and wanted to have the same access in Thailand. In the late 1870s, they tried to find likeminded Brethren in Thailand by announcements in the Bangkok press and by personal contact but, by the early 1880s, it was decided there was insufficient response for any formal progress.

Office Bearers: Names of Brethren proposed to fulfill roles as Lodge Officers. Lodge Fees : for example, proposed dues were 60 Ticals per annum (Tical was the name for the Thai currency until 1925). It is of note that the funding pledges for the establishment of Lodge Menam in Bangkok (the budgetary target was ten thousand Ticals) were given by Brethren who were Members of Lodges under the American, Tientsin, Hong Kong, Burmese, Irish, Scottish, Australian and German Constitutions.

Interest went dormant for some years but resurfaced in 1898, when a message was sent from Bangkok to the Grand Lodge of England asking Grand Lodge if they could offer advice to the Masons from English, Irish, Scottish, Danish and German Constitutions, who were living in Thailand and who wanted to establish a Lodge.

Included in the Petition was the phrase: ... We have the assurance of high Siamese Government officials that they will welcome the Introduction of Freemasonry into Siam and exclude it completely from the Secret Society Act. ‌

Grand Lodge did offer advice, which arrived in 1890. It was from the Grand Secretary, Sir Edward Letchworth, and included the following sentence:

However, during the time the Petition was being finalized, the Master-Elect took ill and died. This meant that the Petition had to be re-drafted, with a new Master-Elect. By late 1906, the earlier enthusiasm had dissipated, the concept of Lodge Menam was shelved and the Petition was not sent.

...In view of the great distance of Bangkok to England, and the Complications which might arise in attempting to establish a Lodge in a Foreign State, the Most Worshipful Grand Master could not be recommended to grant a Warrant...

Consecration of Lodge St. John 17

Not all was lost as a decision to change to the Scottish Constitution emerged and it was agreed that overtures be made to the Scottish Grand Lodge in Edinburgh, to establish Lodge St. John in Bangkok. After another series of difficulties, the Charter of Lodge St. John 1072 S.C. was signed in Edinburgh in August 1910 and the Lodge was consecrated in Bangkok on 24 January 1911. It has met continuously since, except for the Second World War years of 1942–1945.

Brother Krisda Arunvongse, PM and was constructed under Masonic Brethren specialist supervision. Lodge St John settled into their new Temple Building in Bangkok and it was Consecrated in 2004. Lodge St. John meets there on the last Wednesday of each month, except February (Installation), July (Recess) and December (St. John’s Day). A number of other Lodges also meet at the Building and the Thai Freemason website, which has a link on the About Freemasonry page, provides comprehensive information of the Lodges in Thailand.

When it was Consecrated, Lodge St. John reported direct to the Grand Lodge in Edinburgh but, in 1954, it was agreed that it should be part of the Scottish District Grand Lodge of the Middle East, based in Kuala Lumpur. That meant that Lodge St. John became the second oldest Lodge in the District, after Lodge Scotia 1003, which was formed in 1906. We feel it will be of interest to note that the oldest English Lodge in our District was Lodge Neptune 441 - it was Consecrated in 1810 but is now in darkness.

This History of Lodge Sir John No.1072 was sourced from the Lodge Website. (Please visit the website at this link; here. The description of the badge came from the booklet, “The Daughter Lodges” collated by one of our readers, Bro. Krishnaraj Iyrapatham,, who sent the booklet to me, thanks Krish. The booklet has information about the badges of all 21 Lodges under the Scottish Constitution of the District Grand Lodge of the Middle East, and is a great read.

Lodge St John has “wandered round” Bangkok as it searched for a permanent home. Among the places it met were: The premises of Gerson & Sons in Silom Road. A rented house in Soi 39, Sukhumvit Road. The British Club. The Masters of the Lodge were Expatriates up to 1967 when Vilas (Joe) Bunnag became the first Thai to be elected to the Chair. Since then, it has been a mixture of Thai and Expatriate. Due to the strong desire within the Lodge to have their own Temple, a plot of land was arranged by a Lodge Brother and the Lodge raised considerable funds from the Brethren, in Thailand. In addition, very generous contributions were made by Brethren from other parts of the District. The Building was designed by, the late, 18

Famous Freemasons

Eddie Cantor grew up a tough, unambitious kid in the dirty ghetto. A poor scholar, he quit school without finishing and hung around pool-rooms, working at odd jobs only when hunger compelled him. His sole talent seemed to be for giving comic impersonations of personalities of the day. Ashamed to sponge on his grandmother, Eddie often left home for weeks, leaving one job after another, sleeping on roofs, singing on the street for pennies.

Eddie Cantor

No one could have started to achieve fame and wealth by his own efforts with fewer advantages than Eddie. As he pointed out in his autobiography, “My Life Is in Your Hands,” in 1928, he was one of many poor boys from the lower East Side of the ‘90's who turned out to be celebrated actors, politicians or gangsters. He and a friend managed to find work for one week, in 1907, as a song and dance team at a Music Hall in their home neighbourhood. The next year, accepting a dare, Eddie Cantor, as he now called himself for “stage” purposes, entered the weekly amateur contest at Miner's Theatre on the Bowery. He was dead broke, hungry, ragged, and counted on the $1 consolation prize paid even to contestants who “got the hook” as demanded by the howling, drunken audience.

“It's nice to be important, but it's more important to be nice.” Eddie Cantor (whose real name was Israel Iskowitz) was born in a crowded tenement flat over a Russian tearoom in Eldridge Street on Jan. 31, 1892, New York City. His parents were impoverished young Russian‐ Jewish immigrants. He never really knew them, since his mother died in childbirth when he was 1 year old, and his father, an unemployed violinist, passed away from pneumonia a year later. The orphan was brought up by his grandmother, Esther, a widow, who supported herself and the baby by peddling. She lived to see her grandson become a star, and he always revered her.

Even at the age of 16, however, his native talent asserted itself. He won the first prize, and on the strength of that triumph, Eddie got a job as a blackface comedian with a touring burlesque show, but it soon stranded him in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania. His grandmother came to the rescue again. Back in New York, Eddie found his mark as a singing waiter in Carey Walsh's saloon in Coney Island, where the piano player was a


clever, big‐nosed tunesmith named Jimmy Durante.

for his “Midnight Frolic” on the New Amsterdam Roof in 1917.

As a comedian, he attracted the attention of Roy Arthur, fellow East Sider, who was half of the successful comedy juggling team. Eddie was taken on by this team, at first as valet, then silent assistant onstage, and finally as a junior member of the act. At last he was in big time, even playing Hammerstein's Victoria Theatre at Broadway and 42nd Street.

Eddie Cantor had arrived, he was a hit. His frenetic, nervous style on‐stage, prancing about, clapping his hands, rolling his eyes, his gay enthusiasm, all made up for a poor singing voice. His energy was inexhaustible; he could play five shows a day of 40 minutes each and entertain at a house party afterward for hours. Mr. Ziegfeld engaged him for his “Follies” of 1917, 1918 and 1919. He was a featured player with Will Rogers, one of his closest friends; W. C. Fields, and other stars.

Eddie trouped for two years in ‘Kid Kabaret, again he was in blackface, a make‐up that became associated with his early success but a role that he never actually liked. And when the tour ended, he accomplished an ambition of many years by marrying his childhood sweetheart, Ida Tobias, a neighbour on the old East Side. Her parents opposed the match, sniffing at the youth as a harumscarum, irresponsible actor, and preferring the rising young business men among Ida's suitors. But the comedian's charm won the girl and the marriage was one of the most successful in show business. His wife bore him five daughters, Marjorie, Natalie, Edna, Marilyn and Janet; all members of the family remained devoted to one another, and there was never a hint of disharmony.

Never modest, Mr. Cantor was talking Ziegfeld into starring him in a musical comedy with a “book,” not just a revue. “There isn't a part on earth that I can't play,” he assured the doubtful impresario seriously. The producer was almost convinced, but when legitimate actors formed the Actors Equity Association and closed all theatres on Broadway in their historic organizational strike. Mr. Cantor never hesitated. Jeopardizing his own future, he assumed a leading part in the strike. Furious, Mr. Ziegfeld cancelled all plans to star him.

In 1914 Eddie took Ida to Europe for a honeymoon, and even appeared in a musical in London for a time. But World War I stopped the show cold, and the Cantors returned home, where he toured with Al Lee in a song, dance and comedy routine billed as Cantor and Lee.

He was the star of the Ziegfeld “Follies” of 1927, the first time anyone had been starred in those annual revues. He also starred in “Whoopee,” another Ziegfeld hit, from 1928 to 1930, at a reported salary of $5,000 a week. In 1928 the president of the Manufacturers Trust Company and Mr. Cantor's banker, said to him, “Eddie, you are a millionaire.”

Earl Carroll admired the act in Los Angeles, recommending Mr. Cantor to Oliver Morosco, the producer, who featured Mr. Cantor in a touring company of “Canary Cottage,” a musical show, in 1916. The great Ziegfeld saw him in that and engaged him

However, the stock market crash of 1929 ended the distinction. Mr. Cantor was depressed for a while, but his irrepressible vitality buoyed him up, aided by his wife's sympathetic loyalty. Giving up the stage, he went to Hollywood to make films. In 1926 20

he had made a silent movie version of “Kid Boots,” with Clara Bow; now the movies talked and that proved better for his style.

In addition to his work for Actors Equity, he was a founder and former president of the Screen Actors Guild, American Federation of Radio Artists and the Jewish Theatrical Guild.

The first year after his financial collapse the comedian earned $450,000. His wife and the girls were not going to starve after all. He made pictures until 1940 in rapid succession for the big studios. Among the hits were “Palmy Days,” in 1932; “The Kid from Spain,” 1933; “Roman Scandals,” 1934; “Kid Millions,” 1935; “Strike Me Pink,” 1936, and “Ali Baba Goes to Town,” 1937. All these were musicals and comedies, of course. Under the support of Sam Goldwyn, Eddie was surrounded by hordes of “Goldwyn Girls,” beautiful and stereotyped creatures who filled in the background for his antics.

His “loans” to impecunious actors were uncountable. His hospitality to friends was equally noted. His wife complained genially that she had to be prepared for eight of nine unexpected guests her husband might bring home for dinner any night to their large home in Beverly Hills. When not working, Eddie was at home. He never drank, smoked or gambled and hated night clubs and parties. The comedian suffered his first serious heart attack in 1952 and he collapsed from heart ailments several times after that. In 1956, he underwent a serious operation for the removal of kidney stones, and often joked about his ailments by quipping, “Nobody lives forever.” Semi‐retired since suffering the heart seizure, Eddie wrote books and took pride in his discovery of new talent.

In 1931 Cantor entered radio work and devoted more and more time to it as the medium developed through the next two decades. He became one of the biggest stars of radio. After television attracted major sponsors, he began on a monthly show. Radio had consumed most of his time in this period, although he made a few films. The last was “If You Knew Susie” in 1948, named for a song he had made enormously popular.

His energy and drive, which led to the severe heart condition, made him one of the best‐loved performers of his generation. Ida Cantor, his wife, died Aug. 8, 1962, at the age of 70. She became known to millions of Americans because of her husband's theme song, “Ida,” and the jokes he used to tell about his family. Mrs. Cantor died of a series of heart seizures.

He made other songs so familiar that they were associated with him as distinctively as his own name. When radio audiences heard the lyric, “Potatoes are cheaper, tomatoes are cheaper, now's the time to fall in love” or “Ida, sweet as apple cider,” they knew at once Eddie Cantor was on the air.

Eddie Cantor passed away on October 10th, 1964 from a heart attack at the age of 72.

Eddie worked as hard at philanthropy as at his theatrical career. It was said he never refused a legitimate request for aid, either personal or organizational. He played as many as six benefit shows in one night, and toured endlessly for the United Service Organizations during World War II.

Bro. Eddie Cantor was initiated in Munn Lodge No. 190, N.Y.C. on Nov. 6, 1919 and raised on June 23, 1921. (Denslow) This article was sourced from a variety of sources, all freely available on the internet, the principle of which was Cantor’s obituary in the NY Times Oct. 11 1964.


five, Roscoe Pound has a list of seven in his book of the same name, Brother Joseph Fort Newton considers five is the number and several Grand Lodges have lists up to fifty or sixty!" "Do you mean to say there are no universally known and understood list of ancient landmarks?" demanded the Very New Master Mason. "I do. There is no such list." "But... but... but then how can we 'carefully preserve them' and 'never suffer them to be infringed?'" "Well, it really isn't as difficult as it sounds!" smiled the Old Past Master. "There is none, or hardly any, disagreement among Masonic authorities on the fundamental Masonic law. The ancient usages and customs of the fraternity are the same the world over and generally recognized as such by all Grand Bodies. But a 'landmark' is something that cannot be changed, according to our understanding of it. Therefore, different authorities have thought differently about our ancient usages and customs, some saying that such and thus, while ancient and honourable, is not a landmark, and therefore can be changed, while others hold that the same custom is a landmark and cannot be changed.

Ancient Landmarks "I bought me a Masonic Manual today," announced the Very New Master Mason to the Old Past Master. "Into what strange paths I am about to venture I don't know, but I am going to try..." rather shyly..."to learn some of the work. "That is very commendable" agreed the Old Past Master. "You will find it a fascinating study." "But there are a lot of things in it I don't understand," went on the Very New Master Mason. "For instance, in the charge to a Master Mason the Master says, 'the ancient landmarks of the order, committed to your care, you are carefully to preserve and never suffer them to be infringed' and so on. But nowhere can I find any explanation of just what the ancient landmarks are!"

"The old manuscripts which give us so much light on our Masonic forbears; the Regius, the Harleian; the Antiquity, etc., have various charges, rules, regulations and laws. These are all very old, yet many of them could hardly be considered a landmark; for instance, one such old regulation forbids Masons to indulge in games of chance except at Christmas! That would hardly do for a Masonic landmark, would it? So just

"Well, that is a problem, isn't it?" smiled the Old Past Master. "If you will get Mackey's Jurisprudence you will find a list of twenty 22

because a rule or custom is old does not make it, per se, a landmark.

and it was not from a Masonic source that all of them were derived!

"On the other hand, much that is beautiful in our fraternity is new; that is, it is less than three and often less than two hundred years old. There was no Grand Lodge before 1717, and Masonry was not divided in three degrees at that time, I believe. Yet many authorities consider the division of the work into three degrees as a landmark. "So where doctors disagree, only the patient can decide!"

"But let not your heart be troubled! Masonry herself says of herself that she is a progressive science. How can she progress and stand still? Brother A. S. McBride than whom no more spiritually minded or common-sense writer ever spread Masonry before the Craft for their better understanding, asks the literal-minded Mason who says nothing can be changed in Masonry, why not work in Hebrew, since Solomon and his workman used that tongue? And does Masonry suffer because the English of today is not the English of the 17th century?

"There are a certain body of laws, usages and customs which are universally recognized and regarded. From these, different authorities select certain ones which in their judgement are landmarks. Other authorities say 'no, thus and such is a law, statute, rule, judgement, agreement or custom of the fraternity but isn't a landmark!' Brother Shepard has just brought out a book on the subject which gives the ideas of many authorities, writers and Grand Lodges. What strikes me on reading it, is not the difference in the lists of what are called landmarks, but the fact that all so well agree as to what is fundamental in Masonry!

"I personally believe that the ancient landmarks which cannot suffer change are few in number; a belief in Deity, a belief in a future life, a book of Law on the altar, a secret mode of recognition, that only men, of good character, can be made Masons; these and one or two more seems to me to be real landmarks. Other landmarks so prescribed seem to me... and to many deeper Masonic students... to be common law, custom, usage, rather than landmarks.

"Now it is a fact that we agree that the 'ancient landmarks' are fixed and unalterable. It is also a fact that Masons themselves have altered their own unalterable landmarks! The very fact that Grand Lodges were invented, or discovered, or created, is a change in an old, old custom, made necessary by change in times and people. The issuing of diplomas was a change; for ancient brethren had only the 'Mason word' to prove themselves Master. We do not prepare a man to be made a Mason as was done two centuries ago, nor is our ritual the same, nor our obligation the same; antiquarians have even discovered where parts of our obligations came from,

"But I only think these things. I do not try to convince any one I am right, for those who decide have authority and scholarship behind them. I follow where they lead. Bit Masonry teaches a man to think, and so I do her no injury if I do think. And if my Grand Lodge says forty-seven laws are landmarks, I keep them like Kipling's Mason 'to a hair.' That I choose to disagree with my Grand Lodge in my heart doesn't make me a lawbreaker; only a minority. And there is no harm in being a minority as long as one conforms! "Therefore, read your manual, learn your ritual, consult your Grand Lodge records, 23

and abide by the laws, resolutions and edicts you have sworn to uphold. And when you have done that, tolerant charitable Masonry says to you 'my brother, having done as you pledged you would, you may now think whatever you want is right!'"

is over 250 years old if by that term is meant that society which created the first Grand Lodge. If Freemasonry's earliest document, the Regius Manuscript is correctly dated, Freemasonry is nearly 600 years old. If belief in the early date mentioned in that manuscript is sustainable and Freemasons met in the City of York A.D. 926 then Freemasonry is more than 1,000 years old. If by Freemasonry is meant an organization which employs symbols and religious practices which come from the dawn of civilization, then Freemasonry is as old as civilization itself.

This is the eighteenth article in this our regular feature, ‘The Old Past Master,’ each month we will publish in the newsletter one of these interesting and informative pieces by Carl Claudy.

The Soul of Freemasonry

Whatever age we may assume Freemasonry has attained, many generations of human life are represented. In all phases of human endeavour, social, political, civic, and in the fields of science, art, and culture vast changes have taken place. Our mode of life has transformed from bare existence to luxurious living; transportation from foot to ox-cart to horse to steam to air; communication from tom-tom to electronics; kingdoms have waxed and waned; the entire world has become much different.

WHEN a man desires to become a member of the Masonic Fraternity he signs a petition for the degrees stating that he freely and voluntarily offers himself for the mysteries of Freemasonry. After the Lodge receives the petition and the proper procedures have been followed, the hour for balloting arrives and the Master announces that the Lodge is about to ballot on the petition of Mr. John Jones to receive the mysteries of Freemasonry. The ballot being favourable, due record is made that Mr. Jones was elected to receive the mysteries of Freemasonry. On the eve of initiation before any move may be made toward entering the Lodge, the candidate must again assert that he is offering himself for the mysteries of Freemasonry.

Through all these changes Freemasonry has retained the same ideals, taught the same principles and maintained the Ancient Landmarks of the Fraternity. Through all these ages and changes, to each one who has entered the portals of Freemasonry, the hint of mystery, the desire to know what Freemasonry really is, has ever been present. The principles and beliefs of the Fraternity, many of the practices, the exoteric work, is published for any to read who care to do so. But there is an indefinable something more, something which we cannot explain. A Brother when asked to explain Freemasonry replied, "I know what it is until you ask, but when you ask I cannot explain." Freemasonry is an emotion deep within us, a

Through each of the degrees, either in thoughts expressed or implied, the idea of mystery is conveyed to the candidate. Scholars, historians, authorities dispute about the age of Freemasonry. At times the disagreement is caused by a lack of understanding of terminology. Freemasonry 24

mystery which we propose to call the Soul of Freemasonry.

majestic and more satisfying to the peace of mind than our ritual. We love it, we never tire of hearing it, and each hearing brings new meaning to us in each of its words and phrases. Only the Holy Scriptures, divinely inspired excel the ritual in majesty, inspiration and beauty. The code of Masonic Law, with the Ancient Charges and Constitutions, the basis of all Masonic Laws, the codes of all Grand Jurisdictions give character to Freemasonry.

In the unabridged dictionary, there are several definitions of soul, four of which we find applicable to use in defining Freemasonry. 1. Soul - A person who leads or inspires. How true this is of the Fraternity as well as of individual Masons. All the good works of the Fraternity must be done - not as an organization - but by Masons as individuals, yet it has been the result of the associations formed within the confines of the Lodge room, the result of inspiration gained from the teachings of Freemasonry, that these beneficial works came to fruition. Consider the role that Freemasonry has assumed through its votaries in framing the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of these United States and many other important landmarks in our country's history. Consider the part that Freemasonry has played, through its members, in every forward movement of education, civic associations and government on every level. Someone has said that every movement for good in every field has had as its prime movers or most ardent supporters those who were members of the Fraternity. Surely, a part of the mystery, a part of the Soul of Freemasonry is its capacity to inspire and to provide leadership.

Each Jurisdiction has its own code or set of laws, yet each lives in harmony with all others. Annually, or oftener, there is an exchange of new laws, a revision of old laws, and an interchange of the activities of each. We need no special dispensation, no passport or visa to visit in sister Jurisdictions, only to be able to prove that we are Brothers. Each Jurisdiction is a law unto itself, the rituals may differ, but we enjoy fellowship one with the other and experience that emotion deep within us which tells us we are brothers. H.L. Haywood in one of his articles, commenting on this exchange of ideas between Jurisdictions, gives birth to the idea of nations and religious denominations using a similar system of exchange of ideas and practices. Each becoming more strong, more an entity in itself, yet through a free exchange of ideas, laws and freedom, all working harmoniously together. Perhaps here is a field not yet explored that Freemasons could profitably study and promote for the good and eventual benefit of all mankind. Freemasonry does have those qualities which impart vigour and character.

2. Soul - The necessary or central part of anything, that part which gives vigour and character. Consideration of this definition of soul immediately brings to mind the ritual and the laws of Freemasonry as the central and necessary parts of our system which impart vigour and give character when properly used and consciously interpreted. No composition is more beautiful, more

3. Soul - The essential part of a person's identity, that part of a man's nature where feeling, ideals and morals centre. Again, it is apparent that in our ritual and our laws the ideals and morals of 25

Freemasonry are set forth and described, but it is in the individual Brother that the feelings, ideals and morals centre. The Brother who is a Mason in the purest sense of the term, is the centre of, and the living Soul of Freemasonry. Each of us has experienced that special, not to be described thrill, that good feeling which comes to us in every Masonic fellowship, with every handclasp and renewal of acquaintance.

Franklin, Parvin, Ray V. Denslow, Carl H. Claudy and other Masonic stalwarts who laboured long and faithfully in the quarries of Freemasonry.

We usually think of a soul as something alive, living, immortal. It is my belief that the mystery, the Soul of Freemasonry is constituted of some part of the living immortal soul of every inspired, devoted Brother who has been Freemasonry's progenitors. Those who during their lives left such an imprint on the minds of their associates that a part of their very selves lives with us still. This thought can be best expressed by a personal incident.

4. Soul - That spiritual and immortal part in man which distinguishes him from beasts. Freemasonry though not a religion is definitely and distinctively religious, the entire philosophy, all its teachings are predicated upon the existence of God, a God in whom we can place our trust, and from whom strength and wisdom flow in response to our prayers. This definite belief in the Supreme Being distinguishes Freemasonry from other purely social orders. This is the quality which has preserved the identity of Freemasonry through generations although other organizations have started, flourished for a time but because they had no soul, have perished.

In company with my daughter we visited Abraham Lincoln's home in Springfield, Illinois. We toured the rooms, we viewed the various items on display, we read the placards all in accepted tourist fashion. As we were leaving the last room a placard on the wall read that this was the spot where Mr. Lincoln stood as he was notified of his nomination for the Presidency of the United States. Wishing my daughter to be aware of the historical significance of the place in which we stood I read the placard and told her that here was where history was made. Something in the import of that statement, something in the feeling of the atmosphere filled me with emotion, my voice broke and my daughter was constrained to ask, "Daddy what's the matter?" Now I do not believe in spiritualism or ghosts but I do believe that at that moment, somehow, some way I was moved by the immortal soul of Lincoln. I believe that Freemasons of this day are moved by the immortal souls of Washington,

The spiritual in Freemasonry signifies our belief in the Fatherhood of God, the Brotherhood of Man and in the Immortality of the Soul. As an organization, we stress more particularly the building of a noble character and moral life yet in every portion of the work we urge a study of and imply a need for the spiritual awareness. These teachings are most evident in the drama of the Master Mason degree. This is the culmination, the acme of Masonic teaching. Here is set forth the fundamental principles by which man should live with fellow-man. Here is the most solemn moment in the life of every candidate in Freemasonry, that moment when he is escorted to the altar and informed that he is to pray alone. Do we always lend to this moment of the degree the dignity and reverence which we should? The drama symbolizes to those of us who are of the Christian faith the crux of the Christian teaching, the promise that if we live according to the Master's precepts we, too, 26

will one day be raised from a dead level to a living perpendicular and Immortal Life. For Brethren of other Faiths it dramatically represents their beliefs according to the prophets of old.

“Tao” literally means “way” or “The Way”. The 37 chapters of the Tao Classic describe the essential and unnameable process of the universe. It is largely focused on Morality. The 44 chapters of the Virtue Classic, as the name implies, are centred on Virtue. Thus, we can see that the essence of the Tao Te Ching is about Morality and Virtue. Now, you will recall after the Third Degree Obligation, the candidate was directed to practise Virtue, Morality and Brotherly Love – the principles emblematically comprehended between the points of the compasses. In the Tao Te Ching, if one practises both the Morality and Virtue, and the practical wisdom contained therein, the Brotherly Love aspect will flow naturally. Thus, we can see that the Tao Te Ching and Freemasonry subscribe to the same grand principles.

Whatever our personal belief, however lax we may be in personal devotions, it seems inconceivable that any Freemason would want to be guilty of irreverence or blasphemy, but if we do not portray this drama with the dignity, the reverence and the majesty it deserves, we are, in a very real sense guilty of these sins. Freemasonry does have that Spiritual and immortal quality which distinguishes man from beast. It is this – the Soul of Freemasonry – which has enabled our Fraternity to live and serve these 250, 600, 1000 years.

The most important and most often written name of God in Judaism is the Tetragrammaton, the four-letter name of God, YHWH or Yahweh. Tetragrammaton derives from the Greek prefix tetra (four) and gramma (letter, grapheme). That name of God, which some venture to pronounce as Jehovah – although whether this is, or is not, the true pronunciation can now never be authoritatively settled.

This is our Regular feature of articles under the title, “Reflections.” Articles from all around the world from a variety of Constitutions and authors and adapted to use in SRA76. This article was written by Bro. Franklin J. Anderson. and sourced from The Rhode Island Freemason Magazine, Volume 42, Issue Apr/May 2017.

The Tao of Freemasonry

Most modern denominations of Judaism teach that the four-letter name of God, YHWH, is forbidden to be uttered, except by the High Priest in the Temple. Since the Temple in Jerusalem no longer exists, this name is never said in religious rituals by Jews. The Tetragrammaton is the Ineffable Name, or the Incommunicable Name.

The Tao Te Ching or Dao De Jing is probably the most influential of the Chinese Classics of all times. It actually comprises two classics – the Tao Ching or Tao Classic (from Chapter 1 to Chapter 37), and the Te Ching or Virtue Classic (from Chapter 38 to Chapter 81). It was written around the 6th century BC by the sage Laozi (or Lao Tzu, Old Master) who was a record-keeper at the Zhou Dynasty court. In fact, the text is known in China as Laozi.

There was an early depiction of the Tetragrammaton around 600 BC. Chapter 1 – Ineffability (Translation by Derek Lin) 27



The Tao that can be spoken is not the eternal Tao The name that can be named is not the eternal name The nameless is the origin of Heaven and Earth The named is the mother of myriad things.

Now, compare the Charge with Chapter 54 of the Tao Te Ching: Chapter 54 – Cultivate Virtue (Translation by Gia Fu Feng & amp; Jane English) Cultivate virtue in yourself, and Virtue will be real. Cultivate it in the family, and Virtue will abound. Cultivate it in the village, and Virtue will grow. Cultivate it in the nation, and Virtue will be abundant. Cultivate it in the world, and Virtue will be everywhere.

The very first line of the Tao Te Ching state that the Tao is ineffable. The first four lines is the Chinese creation myth from the primordial Tao. The Genesis creation myth, written during the Israelites’; exile in Babylonia in the 6th century BC, was a gentle polemic against Babylonian religion. It was directed against Babylonian polytheism. Its vision of an ordered universe where everything had its place was probably consoling to a displaced people.

Let me relate how my knowledge of Freemasonry has been evolving as I embarked on this journey of discovery. At my initiation 15 years ago, the whole ceremony was a blur. Similarly, there was so much to take in during the Second Degree and Third Degree rituals that I was overwhelmed. It was only after watching other candidates going through the same ceremonies that the rituals began to make sense. And the moral lessons are more ingrained when one memorizes the pieces and take part in the rituals. However, the teachings and moral lessons one learns from Freemasonry can differ from person to person. And for the same person, the understanding of the various portions of the rituals can change with time, and new insight can spring up suddenly.

Remember, when was the Tao Te Ching written? Around the 6th Century BC. I will leave you to ponder on this uncanny coincidence of the Tetragrammaton, the Genesis creation myth and the Tao Te Ching all written around the 6th century BC. And all three trying to describe the origin of the universe. For the newly initiated Freemason, one of the most important lessons is the Charge. Personally, I think the First Degree Charge is the most important message that a Mason should take to heart, and the essence of what Freemasonry is all about. If all of us can live up to the Charge, the world would be a better place for all. Let me recite a few of the duties we were enjoined to obey:

Likewise, the passages of the Tao Te Ching are ambiguous, and topics range from political advice for rulers to practical wisdom for people. Because the text is written in Classical Chinese, the variety of interpretation is virtually limitless, not only for different people but for the same person over time. The more you read it, the more insight you get and the more relevant it becomes to your daily live. And like

Your duties as a Citizen of the World (to society, to the state, to the sovereign). Your duties as an Individual.


Freemasonry, what you get out of it is very much dependent on what you put into it.

The Building Code. By Montford C Holley

The Tao Te Ching has been in existence for more than 2,500 years. I have known of its existence for many years, but it has taken me this long to take a peek at it. What little I have learnt in preparing for this Masonic Reflection is enough to arouse my interest. Although the Tao Te Ching is not a holy book, many of the wisdoms, injunctions and exhortations contained in the various holy books can be found in this Classic, which predated these religions by centuries.

Our ancient brethren used their tools With confidence and skill; Though centuries have passed away, Their works are standing still; With admiration and with awe, Our hearts and souls they thrill. They called in Wisdom to conceive And execute the plan; Then Strength to make the structure sure When first the work began; Then Beauty to adorn and make A monument to man:

As far as I know, there has never been any research on the similarities between the Tao Te Ching and Freemasonry. This short Masonic Reflection is just to whet your appetite. I strongly recommend all of you to study the hidden mysteries of both this Classic and Freemasonry. Both the Tao Te Ching and Freemasonry are systems of morality. Like the moral lessons we learn in Freemasonry, the Tao Te Ching will make good men who practise its precepts better men.

So we, who build in later days, Still use the self-same tools, Still follow through the Master-Plan, Still use the self-same rules, Still work with diligence and skill, As did the Ancient Schools; Would use the Plumb for rectitude As day by day goes by, The Level to remind us all That we must lowly be, That right and true our work may prove When we the Square apply;

Let me end by referring to the Explanation of Tracing Board of the First Degree. Our Lodges are situated due East and West, because all places of divine worship, as well as Mason’s well-formed and regularly constituted Lodges, are, or ought to be, so situated, for which we as Masons assign three reasons. Firstly, the sun, the glory of the Lord, rises in the East, and sets in the West. Secondly, learning originated in the East, and thence spread its benign influence towards the West. Do reflect on this second reason – that learning originated the East.

No longer work with wood and stone, But rather, with the mind We would erect a dwelling-place Wherein our souls may find A quiet and a holy rest At peace with all mankind; And so, as we continually build These dwellings for the soul, Would work with Wisdom and with Strength, Perchance to reach the goal; Then crown our work with Beauty rare To make the perfect whole.

Sourced from the website of Lodge St. Andrew No. 1437, Singapore. Article by Bro Quah Soon Tong P.M. Masonic Reflections October 2009.


“Freemasonry…Veiled in allegory…”

a link to Allegory, in that Allegories drawn from building, play an extremely important part of the rites and rituals of Freemasonry. As initiate Masons progress through the various ceremonies, for instance, they learn that at the building of King Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem, the Masons who worked on the great project were divided into two classes – Apprentices and Fellows – and that they were presided over by three Grand Masters, one of whom was Solomon himself. The others were Hiram King of Tyre and Hiram Abif, the temple’s architect. The Masters were the guardians of the ultimate secrets of what Masons term the Great Craft.

The word Allegory – you’ve all said the word – but what does it mean. Well one of the best known pieces of Allegory is George Orwell’s book ‘Animal Farm’ which is an Allegory on the Russian Revolution, so simplistically, an Allegory is a piece of work, whereby one subject is described under the guise of another, thus George Orwell wrote about animals rebelling on the Farm as a parallel to events in Russia. In the end, just as in the Russian Revolution, matters turned through 360 degrees, but that as they say, is another story.

The implication is that Freemasonry was already established in King Solomon’s time and has continued unchanged ever since. However, perhaps the reality is that the rites and rituals associated with Freemasonry are not based on historical fact at all. Rather it is a dramatic allegory, through which important principles and tenets of Freemasonry are passed on from one generation to the next.

So where is the Allegory in Freemasonry? In his book ‘The Freemasons’, Jeremy Harwood has this to say: Masonic Scholars differ widely in their views about the origins of Masonry, some of the view that our roots were set in Ancient Egypt and Biblical Israel, others are convinced that it evolved more from the Stonemasons Guilds – or perhaps both. Just assuming the latter to be correct for the moment, The Masons’ Guilds had additional specific responsibilities – the induction of suitable trainees as apprentices and the preservation of the secrets of their trade. Because the medieval world was steeped in religion, spiritual and ethical instruction was part and parcel of the apprentices’ training, giving rise to the lessons that are incorporated in the Masonic degrees.

Is it correct? – is it true? – who knows, it is a well thought out view, but of course there are various others equally well thought out! Sourced from The Suffolk Freemasons Newsletter August 2016

The editorial staff at SRA76 would like to wish all our readers a Happy New Year.

The tools of stonemasonry: plumb line, square, compasses, level, chisel, mallet, trowel and gauge, also had an important role to play. In freemasonry, they came to hold important symbolic meanings, epitomizing various moral and ethical virtues. So there is

And all the best for 2021!


THE BACK PAGE THE FINAL TOAST MANY TYLERS, when the proceedings at the festive board have ended, call upon the brethren to drink the last toast with the following words: Dear brethren of the Mystic Tie, the night is waning fast. Our duty’s done, our feast is o’er; this song must be the last. ‘Good Night, Good Night.’ Once more, once more repeat the farewell strain: ‘Happy to meet, sorry to part, happy to meet again!’ This stanza is the last of a six-verse poem entitled ‘The Final Toast’, written by an obviously enthusiastic mason in India in the middle of the nineteenth century. It is not generally known that there is more than one verse and it is unlikely that many brethren would be able to recite the whole poem. But the complete poem is in common use in parts of Australia. From time to time and in different countries the poem has appeared in print, but for many years the earliest record of it was in The Masonic Vocal Manual published at Hebdon Bridge, Yorkshire, in July 1852. Every printing, however, differs in some respects from the original which reads: I. Are your glasses charged in the West and South, the Worshipful Master cries; They’re charged in the West, They’re charged in the South, are the Wardens’ prompt replies; Then to our final toast to-night your glasses fairly drain “Happy to meet-Sorry to part—Happy to meet again again Oh! happy to meet again!” Chorus: Happy to meet-Sorry to part—Happy to meet again, again, Oh! happy to meet again. 2. The Masons’ social brotherhood around the festive board, Reveal a wealth more precious far than selfish miser’s hoard They freely share the priceless stores that generous hearts contain” Happy to meet, Sorry to part, Happy to meet again!” 3. We work like Mason’s free and true, and when our task is done, A merry song and cheering glass are not unduly won; And only at our farewell pledge is pleasure touched with pain” Happy to meet, Sorry to part, Happy to meet again!”


THE BACK PAGE 4. Amidst our mirth we drink “To all poor Masons o’er the world” On every shore our flag of love is gloriously unfurled, We prize each brother, fair or dark, who bears no moral stain” Happy to meet, Sorry to part, Happy to meet again!” 5. The Mason feels the noble truth the Scottish peasant told That rank is but the guinea’s stamp, the man himself’s the gold With us the rich and poor unite and equal rights maintain “Happy to meet, Sorry to part, Happy to meet again”! 6. Dear brethren of the Mystic tie, the night is waning fast— Our duty’s done—our feast is o’er-this song must be our last:“Good night”. “Good night”—once more, once more repeat the farewell strain” Happy to meet, Sorry to part, Happy to meet again!” The above must be the original wording. It is the version, set to the original music and entered by the publishers, Messrs Burkinyoung & Co., Tank Square, Calcutta, at Stationers’ Hall, London. The earliest known version printed in this country (in The Masonic Vocal Manual) differs from it by only three words. Many have attributed the poem to Kipling; some have attributed it—or at least the last verse —to Robert Burns; but it was not written by either. It was written by Bro. D. L. Richardson in Calcutta in the 1840s. The error of ascribing the poem to Burns is understandable because of the phrase ‘Brethren of the Mystic tie’ and because of the reference in the fifth verse to the ‘Scottish peasant’ which is so obviously drawn from the line ‘The rank is but the guinea’s stamp, The Man’s the gowd for a’ that’ in Burns’s song ‘A man’s a man for a’ that’. Actually, Burns’s similar phrase to ‘Brethren of the Mystic tie’ is ‘Dear brothers of the mystic tie’ which appears in the second line of Burns’s ‘The Farewell To the Brethren of St. James’s Lodge, Tarbolton’. Burns makes other oblique references to Masonry, e.g.: ‘When Masons’ mystic word an’ grip...’ (‘Address to the De’il’) ‘The Brethren of the mystic level .. .’ (‘Tam Samson’s Elergy’) ‘Yet man to man, Sir, let us fairly meet And like Masonic Level, equal greet.’ (‘The Brigs of Ayr...’) ‘Then fill us a bumper and make it o’erflow, And honours masonic prepare for to throw; 32

THE BACK PAGE May ev’ry true Brother of th’ Compass and Square Have a big-belly’d bottle when harass’d with care.’ (‘No Churchman am I...’) Kipling is ruled out as an antecedent because he was only six months old when the author of our poem died, but the latter obviously knew his Burns. The suggestion that Richardson had plagiarized Burns’s work might be fair comment if the whole theme of The Final Toast had been the ‘Mystic tie’, but it really has no substance because he uses the two words only once and those words were in frequent use in other lyrics of the period — and all without acknowledgment to Burns. The theme of Richardson’s poem is “Happy to meet, Sorry to part, Happy to meet again!” The thoughts expressed in those three phrases were no doubt well known prior to the 1840’s, and it is Richardson, apparently, who should have the credit for putting the ‘thoughts’ into the pithy form so easily remembered and now used by masons all over the world. An early version of the theme is to be found in the minutes of 1765 of the Druids’ Lodge of Love and Liberality, then No. I76, Redruth, Cornwall, (I754, erased I838), when the triplet was used as ‘Ready to meet; unwilling to part; joyful to meet again’ for the first time as the closing words of the Ancient Charge in the first degree. It is not known if Richardson was a musician, but ‘The Final Toast’ was set to music by William Henry Hamerton who was born in Nottingham, England, in 1795. David Richardson was initiated in the Lodge of Industry and Perseverance No. 126, Calcutta (now No. 109 and meeting in London) on 25 September 1840. WilliamHamerton was initiated in Aurora Lodge Candour and Cordiality No. 816, Calcutta, on 25 July 1829, and joined the Lodge of Industry and Perseverance No. 126 in 1841. It would appear to have been the presence of Richardson and Hamerton in the same lodge for a little more than a decade that led to their joint labours on ‘The Final Toast’ Whenever the words and music of ‘The Final Toast’ were written and by whatever it was inspired, masons all over the world owe a debt of gratitude to these two brethren for having given us a pleasing medium by which we can — and do — perpetuate a masonic sentiment which epitomises the first of our Three Grand Principles - brotherly love, and can say to-day, just as sincerely as our brethren of Calcutta said in the middle of the last century: “Happy to meet, Sorry to part, Happy to meet again!” Adapted from Ars Quatuor Coronatorum Vol 91 (1978), London : Quatuor Coronati Lodge No. 2076, 1979. ISNB : 9502001, and sourced from Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon website. Until next month, Keep the faith! The Editor 33

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