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Contents Page 2, ‘St.John’s day, Festivals and Christmas.’ This old article looks at St. John and his Festival.

Page 5, ‘Santa and Hiram.’ In keeping with our Christmas theme.

Page 6, ‘Freemasonry – What is the Attraction.’ Bro. John Cane’s look on Freemasonry.

Page 7, ‘Lodge Thistle and Rose No. 169.’ Another History of one of our Ancient Scottish Lodges.

Page 11, ‘The Old Tiler Talks’, “Hand-Picked”, the twenty third in the series from Carl Claudy’s ‘Old Tiler Talks.’

Page 13, ‘Rays of Masonry’, “Christmas is Infinite Love” our monthly feature of writings.

Page 14, ‘Fraternal Order of Eagles’ Fraternal Societies throughout the World.

Page 16, ‘Brothers and Builders’. The Basis and Spirit of Freemasonry, Final Chapter– The Foundation.

Page 19, ‘The Wages of the Craft’. The Craftsman’s wages. Page 22, ‘Coming to Terms with Freemasonry’ V.S.L. Obligation. Charge after Initiation.

In the Lectures website The article for this month is ‘The Origins of Freemasonry’. [link]


The front cover picture is a Christmas card adapted with the S&C by the editor. Merry Christmas to all!

‘St. John’s Day, Festivals and Christmas.’ BY the time this is published the annual meetings of many of the lodges will have taken place; annual dues will have been aid, and officers elected and installed to serve the ensuing year. Probably the annual supper will follow, when toasts will be proposed, speeches made, song and sentiment prevail, and all be happy. The year is ending, the work is nearly done — or ought to be — and the Craft, like others, will enjoy the central festival of the year. It is the winter solstice, the anniversary of the birth of St. John the, Evangelist, one of the Patron Saints of Freemasonry; but, more than all this, Christmas will be here! There are always sunny memories at Christmas time; the recollections of childhood, the snow and the sleighrides; the friends that gather in; the nuts, the apples, and the roast turkey, and a thousand little items and events that have left memories still green and pleasant — even in advanced years. We are in the old home again, with brother and sister and cousin; the table filled with the treasures Santa Claus has brought us; and there is the stately father who, though in middle life as he is, looks on the scene with delight. But the central figure, the one to which all eyes are turned, and around which all the glad little ones gather is — MOTHER. Who can ever forget her? In distant lands; or near at home, — in health or sickness, in poverty or wealth — she is


still the centre of fondest memories and most sacred affections. We pity the man who, though in advanced years, does not love at Christmas time to kneel again at his mother's knee, and feel her soft hand once more on his brow, and the old kiss that thrilled him in his childhood. It is said there is "no love like mother-love," and it is reflected by her boy in infancy or age. We remember reading a description of the consecration of a Bishop in the Catholic church in Baltimore, some years since. In making his first procession around the church, dressed in his robes, and with crook and crozier, he came to where his mother sat at the end of the pew next the aisle. Their eyes met — hers full of tears, for priest and bishop as he was, he was still her boy; and nature asserted its supremacy both in mother and son. The bishop paused, bent down and kissed his mother, and then passed on in his official duties. Earth never witnessed a more tender and touching demonstration of the holy love that binds mother and son together. The season is suggestive to all reflecting Masons. May I ask if, when gathered around your festive board, you will remember the poor, the widow, and the orphan? He is, or was, your brother, though a snow wreath may cover his grave to-night; his widow is your sister — his orphans your wards. If you expect to prosper the coming year — even if duty be forgotten for the time being — don't forget that poor brother, his widow and orphans. Ascertain if there be fuel to keep them warm, and food and clothing for their comfort. Send them something anyhow; put your hands away down into your purses, and

let your heart get warm while yon find you "have enough and to spare;" and let a good big Christmas or New Year's gift go to the needy and absent ones. You will feel better and sleep better afterward. And, perhaps, in months or years to come, when yon are beneath the snowdrift, some of those orphans may recall your kindly deeds and drop a tear on your tomb. We would not give a straw for all the Masonry in the world, if there be no kindliness and charity in it, — if it does not lay self upon the altar, and engage in ministering to the poor and the needy; to aid and assist if your means permit it, your poor brother, his widow and orphans. If Masonry does not prompt to this, better abandon it at once. And now is the time to have it exert its influence, and do good, "to the memory of the Holy St. John," when you can make others happy, and be happier yourselves. There is something about the character of St. John the Evangelist, as tradition and history describe him to us, that is peculiarly suggestive of charity, and all the finer feelings of humanity. Poetry and painting both represent him as young in years, and beautiful in form and features, with a face from which is reflected the tints of a blissful spring morning, radiant with holiest affection and the auroral of "a glorious immortality." He was the son of Zebedee and Salome, and a brother to James the Greater, another of the Apostles. His father was a fisherman, and the sons followed his profession with him on the Sea of Galilee. Salome, the mother of these two disciples, is described as a devout woman, who was noted for her charities and good works,


and it is said she obtained the crown of martyrdom. Of the father, Zebedee, history gives us few details. St. John followed his Master through three years of his ministry, and was at Calvary when he died. That Master, when on the cross, had commended his mother to the filial care of that "beloved" disciple, who at once "took her to his own house," and, we may reasonably conclude, provided for her while she remained on earth. He was afterwards an active and effective evangel under the new dispensation, and was twice imprisoned for his faith. By his activity and success as an evangelist, he incurred the displeasure of the Emperor Domitian, who caused him to be banished to the Island of Patmos, in the Aegean Sea. Here he wrote that wonderful book, the Revelations. His epistles are supposed to have been written about the year sixty-nine; while his Gospel was produced in Asia some twenty years after the destruction of Jerusalem. He died at Ephesus in the ninety-eighth year of his age. How the name of John the Evangelist became connected with Freemasonry we are not advised. No one who has any knowledge of Masonic history believes that the Fraternity, as we have had it for the last two or three centuries, existed in the days of the Evangelist, and consequently he could not have been a member of it. The strong probability is that sometime in the centuries, say three to four hundred years ago, in the changes and revisions through which the Order passed the name of the two saints John became connected with it, as exemplars of its moral precepts, — the one as a Jew, the other as a Christian.

But it is said the twenty-seventh of December will be the anniversary of his birth; yet even of this we are not certain, nor does it matter greatly. The church and the ages have settled down to the belief in the day named; and the exact date is not half so important as the illustrations of the duties and virtues which he taught. While we write this the Craft are anticipating St. John's day, and we will venture some suggestions by which the time and the occasion may be used to advance the interests of Masonry, and benefit the members individually. It is an auspicious season of the year: there is a change of officials, and the lodge is reorganized for the efforts and achievements of another year. Make the meetings of the lodge for the coming year agreeable and interesting: make them so attractive that the members will prefer them to the club or the theatre, then you will have your halls full of attentive and interested members. Cultivate music, have an organ or a piano, and a choir; work out the degrees with all the necessary adjuncts; then you will soon be pressed with work, your hall will be filled with an active membership, and a cordon of fraternal sympathy and affection will bind them together for life. There is a form of doing the work in lodges sometimes, which I will venture to call machine work, as though an automaton were the actor. It is always the same, in tone and manner and expression, as destitute of soul and sentiment as a grindstone is of music. Do you wonder members avoid the lodge? It would be a greater wonder if they came at all! Again I urge -make


your meetings for this year so attractive that members will watch for the time and attend without urging, and by next St. John's Day you will have no cause to complain of your meetings or your membership. "A lodge is a place where Masons meet," but there is no harm — nay, a real benefit in having occasional meetings where others than Masons are admitted. Such meetings should be purely social in their character, with conversation, music, and brief addresses, while readings and recitations added make the occasion one to be remembered. At such times admit by cards, but be careful to issue cards to none but such ladies and gentlemen as you would invite to your own family circle. Such occasions will win popularity for the Order, and secure you the very choicest candidates for its mysteries. But we fear the readers will tire of our monitions and suggestions; so we will make our bow to St. John's Day, annual meetings and suppers, toasts, speeches and songs, and wish all a MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR. This article St. John's Day, Festivals, And Christmas was sourced from Times and Seasons The Voice of Masonry — 1880 By Cornelius Moore.

Santa Claus and Hiram Abiff Santa Claus and Hiram Abiff are two legendary figures with which Masons around the world are familiar. As adults, Santa usually evokes in us a smile, fond memories, light-hearted feelings, and serene mental pictures. Hiram calls to mind darker more serious thoughts relating to our mortality and our relationship with the Supreme Architect of the Universe. Nevertheless, both of these legends have quite a great deal in common that may not be immediately obvious. Of course, we know there was actually a very real Santa Claus. He was a man known as Saint Nicholas, who was born during the third century in a village in what is now Turkey. His wealthy parents, who raised him to be a devout Christian, died in an epidemic while Nicholas was still young. Obeying Jesus' words to "sell what you own and give the money to the poor," Nicholas used his whole inheritance to assist the needy, the sick, and the suffering. But today Santa Claus, his modern representation, has evolved into a mythological figure that serves as a symbol for charity, and love for our fellowmen. So, in Santa Claus we find a progression of stages. As children we understand Santa as a gift-giving kindly old man. As we grow older and began to appreciate the physical impossibilities of Santa Claus’ nocturnal journey, we learn the history and mythology behind that figure. Then eventually in time and with age and experience we understand the true meaning of the symbol.


Hiram Abiff parallels the same progressive stages. When we are first introduced to Hiram, he is presented as a real person and Master Architect. Huram, was in fact a skilled artisan who helped beautify and adorn King Solomon’s Temple as recorded in the Book of First Kings. Like Saint Nicholas, Huram evolves into the mythological figure Hiram Abiff and the details of his story are related to us through ritualistic degree work. At first we only see what is on the surface. As we grow in Masonry however, we realize that quite a lot of the story has been invented and is presented to teach us moral lessons. Eventually, through a virtuous Masonic education, our own endeavours and the help of the Supreme Architect, we understand the true meaning of the Hiramic legend and how it relates to our growth as Masons and men. Understanding Santa Claus and understanding Hiram Abiff are both growing processes by which we arrive at the real meaning of each legend. Another parallel to Santa can be seen in how Hiram is struck down and how Santa Claus "dies" in ours minds. We are told that Hiram was struck in the throat, the place of our voice. Is it not by word of mouth from our school classmates or older siblings that Santa Claus is also first struck? Hiram was also struck in the chest or heart, the place of our affections. Once our suspicions about Santa are confirmed by our parents or our own sensibility doesn’t it almost always break their hearts? We are growing up, but who among doesn’t wish Santa really exists, as we first perceived him?

Finally, Hiram received a blow to the head, the place of our intellect. Similarly, children who are aware of the true nature of Santa kill the jolly old elf in the minds of other children by ridiculing, with blistering logic, those who still believe in him, until finally there is no belief. After that, it is only with personal growth and acquired wisdom that a person can obtain a full realization of the symbolism of Santa Claus. This understanding takes time, thought, and guidance from others. But this eventual understanding is what actually inspires us to perpetuate the Santa Claus myth with our own children. Santa Claus, like Hiram Abiff, has life after death, albeit a different life. Is it any wonder that the Christmas tree, like the acacia, is evergreen? Finally, how did you first hear about Santa Claus, and Hiram Abiff? You heard it from the mouth of a person who cared about you and wanted to share a wonderful tradition with you. They probably enjoyed sharing it as much as you enjoyed receiving it. Both legends are perpetuated and passed along generation to generation by word of mouth from parents to children and from Master Masons to candidates. Santa Claus and Hiram Abiff were two actual historic figures. Their lives inspired legends that have lived for centuries and enriched the lives of those who sought to learn from them. They were two very different men, but their legends contain several parallels and we can be better men and Masons by following their examples. This article was sourced from Bro. Jimmy Stevens of Lodge 731 Carolina, USA.


Freemasonry – What is the Attraction? We are often asked as Masons:1. What attracted you to it? 2. What keeps your interest to give it so much time? There are probably many answers to both these that could be given by different people, since the Organisation has many facets and have members that joined for different reasons. Freemasonry is probably the oldest and largest fraternity in the world quite apart from its vast philanthropic contributions to charitable organisations. It has existed for so long because it provides the answers to many human needs. Man is a sociable creature and many nonmasons are attracted because of the close social friendship between its members. See how Freemasons who have never met before become ‘friendly’ since they have a similar outlook and more importantly because they were recommended or ‘vouched for’ by respectable people, have taken part in ceremonies with high moral obligations and standards. They are taught and abide by those honourable obligations and donate to charities as well as by being charitable. It is calculated that over £1.5m per day is dispensed to various charities and researches across the world by the Masonic fraternity. By looking back at the History it can be seen that many great men have also

been members of the same Honourable fraternity. The tenets of Freemasonry are Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth and this aspect could be the attraction to non-masons, since we are not a religious organisation nor are we quasi-religious and have a sense that all men are created equal, uniting men of all beliefs. Neither are we an all-white organisation since we accept men of all colour, class and creed, as can be seen in many of our lodges and Masonic gatherings, uniting all nationalities, regardless of borders. This conciliates true friendships amongst those who might never have met. It is what Adolf Hitler admired and wanted for himself,- but that could never be! That is why his admiration turned to his unbridled hate of Freemasonry and Masons‌.. So we spend time working in the Craft since it gives many personal satisfactions, certain in the knowledge that our efforts help to make a better world for people to live in. Surely this as an aspect of Freemasonry that we should broadcast in a world that has falling standards and slipping morals? Our standards are ancient with our ritual based on sound dramatic presentations. The teachings have not changed, society has. In a changing world, we have changed little, which is an enduring factor to be praised and encouraged. Copyright, John Cane. PPJGW (Sy) PPG Supt Wks(Middx) June2012. Twickenham. UK..

Lodge Thistle and Rose No.169 In 1787 a group of Stevenston ( "Stinston") men applied to the Grand Lodge of Scotland for a Charter to open a Lodge in the town, They were members of Kilwinning No 0 and they claimed that the journey from Stevenston to Kilwinning was too strenuous especially during the winter months which would be true as roads in those days were non-existent. The Charter was duly issued on 5th November 1787 under the name of "Stivenstoune" Thistle and Rose No 224. Around the mid 1800s numbers were reallocated, and Thistle & Rose became No.169, No.224 is now Lodge Innocents in Cullen, Buckie, Banffshire. The original No.169 is now Shettleston St. John No.128. It is believed that the Lodge first met in a "howf" in the old part of the village namely Schoolwell, Brae, and later in a house in Townhead Street ,(Weavers Brae) later still they moved to Ardeer House which was the home of the Warners who were the landowners. Patrick Warner is named on the Past Masters roll of the Lodge. In 1814 they moved to premises in New Street (Coo Redden) in the Thistle & Rose Hotel. This was to be there home until the present Temple was built in 1956. Records of the Lodge previous to 1914 have been lost, so little is known of the early history of the Lodge. The Centenary celebrations took place on Friday 4th November 1887, a large


number of brethren attending, they marched from the Temple headed by the Stevenston Brass Band to the house of the RWM Bro. D. Sinclair, where cakes and wine were served to all ,they then marched through the streets of the town to Shore Road Cottage the home of Bro Taylor, Treasurer where again cakes and wine were served, they were then met at the railway station where they were joined by a number of visiting brethren after which they proceeded to the home of Bro Cumming where they were again entertained to cake and wine, they then proceeded to Ardeer House and welcomed by the factor Bro. M'Jannet, they then returned to the Lodge room where a dinner was served, after the usual toasts a toast was proposed to "The oldest Freemason in Scotland and was replied to by Bro. James Young who was initiated into Thistle & Rose on 24th May 1819 on the day Queen Victoria was born. In a concealed drawer in the Alter a ticket for the Centenary dinner was recently found, price Three shillings.(15p),also a telegram from Grand Lodge of Scotland to Lodge Secretary Bro. Alex. Wilson "Regret to say could not get up Grand Lodge deputation to go to Stevenston". At the close the "laird" was accompanied home by the band playing "For he's a jolly good fellow�. " Centenary" taken from the report in "Ardrossan & SaItcoats Herald" 11th Nov.1887 The laying of the Memorial Stone of Lodge Thistle and Rose took place on 26' March 1898 before a large and representative gathering of brethren who met in the Conservative Club rooms. The gathering formed outside in


order of procession and proceeded to the site of the future Temple. Newmilns Brass Band, Ayr Burgh Band and a band of pipers accompanied the procession. After a dedicatory prayer by Prov. Grand Chaplain Bro. Rev.Wm.Lee Ker. the RWM Bro. James Orr Sinclair requested the Provincial Grand Master Bro H.R.Wallace of Cloncaird and Busbie to perform the ceremony of laying the Memorial stone, the RWM presented the PGM with a silver trowel to assist in his labours and the PGM should afterwards preserve it as a souvenir to this historic occasion. After addressing the brethren the PGM then presented the RWM with the mallet used in the ceremony to which the RWM gave his thanks on behalf of the Lodge (This mallet is used by the RWM at Lodge meetings to the present day ). At the Banquet which followed in the Thistle and Rose Hotel the usual toast list was duly honoured. ("Memorial Stone" taken from report in "Ardrossan & Saltcoats Herald" 1st April 1898) The ceremony of Consecration of new Lodge room was held on Friday 21st October 1898 RWM Bro. Jas Off Sinclair presiding, the ceremonial was carried out by the PGM Bro. H.R.Wallace and the Prov. Grand Chaplain Bro. Rev. Wm.Lee Ker. The RWM Bro. Orr Sinclair was also Prov. Grand Secretary at this time. A supper to celebrate followed. Tickets cost Two Shillings. (10p.) The 150th anniversary of the Lodge was celebrated by a dinner and concert in the Ardeer Hall on Sat. 6th November 1937, the RWM Bro. Wm. McDonald

presiding over a company of 142 brethren including many visitors. Grand Lodge of Scotland was represented by Bro Leo. Melrose, Grand Treasurer and Bro. Greive, Grand D. of C. Provincial Grand Lodge deputation was headed by Prov. Grand Master. Bro. Brig. Gen. Crawford. On Sunday 7th November 1937 an anniversary Divine Service was held, the Lodge was opened in the Ardeer Hall by RWM Bro. Wm. McDonald, over 200 Brethren attended including visitors from many sister Lodges, the Provincial Grand Lodge deputation was headed by Prov. Grand Secretary, Bro. J. McDonald. The Brethren marched to Stevenston High Kirk headed by Darvel Burgh Band where the service was conducted by Bro. Rev. J.Geddes Richie of Lodge Melrose No.12. After the service the Brethren marched back to Ardeer Hall where tea and sandwiches were served. A special meeting was held in Ardeer Hall on the 22nd June 1954 to obtain authority to instruct the architect to issue schedules and obtain quotes from contractors and thereafter proceed with the erection of the new Temple at 54 New Street. Difficulties in obtaining planning permission had been overcome by the hard work of Bro. J. Clark. PM Secretary, plans were prepared and approved and authority to proceed was unanimously granted by the Brethren. Discussions on ways to raise money to cover the cost took place and a suggestion that each member donate £5, also any brother who wished to grant a sum of money interest free to be repaid as and when the Lodge was in a position to do so. These suggestions were approved. The scheduled cost of the


building was £11,000. (Current value over £700,000). The ceremony of laying the foundation stone of the new lodge at 54 New Street took place on Sat. 18th June 1955, Bro. A. McLatchie. RWM presiding, ceremonial work was carried out by the Provincial Grand Master. Bro. the Rt. Hon. Earl of Eglinton & Winton. with the Stevenston Pipe Band in attendance. The official opening and consecration of the Temple took place on Sat. 30th June 1956 Bro. J. Bryan RWM presiding assisted by a large number of brethren, visitors were welcomed from 23 sister Lodges. The ceremony was carried out by Bro. the Rt. Hon. Earl of Eglinton & Winton. Prov. Grand Master assisted by the P.G.L. office bearers. After the ceremony a banquet was held in the Ardeer Hall and the toast list duly honoured. Cost of tickets: £1.1/-(a guinea) The first regular meeting in the new Temple was held on Tues.10th July.1956 when an E.A. Degree was conferred by the RWM and Wardens, also on this occasion Honorary Membership was conferred on the Prov. Grand Master. On Sat. 14th Nov. 1987 another milestone in the history of the Lodge took place, the occasion being the Lodge Bi-centenary. Bro. Norman Collett, RWM. Presided over a large turn out of brethren, including visitors from many sister Lodges. The deputation from Prov. Grand Lodge was headed by Bro. T. McColl IPPGM The ceremonial work was carried out by Bro. Brian Brown. Sub. Grand Master Mason and office bearers of Grand

Lodge. After the ceremony a dinner was provided in the Ardeer Hall and the toast list honoured, a harmony followed in the Social Club to conclude a historic day in the history of the Lodge. In 1781 Francis Love was born in the Wardhouse Stevenston, he became famous throughout the west of Scotland particulary in Masonic circles. A poet of no mean ability, a weaver to trade, his life being spent in this occupation, he was chiefly noted for his adhesion to the principles of Freemasonary. Great respect was held towards the man by all sections of the Masonic brethren, not only within "Thistle & Rose" with which he was connected for over 50 years, holding various offices in the Lodge till his death in 1860. The Lodges of Ayrshire erected a handsome monument to his memory in Stevenston High Kirk churchyard, it takes the form of an obelisk A copy of his poems was published in 1863 and a second edition 20 years later by popular demand. Bro. Archie Chambers Prov. Grand Master done a lot of research into Bro. Love and compiled a very interesting talk on his life and works. The two pillars of strength in a Lodge must be the Secretary and Treasurer and existing records show several long serving brethren in these offices; Secretaries:Bro. Robert Graham Bro. Joseph Clark Bro. T.Standford PM Bro. Alex. McLatchie PM Bro. Hugh Barr Bro. Robert Cramb PM


From 1914 1933 1955 1971 1991 1996

Treasurers:Bro. William Bell 1914 1934 Bro. James Ballantyne PM 1934 1955 Bro. William Thomson 1961 prest Bro. Thomson took on the office of Treasurer on a temporary basis in 1961 and is still there after 46 years ( not bad going for a temporary office). In 1991 Bro. Thomson was honoured by the Grand Lodge of Scotland by receiving the Honorary office of Assistant Grand Treasurer. At the regular meeting of the Lodge Tues 30th January 2006 Bro. Thomson was presented with a 60 year Diploma by Past Prov. Grand Master Bro. Adam Cunningham. The RWM Bro. Robert Cramb Jnr. then presented Bro Thomson with an engraved lead crystal plate in recognition of 45 years service as Lodge Treasurer. Now, here's to the health o' our ain guid Lodge The wisdom and the wealth o' our ain guid Lodge, May plenty and peace like blessing increase, And freedom reign supreme in our ain guid Lodge

Francis Love

This old Scottish Lodge celebrated its 225th anniversary last month, November 2012. Congratulations to the Brethren.

To 1933 1955 1971 1991 1996 prest

The editor and the newsletter acknowledge Lodge 169 as the copyright owner of this history. The Lodge can be accessed at this link, from where this history was extracted. If your Lodge has a history that it might like our readers to read, contact the editor.

ask the best man I know to become a Mason. But if a man against whom I know nothing, except that he is only a fair, average sort of chap, wants to come into my lodge, it is equally against Masonic principles to blackball him, just because he isn't the best educated man in the world!" "All that you say is true," responded the Old Tiler. "But I think you have only been thinking you thought."


"Ah, but I am not through!" countered the New Brother. "All that being so we stultify ourselves by that unwritten law. If it was the law that no man might apply for Masonry, and that only those who are asked could join, and we were careful whom we asked, what a wonderful personnel we could have!"

"I have been thinking," announced the New Brother to the Old Tiler.

"Who, for instance, would you ask?" responded the Old Tiler.

"Interesting, if true," murmured the Old Tiler, crossing his legs and leaning his sword against the wall. "Sometimes people think they are thinking when they only think they think."

"I know a lot of fellows I would ask!" was the immediate answer. "Dr. Bell, the famous eye man, and Jordan, the English professor, and Dr. Goodspeed, the eminent divine, and Tomlinson, the philanthropist; and that explorer fellow who did such wonderful missionary work...can't think of his name...and...and...oh, a whole lot of wonderful men! Think of the benefit to us all by having men like that in the fraternity."

"Huh?" said the New Brother. "I said, in other words, give me a cigar," answered the Old Tiler. "If you are thinking, or even if you only think you think and are about to tell me about it, I should have some nicotine as support." "I have been thinking," went on the New Brother, holding out his cigar case, "that the Masonic fraternity writes one of its unwritten laws upside down. I understand it is un-Masonic for me to


"It would be wonderful, wouldn't it?" answered the Old Tiler. "Of course it would! Well, why don't we?"

"Oh, that's simple enough. It wouldn't be Masonic." "But why?" "My son," answered the Old Tiler, "can you educate a man calling himself educated? Can you make a brick into gold be calling it gold? Can you make a silk purse out of a sow's ear by naming it a silk purse?" "Of course not," was the ready answer. "But we...we Masons make things Masonic or not Masonic by the way we look at them." "Oh, no, we don't!" cried the Old Tiler. "I have just been leading you on to see what you would say. Now I'll tell you what you want to know. We can't make a thing Masonic by calling it so because the principles of Masonry are fixed and unalterable. We agreed they were unalterable when we became Masons. Therefore, we can't alter them. While it would do you and me good if these fine men conceived a regard for the fraternity and became members, it would do us no good to make them Masons on our initiative. Then would then be above the fraternity, not humble members, glad of the blessings of the order. If we picked the men at our own pleasure we might get a higher type of personnel, but they wouldn't be Masons. They would be hand-picked men. We would deny its blessings to the men who need Masonry to shower them upon men who need them least. "There is no man who cannot be ennobled by Masonic influence. No matter how good a man is, his faith and


his morality and his righteousness may be strengthened by Masonic influence. But good men need Masonry much less than others not so good. I do not mean that Masonry should take in bad men, but men like you and me, the average man, the banker, doctor, lawyer, merchant, clerk, laborer, the everyday fellow, needs Masonry in his heart and in his life much more than the eminent men who devote their lives to humanity. Masonry is for all who want her blessings and can show that they deserve them. To restrict it to just a few, and those few picked by men with selfish interests at heart, instead of the interests of their candidates, would be un-Masonic, unnatural, and the death knell of the fraternity. "There are plenty of clubs, associations, organizations, which hand-pick their members. They are useful, good to know and belong to. But they do no such work as do Masons. As well say no man may join the church of God or hear His ministers preach His word, save those who are invited and say, 'Let us have no candidates except those we choose.' "After men apply for the degrees, then, indeed we can choose. But our choice should be dictated by the man's character, not his wealth or education or services. If he is a good man, able to afford the fees and dues, unlikely to become a charge on the lodge, and seeking Masonry, we want him. To give the blessings of Masonry only to those who need them least, would be unMasonic."

"I guess you were right," answered the New Brother.

increased by the very thoughts which sacrifice and love of country elicit.

"Were right? I am right!" answered the Old Tiler.

To those who are sick in heart and body, to those who find the world a difficult problem to live, to those who have little of the luxuries of life, and to those who have honestly tried and failed, Christmas is a magnificent gift.

"I mean, I guess you were right when you said I only thought I thought!" smiled the New Brother. This is the twenty third article in this regular feature, ‘The Old Tiler Talks,’ each month we will publish in the newsletter one of these interesting and informative pieces by Carl Claudy

Rays of Masonry “Christmas is Infinite Love” Christmas! To the child it is the beautiful mystery- a wonderful time of year when the ordinary things of life are transformed, as if by the wave of a magic wand, into the realm of a veritable heaven on earth. To the grownups who have retained the spirit of childhood, and who still carry in their hearts the remembrance of their own Christmases as children, it is also a time when the ordinary is transformed into a mystical and overpowering beauty. To many who sorrow it is a time for calm contemplation and prayerful meditations. To the parents and loved ones at home and to the sons who are far away fighting in defence of the very principles for which Christmas is a symbol, it is a time of sadness, yet a sadness mingled with gladness and supported by a Glorious Hope. And there too, is the wonder and mystery


To the oppressed, to the meek, to the poor in spirit, to all who hold fast to a faith in the Ultimate Triumph of Good, Christmas is a symbol of a "never say die spirit" which spurs man on his search for the door that leads into the Temple of Spiritual Enlightenment. Upon the Holy Altar of Freemasonry rests the Great Light. The force of that Celestial Radiance is limited only by our failure to look in the right direction. Men will learn the Christmas is not a day. It is the light that never fails. Its source is Infinite Love. Dewey Wollstein 1953. Rays of Masonry are the musings of Dewey Wollstein, and make for very good reading, these appear as a regular feature in the newsletter.

The Working Tools Go, work on mind and matter now, A Master raised to power art thou, Impress on each and all you can Wise Heaven's eternal Temple-plan. As on a trestle-board portray The great Design, from day to day; And build, in silence rever'ntly, The temple of Humanity. A.S. McBride

Fraternal Societies Of the World ‘Fraternal Order of Eagles’ Back in 1898 in Seattle, Washington, a small group of theater owners met to form a fun organization. They called it the “Seattle Order of Good Things.” A few years after its inception, the order chose the eagle as its symbol, calling itself the Fraternal Order of Eagles. In time, the fun orientation of the FOE became less pronounced, and the society shifted its emphasis to fraternal service. The order, however, still has fun too. It has drill teams and bands and in some localities participates in public parades with a motorcycle contingent. The fun spirit also manifests itself in the numerous Eagle clubs, where bowling, billiards, and beer are available. One of the Eagles’ publications expresses the change in the following words: “In line with modern needs and up-to-date procedures, the colorful regalia trappings of yesterday are no longer. Gone, too, is the secret password, the roughhouse initiation.” Still another Eagle publication says: “The emphasis has shifted from solely recreation to a more balanced program of fun and fraternal activities of wide scope. The accent now is no longer on secrecy but rather on service.” The change in the Eagles’ objectives from fun to more of a service posture also showed itself in the order’s offering its members life insurance. In 1927,


however, it was decided not to sell regular life insurance any longer, but rather to make available sick and funeral benefits for those who desired to pay somewhat higher membership fees. As a result, the FOE has two categories of memberships, beneficial and nonbeneficial. The service orientation of the FOE has not been confined to its own members. In 1941 the order donated funds for the construction of a dormitory at Boys Town, Omaha, Nebraska. A few years after the Boys Town contribution, the society built Eagle Hall at Home on the Range for Boys, Sentinel Butte, North Dakota. High Girls Ranch near Midland, Texas, has also received a dormitory from the FOE. With the establishment of the Eagles’ Memorial Foundation in 1946, the order has regularly given financial assistance to various medical research projects. In recent years the FOE has joined the environmental ecologists by lending strong support to the efforts to protect the bald eagle from extinction. It has also lent its influence to save the golden eagles as well. Ever since Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, the FOE has been actively engaged in promoting social legislation. The order has furthered the cause of workmen’s compensation, mother’s pensions, old-age pensions, and the Social Security system. In the 1980s the society was contending for citizens to be able to work beyond age sixty-five. It is also trying to get the federal authorities to return the Social Security system to its original purpose, and to secure the integrity of the Old Age and Survivors Trust Fund. An article in the January 1979 issue of the order’s bimonthly

periodical, Eagle, clearly showed the Eagles’ sentiments relative to senior citizens. The article was entitled: “Freedom from Want for Senior Citizens.” Late in 1959 the FOE began building a retirement home for elderly Eagle members. Located in Bradenton, Florida, the home is part of Eagle Village, where other facilities are available to the senior citizens. More recently the Eagles have embarked on their “Hometown, U.S.A.” program, which seeks to make hometowns better places to live. The “Home and Family” program, also a recent undertaking, is designed to preserve and strengthen the American family. Regarding membership eligibility, the FOE requires an applicant to believe in a supreme being, be twenty-one years of age, possess a good character, not be a Communist, and be a Caucasian. While the written requirements in recent years do not formally bar nonwhites from joining the Eagles, the society has not really welcomed them. Like most fraternal secret societies, the FOE employs the ball-ballot system. This system makes it difficult for a nonwhite applicant to gain admittance. Prejudiced members can easily cast blackballs as the voting on new membership applications takes place. Thus while in theory a fraternal group does not bar nonwhites, in practice the blackball method may keep the society all-white for a long time. The Milwaukee Journal (May 26, 1979) reported that the Eagles in Milwaukee were attempting to have a federal lawsuit dismissed that alleged the FOE


was violating the 1964 Civil Rights Act by not allowing blacks to use the athletic facilities of the order. The newspaper article noted that an Eagle official could cite only Joe Louis as a black who held membership in the FOE. Although the FOE membership is predominantly composed of blue-collar men, it has attracted some high-status individuals. Presidents Theodore Roosevelt, Warren Harding, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, and John F. Kennedy were members of the FOE. Other renowned individuals like Earl Warren, J. Edgar Hoover, Father Flanagan, Stan Musial, and Jack Dempsey have also brought honor to the order by their membership in the fraternity. More recently, the FOE has been proud to claim President Jimmy Carter and Vice-President Walter Mondale as members. The present membership roster has about 800,000 members. This figure has remained relatively constant over the past decade. All members are required to go through an initiation rite. Part of the ritual has the candidate say: “Before God, and on my honor, I promise that I will never make known to anyone the rituals of this Order, except to Eagles in good standing, and then only if I am authorized to do so.” Willful violation of the candidate’s pledge is reason for expulsion from the organization. The ritual is interspersed with religious phrases. Prayers, for example, are usually spoken by the aerie chaplain. The lodge room is furnished with an altar and Bible. The structure of the FOE is similar to that of most fraternal orders. Local units are known as “Aeries.” The order has fifty state groups. The national structure

is known as the “Grand Aerie.� It meets in annual conventions. Columbus, Ohio, serves as the order’s headquarters. These fraternal societies which are featured in the newsletter do really exist; there are virtually hundreds of them throughout the World, the reader will notice the similarity to the Craft.

Brothers and Builders The Basis and Spirit of Freemasonry CHAPTER 7 - THE FOUNDATION. THE basis of Freemasonry is a Faith which can neither be demonstrated nor argued down - Faith in God the wise Master-Builder by whose grace we live, and whose will we must learn and obey. Upon this basis Masonry builds, digging deep into the realities of life, using great and simple symbols to enshrine a Truth too vast for words, seeking to exalt men, to purify and refine their lives, to ennoble their hopes; in short to build men and then make them Brothers and Builders. There is no need - nay, it were idle - to argue in behalf of this profound and simple Faith, because any view of life which is of value is never maintained, much less secured, by debate. For though God, which is the name we give to the mystery and meaning of life, may be revealed in experience He cannot be uttered, and in a conflict of words we easily lose the sense of the unutterable God, the Maker of Heaven and earth and all that in them is, before whom


silence is wisdom and wonder becomes worship. It is enough to appeal to the natural and uncorrupted sense of humanity, its right reason, its moral intuition, its spiritual instinct. Long before logic was born man, looking out over the rivers, the hills and the far horizon, and into the still depths of the night sky, knew that there was Something here before he was here; Something which will be here when he is gone. Happily we are not confronted by a universe which mocks our intelligence and aspiration, and a system of things which is interpretable as far as we can go by our minds, must itself be the expression and embodiment of Mind. What is equally wonderful and awful, lending divinity to our dust, is that the Mind within and behind all the multicolored wonder of the world is akin to our own, since the world is both intelligible by and responsive to our thought - a mystery not an enigma. And, if one door yields to our inquiry, and another door opens at our knock, and another and another, it only requires a certain daring of spirit - that is, Faith to believe that, if not yet by us, why, then, by those who come after us, or, mayhap, by ourselves in some state of being in which we shall no longer be restrained by the weaknesses of mortality, or befogged by the illusions of time, the mind of man shall find itself at home and unafraid in the universe of God, a son and citizen of a City that hath foundations. Part II. What, now, precisely, does this profound faith mean to us here?

Obviously, it means that we are here in the world to do something, to build something, to be something - not simply to pass the time or to wear out shoes and what we do and build ought to express and perpetuate our personality, our character. There is one kind of immortality which we should earn in the world, by adding something of worth to the world, by so building ourselves into the order of things that whatever immortality this world may have, our life and labour shall share in it. Once, in the south of England, I heard a little poem which seemed to me to have in it a bit of final philosophy-not a great poem but telling a great truth :"The good Lord made the earth and sky, The rivers and the sea, and me, He made no roads; but here am I as happy as can be. It's just as though He'd said to me, `John, there's the job for thee.' " The idea in the rhyme is that in a very real sense God has completed nothing; not because He has not the power or the will to do so, but out of a kind of respect for men, so to put it, offering us a share in His creative work. He makes no roads, He builds no houses. True, he provides us with the material; He supplies us with firm foundations - and models of every shape of beauty - but the road and the house must be the work of man. Our good and wise poet, Edwin Markham, was right when he wrote:"We men of earth have here the stuff Of Paradise - we have enough! We need no other thing to build The stairs into the Unfulfilled No other ivory for the doors No other marble for the floors -


No other cedar for the beam And dome of man's immortal dream. Here on the paths of everyday Here on the common human way Is all the busy gods would take To build a heaven, to mould and make New Edens. Ours the stuff sublime To build Eternity in time."

Not only are we here in the world to build something, but we are here to build upon the Will of God, in obedience to His purpose and design. The truth of a will within and behind everything is a truth which has far too little place in our lives; hence our impatience, our restlessness, and our sense of futility. Yet this truth of the Will of God as final has been the strength and solace of man in all his great days. The first fact of experience, if not the last truth of philosophy, is that the world has a mind of its own, which we call the will and purpose of God. Manifestly the only man who builds rightly is the man who builds with due regard for the laws, forces and conditions of the world in which he lives. Not one of us would trust ourselves to a house which had been built casually and haphazard. We demand of a wall that it shall have been built with respect to the centre of gravity of this earth, and to the position of the polar star. Our work, if it is to be of any worth, must be in harmony with the nature of things; and this is equally true when we think of the House of the Spirit not built with hands, but which, none the less, we are set to build in the midst of the years. Here also we build wisely only when we build in harmony with the Will of God as we

believe and see it. All history enforces the truth that there is a Will, holy and inexorable, which in the end passes judgment upon our human undertakings. Men do not make laws; they discover them. Faith in God advises us, warns us, to regard the revelations of the moral, as well as the physical, Will of God, else our proudest fabric will totter to ruin. Therefore we are here in the world to build upon the Will of God with the help of God, invoking His help in words of prayer and worship, but also in our efforts and acts of obedience, and proving ourselves worthy of that help, and retaining it, by keeping in the midst of it by humble fidelity. A wise man, especially a Freemason - if he knows his art - will rebuke himself and recall himself from any vagrant lapse or prolonged neglect, lest he go too far. Here is a matter which even the best of us too often forget. God no more wishes us to live without His aid than He wishes us to live without air. He is the breath of our spirit. Truly has it been said that the final truth about man is not that way down in the depths he is alone; but that in the depths he is face to face with God. Long ago it was said: "Except the Lord build the house they labour in vain that build it." What the Psalmist means is that the great things in the world are not accomplished by man, either by his anxieties or by his ingenuities. By these lower, lesser faculties by cunning, by cleverness - we may achieve small and passing things. The truth is, rather, that the great things, the enduring things, are accomplished - not, indeed, apart from us, and yet not wholly as the result of our efforts - by One wiser than


ourselves by whom we are employed in the fulfilment of a design larger than we have planned and nobler than we have dreamed. Those of our race who have wrought the most beautiful and enduring works confess themselves to have been used by a Hand and a Will other than their own, as if caught up into the rhythm of "one vast life that moves and cannot die. " Here is no abstract and unreal platitude, but a truth, a fact, a source to which we may apply a daily test, and which we need to invoke if we are to face the difficulties and embarrassments - aye, the tragedies - of these our days and years. Even the strongest of us need such resource the better to confront the issues of the day, as well as to face the vaster problems and mysteries which lie on all the horizons of our life. Part III. Such is the foundation of Freemasonry, and the faith by which it makes us builders upon the Will of God and by His help, and brothers one of another. Upon this foundation is erected an elaborate allegory of human life in all its varied aspects: the Lodge a symbol of the world in which man lives, moves and goes forth to his labour; initiation our birth into a world in which we are to learn morality and charity; if counted worthy passing out of youth into manhood with its wider knowledge and heavier responsibilities; and finally, if we have integrity and courage, the discovery that we are citizens of Eternity in time: an ideal world ruled by love, wisdom, strength and beauty. It is a great day for a young man when Masonry reveals its meaning to him,

unveiling its plan of life, its purpose, and its prophecy of a Temple of Brotherhood. A great Freemason of Scotland, who recently climbed ahead to work up in the dome of the Temple, left us a legacy of inspiration and instruction in a book which is at once a mentor and a memorial: "Speculative Masonry," by A. S. MacBride, Lodge Progress, Glasgow. Even now it is a classic of our literature, a light to lead his Brethren toward the truth after he has vanished from among us. The book is wise rather than clever, beautiful rather than brilliant; but there is hardly a page that does not yield some insight to illumine, some epigram to haunt the mind. The beauty of the book is inwrought, not decorative; in the build of its thought even more than in the turn of its sentences, and still more in its spirit in which spiritual vision and practical wisdom are blended. There are passages of singular nobility, as witness this one on the Great Landmark:"Why is Masonry here, in this world of selfishness and strife? Wherefore has it been developed, amid war and incessant conflict, along the lines of peace and love; and so marvellously moulded and developed that in every land it is now known and by every race made welcome? Has all this been done that it may live for itself alone? No, there, on its Trestleboard is the Plan of the Great Architect and its mission is to work out that plan. Out of the rough hard quarries of a quarrelling humanity it has to build a Temple of Brotherhood and Peace. This Temple is the Great Landmark - the highest and grandest ideal of Masonry. To build, strengthen and


beautify it, we must bring in the aid of all the arts and sciences, apply every resource that civilization and progress can give us, and exercise all the powers and gifts with which we have been endowed. "'What nobler work can we be engaged in, Brethren ? Yet, how far we are, as a rule, from understanding it. We seem to be groping in the dark. Yet, it is ignorance more than unwillingness that hinders the work. Like the ingenious craftsman at the building of the Temple at Jerusalem, we appear to be without plan and instruction, while, in reality, our plan and instruction lie in the work itself. Then, like him, we shall some day have our reward, and will gratefully exclaim: Thank God, I have marked well." This is the final Chapter in the Book, Brothers and Builders by Joseph Fort Newton.

The Wages of the Craft There is a mine of wealth in the verbiage of Masonry. To ordinary observers the surface indications may be slight, but to the thoughtful Mason every word contains a nugget of ore. Often the Senior Warden of a lodge is regarded as a greatly inferior officer, with little authority, and merely a sort of Deputy Master, a lay figure, unless the Master be absent. Not so; and he tells us so, and what he tells is true, and indicates a deeper truth than he tells. The Senior Warden is the paymaster of the craft, now nominally, once really. He is a sort of stranded Masonic official on the shores of time. His vocation is largely gone. But what be now asserts of himself gives as a hint of what he once

really was. It proves that he is an historic character, that time, the great leveller, has lessened his authority; that his office was not created in the present or last century, but originated with Freemasonry itself, in the remote past. The language used by the Senior Warden proves that he is a kind of fossil. When does he ever pay the craft wages now? But he did once—ay, and as long as three thousand years ago, if there is anything in masonic tradition, or in masonic philology. This carries us back to the building of King Solomon’s Temple. According to the traditions of the lodge, which are fortified in certain respects by the facts and traditions of Mark Masonry as well, there were two classes of stone hewers and squarers, or Fellowcrafts, at the building of Solomon’s Temple—first, a superior class of skilled workmen, who were each in possession of an individual ‘Mark,” and who always designated their work by this Mark; and, second an inferior class, of probably younger and less experienced workmen, who had no Mark, and probably performed only the rough work of the quarries. The former received their pay in silver; the latter in corn, wine and oil, It was the duty of the Senior Warden of the lodge to pay these wages, and he did it on the sixth day of the week (Friday), at the sixth hour (high twelve), when the craft was called off from labour to refreshment. Now that the Mark Degree has been severed from the Follow Graft Degree and made a special degree, the Senior Warden’s vocation in the Fellow Craft or Master Mason’s Lodge is gone. He has no wages to bestow and no craftsmen to pay. Nevertheless, he


retains the old language, which indicates what his duty once was, and thereby testifies to the antiquity of his station and the dignity with which he was once clothed. But let it not be inferred Freemasons no longer receive wages. Far from it. There is no man who receives better wages than a Freemason, He is a member of that ancient and honourable fraternity which has no rival, whose wealth.—.intellectual, moral, social and material—is untold, and which dispenses its wealth with a liberal hand. Let us see what the wages of the craft now are, and to whom they are paid. ‘The non-affiliate gets nothing, and merits nothing. He is a backslider, out of all sympathy with his fellows. He comes not near the lodge, and of course can receive no wages. Neither does the habitual absentee from the lodge, who is in good standing, receive any wages. Seeing is receiving, and he never hears. Hearing is receiving, end he never hears. No one receives wages but the brother who is dutiful to his lodge. But what does he receive? Most liberal wages. He is enriched in mind, in body, and in spirit. The sublime truths taught in the craft, by sign and symbol by word and act, are impressed again and again on his memory, so that he cannot forget them. Every devoted Freemason should be a noble man, He has no excuse for turpitude, He unfailingly knows what is right, and cannot err through ignorance. Beside this, he is enriched in spirit by communion and fellowship with his brethren. He has their sympathy; he sits

with them, both at labour amid refreshment. The convivial joys of the banquet room are his. He is enriched also in body. Often the wages are material in form. He partakes of the viands which upbuild the body and rejoice the heart—-the corn, the wine and the oil of the craft. His wages often include all of these payments. Can any brother under these circumstances go away dissatisfied? Can he be aught than happy, yea, delighted? Is the fraternity a useless one which can offer such rewards to its initiates—truth for the mind, nourishment for the body, encouragement and inspiration for the spirit, the emotional nature? Ay and its wages are larger still. Does fortune fail, do friends fall away, does penury follow sharply on tile heels of misfortune, then heaven-born charity is dispensed by the craft. Then the wages are in shekels, as well as in the corn of nourishment, the wine of refreshment and the oil of joy. The unfortunate brother is paid the wages of both classes of Fellow Crafts, those with Marks and those without; he is paid in specie and he is paid in kind. Were Freemasons ever better paid than now? Were their wages ever larger? We would rather be a Freemason to-day than to have been one in the days of King Solomon. We would rather enjoy the labour and refreshment of the lodge now than that which our primitive brethren enjoyed. The best times are these times, all that is said about the “good old times” to the contrary notwithstanding. All Freemasons are entitled to receive their wages, and, if they do not, it is owing to the wilful neglect of their duties; it is their fault and not the fault

of the craft—. Masonic Record of Western India 1888. The Australian Keystone February 1st 1888

This article was sent to the newsletter by Bro. Tom Stirling PM from Victoria, Australia. Tom is a member of The Caledonian Masonic Demonstration team, see the March Issue No.46 of the Ashlar magazine for more details about this band of Brothers!

A PRAYER IN THE PROSPECT OF DEATH O Thou unknown, Almighty Cause Of all my hope and fear! In whose dread presence, ere an hour Perhaps I must appear! If I have wander'd in those paths Of life I ought to shun – As something, loudly, in my breast, Remonstrates I have done — Thou know'st that Thou has formed me With passions wild and strong! And list'ning to their witching voice Has often led me wrong. Where human weakness has come short, Or frailty stept aside, Do Thou, All-good — for such Thou art In shades of darkness hide. Where with intention I have err'd, No other plea I have, But, Thou art good, and Goodness still Delighteth to forgive. A poem by Robert Burns


The V.S.L. The V.S.L. is an essential part of the Lodge when in session and there is no specific rule as to which way round it should be turned. Symbolically, the Master reads and teaches from the book, but when the Candidate for the purpose of taking an obligation uses it, it becomes in a certain sense his book. Our Lodges are required to provide for each Candidate that particular version of the Holy Writ forming part of his faith and for the Obligation, at least, there is a lot of support for the view that the Book should be arranged that he can recognise and read it. It is the holy book of one’s religion.

The Obligation In medieval days an oath to keep secret any communications would be demanded of every initiate in every mystery. An oath is a solemn appeal to God to support the truth of a declaration that a promise will be kept. An obligation is a binding agreement. It can be seen that the two are not quite the same. There has been much discussion and many writings by learned brethren regarding the content of Masonic Obligations and I am not sufficiently acquainted with all of them to pontificate here, suffice it to say that even in England the penalty clause is given in different ways. In Bristol working it concludes “….or until horrible punishment of being branded” etc… In Irish Lodges the Candidate, bears in mind… the ancient penalty.”

The Charge after Initiation The origins first appear in an anonymous text c1730. The earliest known text was in Smiths a Pocket Companion for Freemasons in London 1735 and followed in the same year in Irish and was approved by the Grand Master and Senior Officers of the Grand Lodge of Ireland. The present text was fixed by the Lodge of Reconciliation 1814-16 to reconcile former workings. There is much common sense of purpose spoken in this charge which can still be applied to everyday life and should be reviewed from time to time. We have no “Masonic God” only the Supreme Being worshipped in one’s own religion or faith. We are bound to keep only ‘lawful’ secrets which does not include any contravening the Laws of God and the Laws of the Land. Sourced from Why? ‘Coming to Terms with Freemasonry’ by Bro. John Cane PPG Supt Wks (Surrey)


Until next month, Keep the faith! The Editor.

The North Pole Lodge No.1. 'Twas the Night before Christmas, and down at the Lodge not a gavel was stirring, and in the hodge-podge. Of aprons and jewels and chairs East and West You could savor the silence, most gladly divest All metal and mineral, it mattered not, Since Christmas was nigh and the coals were still hot. In the hearth of your homeplace, all Masons abed, As visions of trestleboards danced in their head; When up on the roof there arose such a clatter Our Tyler jumped up to see what was the matter! He picked up his sword and ran fast to the door, Three knocks shook the panels - he wondered 'What for?' He answered the knocking with raps of his own, And once the door opened he saw, with a moan Of delight it was Santa, all jolly and red Except for one notable feature instead! Upon his large finger he wore what we knew Was compass and square on a background of blue! 'Why Santa!' he shouted and lowered his blade,


'I see you're a Mason!' the Tyler relayed. He looked toward the Master's most dignified chair And said, voice near trembling, 'Most Worshipful there Is a Gentleman properly clothed at the gate!' The Master replied, 'Let's allow him - but wait! You tell me a Gentleman, but I don't see His Apron beneath that red suit, can it be Our visitor hasn't been properly raised? Must we offer a test that is suitably phrased? ‘I do beg your pardon,' ol' Santa said quick As he pulled up his coat and displayed not a stick But a cane with engraving, two balls did appear And oh, what an apron, he wore and held dear! Adorned like the Master's, complete with a sign Of "The North Pole Lodge Number One" on one line! "Now let this man enter," the Master declared, And once in the Lodge room, the Brethren all stared, For Santa was wearing a jewel not seen For many a century - there in between The fur of his coat and the splendid red collar Gleamed two golden reindeer that shone like a dollar! "It's Donner and Blitzen, who I must confess "Are actually images brought from the West By my Warden, a craftsman like none in the world!" And with a great laugh from his bag he unfurled An ear of fine corn, and some oil from the East, "My friend I have plenty, tonight we will feast On all that is good! We are Masons, kind sir!" A murmur went throughout the Lodge, quite a stir, As presents and promises flew from his sack! This Santa, a Mason, showed he had a knack For making this Christmas the best you could glean, And soon even Deacons were laughing, they'd seen On this very night only happiness reigned! This jolly Saint Nicholas quickly explained That only a Mason could be so inclined To make all kids happy, make all people find A Christmas so special, yes, Santa was right! Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!