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7th June 2019

Nature & Principles of Royal Arch Masonry

In the Book of Constitutions, presented to us at our initiation, we are informed that pure Antient Masonry consists of the Degrees of Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft, and Master Mason, including the Supreme Order of the Holy Royal Arch; the fourth part of our Masonic journey.

Today, in the name TTLGMH, we thank the Supreme Grand Chapter of England for having granted us a warrant of constitution to form a new Holy Royal Arch Chapter to enable the brethren of Mustapha Osman Lodge No. 9859 who meet in Kuantan, Pahang to continue their important and sacred journey in Freemasonry. What better place to have the Consecration ceremony then to hold it in this very historic Freemasons’ Hall of Singapore whilst commemorating the two hundred years since the founding of this very important global trading port by our own brother, Sir Stamford Raffles.

We also thank the consecrating team, in particularly our Grand Officers from Supreme Grand Chapter headed by ME Comp Sir David Hugh Wootton, Past 3rd Grand Principal, as well as ME Comp Vivian Lee, the Grand Superintend of the District Grand Chapter of Hong Kong and the Far East for having braved the journey, so to speak, to aid and abet us in the process and to ensure that the solemn ceremonies are carried out with pomp and with dignity.

We also welcome all our very distinguished visitors from far and near to enjoin us in this memorable and historical occasion.

Companions of Mustapha Osman, you will soon have a Royal Arch Chapter appended to your Lodge and at your doorsteps. You no longer will have to make the arduous trips to Kuala Lumpur and back just to enjoy this wonderful degree in Freemasonry, thus making the world a greener place by reducing carbon emissions. E. Companions and Companions of Mustapha Osman, despite not having our own Royal Arch Chapter, your conversion rate from Master Masons of your lodge to Royal Arch has been good and now we expect it to be excellent.

To expound on the nature and principles of the institution of Royal Arch Masonry, it is necessary for us to consider the link between Craft and Royal Arch Masonry.

Many have attempted to draw a line of demarcation between the Craft and the Royal Arch by making a distinction between the moral teachings of the Craft and the more spiritual teachings of the Royal Arch. Upon deeper examination, we find that the Craft and the Royal are intrinsically interwoven in their philosophies, as well as their rituals and, in all three degrees, not just that of the Third Degree. “The journey begins with our first hesitant steps into the body of the lodge on the evening of our initiation and continue in an unbroken line right the way through to our installation as First Principal in our Chapter. We commence this epic journey by professing a belief in God, a dependence upon God, and a blessing is invoked upon us in his name.” – to quote Rev. Graham I. Williams at the Annual Convocation of the Surrey Provincial Grand Chapter in 1986.

Our 1st Grand Principal , HRH the Duke of Kent in his address at the Annual Convocation of Supreme Grand Chapter in April 2019 in London reiterated the following : “One aspect that I am sure they will want to emphasise is that no Mason should be joining other orders without first completing their journey in Pure Antient Masonry by becoming a member of the Holy Royal Arch.”

In the First Degree, the tracing board depicts Jacob’s ladder, founded firmly on the floor of a Craft lodge, resting on the Holy Scriptures and stretching with its many virtual moral and philosophical rounds, most especially faith, hope and charity, reaching, not to man’s immortal destiny, as depicted and concluded in the Third Degree, but beyond, into an unknown ethereal mansion, at least, unknown as far as the limits of the Craft degree are concerned, in a spiritual sense almost transcending the workings of the Third Degree.

Ironically and almost conversely, we also find in the Third degree the clearest indications of immortality and salvation. It is surely no accident that now, and for the first time we hear the term “Companion”. In this degree we are confronted with our inevitable destiny, mortality. By the use of ancient and traditional mysteries, sensitive and philosophical allegory, we are advised of the prospect of a reunion with the “Companions” of our former labour. For many years the Craft journey was concluded by means of the ceremony of exaltation being an appendage to the Third Degree. Later, the Ancients conferred Exaltation as a fourth degree.

In English Freemasonry, the Royal Arch Regulations are published in the Book of Constitutions showing conclusively the inalienable link of the two institutions.

The Consecration of a new Chapter is an endeavour to work out the high principles of those to whom these mysteries are entrusted. It is to you, Companions of the Royal Arch, that we look for the elucidation of the hidden mysteries of this Supreme Order of Freemasonry. Therefore, it is to you that we look for the instruction so that each brother who knocks suppliantly at your doors, shall be rewarded by such revelation as has been committed and entrusted to you.

If you have found the genuine secrets of a Master Mason, it will be your glory to communicate these to those brethren who are fit to receive them; if you have squared your lives by Him, who is the Truth; if you have sought that Wisdom which is from above; if the Peace of God rules your hearts and lives: if you have received strength from the Sacred Name, which is a strong Tower against the enemy; if you are endeavouring to show forth in your lives the beauty of Holiness; then it will be your joy and crown to bring these great realities of Masonry and of all spiritual life into vital union with the brethren, so that they will be drawn nearer, in life and conversation, to the Lord and Father of us all and the very Spring and Source of all virtue.

Royal Arch is the climax of freemasonry. So be of one heart, and of one mind, live in peace and harmony, and may the God of Love and Mercy be delighted to dwell within you, and by His infinite Wisdom and Understanding, please Him to grant each of you, the Founders of Mustapha Osman Chapter No. 9859 EC, the benefit of His eternal blessing, and life immortal for everlasting bliss and spiritual perpetuity. SMIB

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