Author: Rev'd Neville Barker Cryer
Another excellent book by Rev'd Cryer! This one is another compilation of lectures and these are about many little known or often overlooked facts about our Blue Lodge heritage. This book, just like "What Do You Know About The Royal Arch", is written in a conversational style to convey the lessons. It is also written with a focus mainly on degree work in England, but there are comparisons to American work and other subtle means for the American Freemason to relate to the lessons.
My favorite lectures were "The Puzzle of the Third Degree" and "Neglected Aspects of the Three Degrees".
By far one of my favorite writing of all of Rev'd Cryer's many writings, "The Puzzle of the Third Degree" is absolutely fascinating! He discusses some apparent inconsistencies or gaps in the Master Mason's degree. This lecture regards the 3rd degree as practiced in England and might be somewhat difficult to follow for a Master Mason raised through the American degrees. What helped me understand better, however, was my experience in the Royal Arch (Chapter) degrees. I do not believe I would have fully understood this lecture if I did not have the RAM degree and work frequently on my Chapter's RAM degree team. With a RAM background serving as a "bridge" between the American degrees and the English degrees, a Master Mason might find this writing very educational and fascinating.
In the Neglected Aspects lecture, I was particularly interested in the discussion about the orientation of the chambers and stairs and the discussion of the ashlars regarding their positions in the lodge room and in relation to the candidates and the 1st and 2nd degrees.
In the lecture titled "Unknown Parts of the Tracing Boards" there is an excellent discussion of the black and white checkered (mosaic) pavement. Very interesting information for all Masons.
I also enjoyed "What is the Point of other Than Craft Degrees?" because I am always looking for new ways to explain the importance of the degrees beyond that of Master Mason. This is an important lecture for all Master Masons, especially those deliberating on when or if to complete his degree work. Rev'd Cryer uses the chronologic sequencing of the degrees and time order of "the story" to explain how the additional degrees fill in the story. He doesn't compromise the degree work in any way, but he does an excellent job of explaining how the gaps in the story- as portrayed- in the first three degrees came about. A very good lecture!
Overall a very good book for all Master Masons and an excellent addition to any Masonic library. A Mason that has completed his Chapter degrees may have a slight edge in understanding some of the lectures, but one who has not may be intrigued enough to continue his degree work!
Review by Companion Bill Boyd.