Ruffians, Names of The
Theosophical and occultist writers have argued that the combined endings of the three names of the Ruffians form together the mystical, Brahmin AUM, as noted on pace 111; and from this they argue that Freemasonry conceals mysteries from the Far East, etc. Historians have found that Speculative Freemasonry arose in England and developed out of Operative Freemasonry which was for some four or five centuries spread over Britain and Europe; an argument composed of speculations about so slight a fact as the endings of three names is not sufficient to overthrow the massive accumulation of data collected by those historians.
Equally disastrous to the theory is the fact that at one time or another the Ruffians have had other names, and have differed in number; also, the a, u, m endings became crystallized in the Ritual after the founding of Speculative Freemasonry. In the old catechism called The Whole Institutions of Freemasons Opened, a short document published in Dublin in 1725, occur these curious sentences: "Your first word is Jachin and Boaz is the answer to it, and Grip at the forefinger joint.--Your 2nd word is Magboe and Boe is the answer to it, and Grip at the Wrist. Your 3rd word is Gibboram, Esimbrel is the answer."
The origin of the Ruffians themselves is undiscovered; perhaps when the Ritual came to be enacted, instead of being largely composed of a set of drawn symbols with verbal explanations, they were introduced and given their names; if so, the endings may be nothing more than a form of verbal symmetry. (The subject of the many instances of verbal symmetry in the Work, along with other forms of symmetry such as 3, 5, 7, etc., awaits research; if the research were conducted according to the canons of literary analysis, in addition to historical analysis, it might yield light on the origin of the form of the Work now in use. Symmetry cannot be either coincidental or accidental, but must imply redaction, or editorship, or authorship. Bro. and Prof. David Eugene Smith has suggested that the three names are suspiciously like certain old variations on the Hebrew word for "jubilee.")
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