illustrations of masonry
The favourable reception this Treatise has met within the several Editions
through which it has passed, encourages the Author to hope that its appearance
on a still more enlarged scale, will not render it less deserving the
countenance of his Brethren. He would be wanting in gratitude to his friends,
not to acknowledge his obligations to several gentlemen for many curious
extracts, and the perusal of some valuable manuscripts, which have enabled him
to illustrate his subject with greater accuracy and precision.
This Tract is divided into Four Books. In the First Book, the excellency of
Masonry is displayed. In the Second Book the Lectures of the different degrees
are illustrated, with occasional remarks; and a brief description is given of
the ancient ceremonies of the Order. This part of the Treatise, which the Author
considers most essential for the instruction and improvement of his Brethren, is
considerably extended in the present edition. The Third Book contains the copy
of a curious old Manuscript, with annotations, the better to explain this
authentic document of antiquity. The Fourth Book is restricted to the history of
Masonry, from its first appearance in England to the present time, in the course
of which are introduced the most remarkable occurrences of the Society, both at
home and abroad, with some account of the principal patrons and protectors of
the fraternity at different periods. The progress of the Society on the
Continent, as well as in India and America, is also traced, while the
proceedings of the Brethren of Scotland particularly claim attention. throughout
the whole are interspersed several explanatory notes, containing a variety of
interesting and well authenticated particulars.
At the end is given a collection of Anthems and Songs; some of which have
never appeared in any of the former editions. These being occasionally
introduced in our assemblies, must tend to greatly enliven the proceedings.
Thus having endeavoured to put the finishing stroke to his Treatise, the
success of which has far exceeded the its merit, the author can only observe,
that should the additions be considered real improvements, he will be amply
gratified for any pains he may have taken.
Dean-fleet, Fetter Lane, Dec 1 1795
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