General Ahiman Rezon, by Daniel Sickels, , at sacred-texts.com
"How far any will be guided by me I hope I shall always know myself so well as to leave that to their own choice. As to the inutility of my inquiries, and also the impartiality of them, here I confess myself to wish (as I think what I wish) they may be good, not absolutely terminating upon myself, that the reader will consider them with as unbiassed a freedom as I have written."—SHUCKFORD.
"IN the present state of Freemasonry, dispersed as it is over the whole face of the habitable globe, and distinguished by an anxious inquiry, whether its reputed origin be well founded, and whether its philosophy and the evidences on which its claims to public notice are entitled to the implicit credence of mankind, it is the duty of every Brother, so far as his influence may extend, to furnish the means of satisfying this ardent curiosity."—OLIVER.
AMONG the many beautiful and appropriate definitions given to Freemasonry none is more comprehensive than the one to be found in the English lectures: "Freemasonry is a science of morality, vailed in allegory and illustrated by symbols."
Freemasonry, then, most prominently presents itself to our view as a science of symbolism. In the teachings of the ancient priesthood this science was first developed. Among them it was organized into a beautiful and impressive system, in which the most profound lessons of Divine Truth were taught in images of poetical form. It was thus that the ancient philosophers communicated all their instructions to their disciples. Having these views of the purposes of the institution, the undersigned has labored in the vineyard of Masonic symbolism for the advancement to a higher knowledge and an easier elucidation of its beautiful mysteries by the aid of symbols and moral illustrations.
The great object sought to be attained in the present volume is to give a more ample scope and a freer use of terms, whereby the Masonic student may become familiar with the great truths taught in the science of Freemasonry. The frequent applications of emendations and explanatory remarks to the ritualistic text may be easily understood by those who have been admitted into its temples, while the profane will have a better appreciation of its claims to something more than a name.
The usual forms and explanations incident to a complete monitor have been carefully revised, and are, it is believed, correct.
A new feature, in compliance with a very generally expressed want of the Fraternity, has been added in the Ritual for a Lodge of Sorrow, prepared by a well-known and distinguished Masonic writer, which, it is thought, will be welcomed as a most appropriate form for celebrating the memory of the fraternal dead.
To those brethren who have, with uniform kindness, favored me with their valuable aid I acknowledge with thanks my indebtedness.
NEW YORK, Dec., 1865.