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General Ahiman Rezon, by Daniel Sickels, [1868], at

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REEMASONRY is a moral institution, established by virtuous men, with the praiseworthy design of recalling to our remembrance the most sublime TRUTHS in the midst of innocent and social pleasures,—founded On LIBERALITY, BROTHERLY LOVE, and CHARITY. "It is a beautiful system of MORALITY, vailed in allegory and illustrated by symbols." TRUTH is its center—the point whence its radii diverge, direct its disciples to a correct knowledge of the Great Architect of the Universe, and the moral laws which he has ordained for their government. *

A proper administration of the various ceremonies connected with the Ritual of Freemasonry is of the highest importance, as these form the distinctive peculiarity of the institution. In their nature, they are simple; in their end, moral and instructive. They naturally excite a high degree of curiosity in a newly-initiated Brother, and create an earnest desire to investigate

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their meaning, and to become acquainted with their object and design. It requires, however, close application and untiring diligence to ascertain the precise nature of every ceremony which our ancient brethren saw reason to adopt in the formation of an exclusive system, which was to pass through the world unconnected with the religion and politics of all times, and of every people among whom it should flourish and increase. In order to preserve our ceremonies from the hand of innovation, it is essentially necessary that every officer should be thoroughly acquainted with them, and that a firm determination should exist among the Craft to admit no change. A few words here or there may not in themselves appear of much consequence; yet, by frequent allowance, we become habituated to them, and thus open the door to evils of more serious magnitude. There is, there can be, no safety but in a rigid adherence to the ancient ceremonies of the Order. These ceremonies and regulations are fixed by rules similar to those. governing affairs in social life. Every Freemason is required to bring his portion of good ideas, and contribute to the perfecting of the ceremonies and symbols, and to the edification of TRUTH, the universal and eternal temple, which will one day inclose all humanity within its precincts.


13:* To use the words of an elegant writer, "Freemasonry is an institution, not, as the ignorant and uninstructed vainly suppose, founded on unmeaning mystery, for the encouragement of bacchanalian festivity and support of mere good. fellowship; but an institution founded on eternal reason and truth, whose deer basis is the civilization of mankind, and whose everlasting glory is supported by those two mighty pillars—SCIENCE and MORALITY."

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