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The General Ahiman Rezon

Daniel Sickels


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Description

With over 70 illustrations, this is a collection of Masonic rituals, including ceremonies related to the degrees of the Entered Apprentice, Fellow-craft and Master Mason. It includes extensive treatment of funeral rituals. There is musical notation for a number of Masonic hymns. An appendix has a series of model documents for various masonic situations. While it does not disclose anything truly secret, the General Ahiman Rezon gives us an insightful peek behind the veil of 19th century Masonic pomp and circumstance.

This book has 330 pages in the PDF version, and was originally published in 1868.

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Excerpt from 'The General Ahiman Rezon'

FREEMASONRY 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 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.

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FROM the commencement of the world, we may trace the foundation of Masonry. Ever since symmetry began, and harmony displayed her charms, our Order has had a being. During many ages, and in many different countries, it has flourished. No art, no science, preceded it. In the dark periods of antiquity, when literature was in a low state, and the rude manners of our forefathers withheld from them that knowledge we now so amply share, Masonry diffused its influence. This science unvailed, arts arose, civilization took place, and the progress of knowledge and philosophy gradually dispelled the gloom of ignorance and barbarism. Government being settled, authority was given to laws, and the assemblies of the Fraternity acquired the patronage of the great and the good, while the tenets of the profession diffused unbounded philanthropy.

Abstracted from the pure pleasures which arise from friendship so wisely constituted as that which subsists among Masons, and which it is scarcely possible that any circumstance or occurrence can erase, Masonry is a science confined to no particular country, but extends over the whole terrestrial globe. Wherever the arts flourish, there it flourishes too. Add to this, that by secret and inviolable signs, carefully preserved among the fraternity, it becomes an universal language. Hence, many advantages are gained: the distant Chinese, the wild Arab, and the American savage, will embrace a brother Briton, and know that, besides the common ties of humanity, there is still a stronger obligation to induce him to kind and friendly offices. The spirit of the fulminating priest will be tamed, and a moral brother, though of a different persuasion, engage his esteem: for mutual toleration in religious opinions is one of the most distinguishing and valuable characteristics of the Craft. As all religions teach morality, if a brother be found to act the part of a truly honest man, his private speculative opinions are left to God and himself. Thus, through the influence of Masonry, which is reconcilable to the best policy, all those disputes which embitter life and sour the tempers of men, are avoided; while the common good, the general object, is zealously pursued.

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