The Masonic Trowel

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illustrations of masonry
william preston

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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Last modified: March 22, 2014