This is the extended annotated edition including a very detailed introduction about Freemasonic history and ethics.
The purpose of these lectures is to consider the origin and nature of the Ancient Mysteries and Modern Masonry and to show the relation which they bear one to the other. Freemasonry deals largely with the morals and symbols of the Mysteries of Antiquity, and originally was one of the channels of Ancient Wisdom.
There were a few among the founders of Modern Masonry who possessed the Royal Secret, or, at least, had a knowledge of its existence, and, if the key has been lost, the Mason, as Heir-apparent of the Old Wisdom, should be foremost in the search for its recovery.
All agree that the Masonic symbols and traditions are of the greatest antiquity, and can be traced to the far East--to the earliest civilization, from which time and place they have spoken in nature's language to all peoples of the earth. We are more and more convinced that this picture language of our ritual contains a most complete philosophy--a knowledge embracing the eternal verities of the universe, and that these symbols were designed by the Initiates of old to preserve and convey that Ancient Wisdom to the present and future generations. Though empires and dynastic continents have appeared and passed away, these ancient symbols, hewn in rock-cut temples and monuments, have served to convey the Great Secret from ages past and will continue its record as long as this part of the universe remains.
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