book intro

The Book of Constitutions of this Grand Lodge or Ahiman Rezon was a constitution written by Laurence Dermott for the Ancient Grand Lodge of England which was formed in 1751.

The formation of the Ancient Grand Lodge brought together lodges and Masons who, believing themselves to be part of an older, original Masonic tradition, had chosen not to ally themselves with the previously formed Moderns Grand Lodge of 1717.

The title Ahiman Rezon has been often said to be of the Hebrew language and variously mean “to help a brother”, “will of selected brethren”, “The secrets of prepared brethren”, “Royal Builders” and “Brother Secretary”.

Upon more inspection however the words Ahiman and Rezon are two Biblical figures. Ahiman [1] was one of four Levite gatekeepers appointed by King David, the others being Shallum, Akkub, and Talmon who guarded the Holy of Holies. 

Rezon, [2] a fallen prince, eventually came to lead a group of Marauders to seize Syria where he became king and was constantly entangled in feuds against King Solomon.

The reason why Laurence Dermott used it, and what it meant to him, remains a mystery however some have speculated that Dermott chose these names to show exactly how the Ancient Freemasons felt in relation to the Modern Freemasons.

Ancients sought to retain a purist form of Freemasonry, which they viewed as being holy. The Modernist sought to change Masonry, and were in the process removing the old ways entirely.

Dermott saw the Ancients akin to Ahiman, guarding the Holiest of Holies-Masonry, and likewise to Rezon as his movement (the Ancient Freemasons) were rivaling the Modernist movement, much like Rezon’s rivalry with King Solomon who had become unclean in the eyes of the Lord.

The Ahiman Rezon prepared by Smith in 1781, and used by Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, as well as Daicho’s edition of 1807, used by the Grand Lodge of Ancient York Masons of South Carolina, are both based on the original text written by Laurence Dermott, which was first published in A.D. 1756 or the year of Masonry A.L. 5756.

The first edition of the Ahiman Rezon was published in 1756, a second one in 1764.

By the time the Ancients and Moderns united in 1813, eight editions had been published.

The original edition, written by Laurence Dermott, Grand Secretary of the Ancient Grand Lodge, contains a parody of the histories of Freemasonry such as that in Anderson’s ‘Constitutions’, in which Dermott resolves to write a history of the Craft by purchasing all the previous histories and then throwing them ‘under the table’.

He then describes a fabled meeting with four ‘sojourners from Jerusalem’ who were present at the building of Solomon’s temple, making them at least two thousand years old, whose ‘memories’ were possibly failing them.

This satire continues the tradition of the Scald Miserable Masons who staged mock processions and disrupted the Grand Lodge’s annual procession.

Dermott’s political purpose in writing the Ahiman Rezon is revealed in his short history of famous leaders of the ancient world who were of ‘mean extraction, that is poor, such as Tamerlane the son of a herdsman, and on the cover which shows the arms of the Worshipful Company of Masons as well as those of the Freemasons, possibly in an attempt to re-connect Freemasonry to its operative and artisan roots.

The Grand Lodges of Pennsylvania and South Carolina are the only two jurisdictions in the U.S. that continue to call their Constitution by this name.

In Section 12 of the Pennsylvania Ahiman Rezon, under Historical Notes, it states the following:

The first Book of Masonic law published by the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania was entitled:

“Ahiman Rezon abridged and digested” as a help to all that are or would be Free and Accepted Masons.”

It was prepared by the Grand Secretary, Rev. Brother William Smith, D.D., Provost of the University of Pennsylvania, and was almost entirely a reprint of Dermott’s work; it was approved by the Grand Lodge 22 November 1781, published in 1783, and dedicated to Brother George Washington.

Source: Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ahiman_Rezon under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0

Ahiman Rezon
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Ahiman Rezon abridged and digested: as a help to all that are, or would be Free and Accepted Masons.

To which is added, a sermon, preached in Christ-Church, Philadelphia, at a general communication, celebrated, agreeable to the constitutions, on Monday, December 28, 1778, as the anniversary of St. John the Evangelist.

Published by order of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, by William Smith, D.D.

Philadelphia : Printed by Hall and Sellers

MDCCLXXXIII

Ahiman Rezon
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PREFACE.

The design of the following work (according to the appointment of the Grand Lodge) is only to extract, abridge and digest under distinct heads, the several parts of AHIMAN REZON, so as to be most intelligible and useful to OPERATIVE MASONS in America.

The officers of Lodges, and those members who wish to be more compleatly [sic] learned in the grand science and sublimer [sic] mysteries of ANCIENT MASONRY, will think it their duty, as opportunities offer, to furnish themselves, or their Lodges, with at least one copy of all approved and duly authorised books of Masonry, which may be published by the learned Lodges, or illustrious brethren, in different languages and countries of the world, from time to time.

Upon this plan, therefore, it will not be necessary to detain the reader with any long account of the antiquity of the Royal Art. Certain it is, that when the first man was formed in the image of God, the principles of Masonry, as a divine gift from heaven, were stamped upon his heart by the ARCHITECT of the UNIVERSE.

The same principles were afterwards renewed and placed upon everlasting foundations, by the wisdom of the GLORIOUS SON; and they are daily cultivated in every soul that delights in order, harmony, brotherly love, morality and religion, through the grace and goodness of his DIVINE SPIRIT – THRICE BLESSED THREE, in one eternal God-Head!

The General Ahiman Rezon 

By: Walter Armstrong 

The General Ahiman Rezon and Freemason’s Guide: Containing Monitorial Instructions, Ceremonies, Rituals, and Regulations.

“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.” (Quote from sacred-texts.com)

 

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