This influential book is much sought after by students of masonic ritual, and is considered as difficult to find as it was influential. Well no wonder; The publisher has it listed under the wrong title!! (Rather like publishing the Declaration of Independence under the title "Jefferson's Politics".) This is the expanded 1792 edition, where the shorter first edition was published in 1772.
I found the book very interesting, and lived up to its reputation. I can now well understand why Preston is considered so influential in the development of the ritual. I recognize large chunks of the lectures in Masonic ritual from most states in the US as being almost word for word lifts from this book.
The book has two primary purposes and intended audiences. First, it is an explaination, defence, and perhaps even advertisment of Freemasonry for the general public. Second, it is his commentary on the meaning of the ritual intended for Masons. It is also something of a lodge officer's manual with instructions for some of the public ceremonies such as funerals, cornerstone layings, etc. It seems to be the prototype Masonic Monitor. Also included is Preston's account of masonic history - which we must take with a grain of salt. But there is the text of a very interesting letter supposedly written by the Philosopher John Locke on the subject of Freemasonry, and the text of another document supposedly written by the English King Henry VI on the same topic.
Altogether a very interesting book for the Masonic scholar, but a crashing bore for anyone else. As with other Kessinger books, this is a bound xerox of an original. The reproduction is clear, but the text has the long "s"'s that look like "f"'s, as had all books published in that time.