Anderson’s Constitutions of 1723
of a FREE MASON The Ancient Records of Lodges beyond the Sea
To Be Read At
The Making of New Brethren, or When The Master Shall Order It. THE GENERAL
Concerning GOD and RELIGION.
A Mason is oblig’d by his
Tenure, to obey the moral law; and if he rightly understands the Art, he will
never be a stupid Atheist nor an irreligious Libertine. But though in ancient
Times Masons were charg’d in every Country to be of the Religion of that
Country or Nation, whatever it was, yet ’tis now thought more expedient only
to oblige them to that Religion in which all Men agree, leaving their
particular Opinions to themselves; that is, to be good Men and true, or Men of
Honour and Honesty, by whatever Denominations or Persuasions they may be
distinguish’d; whereby Masonry becomes the Center of Union, and the Means of
conciliating true Friendship among Persons that must have remain’d at a
the CIVIL MAGISTRATES SUPREME and SUBORDINATE.
A Mason is a peaceable Subject
to the Civil Powers, wherever he resides or works, and is never to be
concern’d in Plots an Conspiracies against the Peace and Welfare of the
Nation, nor to behave himself undutifully to inferior Magistrates; for as
Masonry hath been always injured by War, Bloodshed, and Confusion, so ancient
Kings and Princes have been much dispos’d to encourage the Craftsmen, because
of their Peaceableness and Loyalty, whereby they practically answer’d the
Cavils of their Adversaries, and promoted the Honour of the Fraternity, who
ever flourish’d in Time of Peace. So that if a Brother should be a Rebel
against the State he is not to be countenanced in his Rebellion, however he
may be pitied as any unhappy Man; and, if convicted of no other Crime though
the Loyal Brotherhood must and ought to disown hi Rebellion, and give no
Umbrage or Ground of political Jealousy to the Government for the time being,
they cannot expel him from the Lodge, and his Relation to it remains
A Lodge is a place where Masons
assemble and work; Hence that Assembly, or duly organized Society of Masons,
is call’d a Lodge, and every Brother ought to belong to one, and to be subject
to its By-Laws and the General Regulations.
It is either particular or
general, and will be best understood by attending it, and by the Regulations
of the General or Grand Lodge hereunto annex’d. In ancient Times, no Master or
Fellow could be absent from it especially when warned to appear at it, without
incurring a sever Censure, until it appear’d to the Master and Wardens that
pure Necessity hinder’d him.
The persons admitted Members of
a Lodge must be good an true Men, free-born, and of mature and discreet Age,
no Bondmen no Women, no immoral or scandalous men, but of good Report.
MASTERS, WARDENS, FELLOWS and APPRENTICES.
All preferment among Masons is
grounded upon real Worth and personal Merit only; that so the Lords may be
well served, the Brethren not put to Shame, nor the Royal Craft despis’d:
Therefore no Master or Warden is chosen by Seniority, but for his Merit. It is
impossible to describe these things in Writing, and every Brother must attend
in his Place, and learn them in a Way peculiar to this Fraternity: Only
Candidates may know that no Master should take an Apprentice unless he has
Sufficient Employment for him, and unless he be a perfect Youth having no Maim
or Defects in his Body that may render him uncapable of learning the Art of
serving his Master’s Lord, and of being made a Brother, and then a
Fellow-Craft in due Time, even after he has served such a Term of Years as the
Custom of the Country directs; and that he should be descended of honest
Parents; that so, when otherwise qualifi’d he may arrive to the Honour of
being the Warden, and then the Master of the Lodge, the Grand Warden, and at
length the Grand Master of all the Lodges, according to his Merit.
No Brother can be a Warden until
he has pass’d the part of a Fellow-Craft; nor a Master until he has acted as a
Warden, nor Grand Warden until he has been Master of a Lodge, nor Grand Master
unless he has been a Fellow Craft before his Election, who is also to be nobly
born, or a Gentleman of the best Fashion, or some eminent Scholar, or some
curious Architect, or other Artist, descended of honest Parents, and who is of
similar great Merit in the Opinion of the Lodges.
These Rulers and Governors,
supreme and subordinate, of the ancient Lodge, are to be obey’d in their
respective Stations by all the Brethren, according to the old Charges and
Regulations, with all Humility, Reverence, Love and Alacrity.
the MANAGEMENT of the CRAFT in WORKING.
All Masons shall work honestly
on Working Days, that they may live creditably on Holy Days; and the time
appointed by the Law of the Land or confirm’d by Custom shall be observ’d. The
most expert of the Fellow-Craftsmen shall be chosen or appointed the Master or
Overseer of the Lord’s Work; who is to be call’d Master by those that work
under him. The Craftsmen are to avoid all ill Language, and to call each other
by no disobliging Name, but Brother or Fellow; and to behave themselves
courteously within and without the Lodge.
The Master, knowing himself to
be able of Cunning, shall undertake the Lord’s Work as reasonably as possible,
and truly dispend his Goods as if they were his own; nor to give more Wages to
any Brother or Apprentice than he really may deserve.
Both the Master and the Masons
receiving their Wages justly, shall be faithful to the Lord and honestly
finish their Work, whether Task or journey; nor put the work to Task that hath
been accustomed to Journey.
None shall discover Envy at the
Prosperity of a Brother, nor supplant him, or put him out of his Work, if he
be capable to finish the same; for no man can finish another’s Work so much to
the Lord’s Profit, unless he be thoroughly acquainted with the Designs and
Draughts of him that began it.
When a Fellow-Craftsman is
chosen Warden of the Work under the Master, he shall be true both to Master
and Fellows, shall carefully oversee the Work in the Master’s Absence to the
Lord’s profit; and his Brethren shall obey him.
All Masons employed shall meekly
receive their Wages without Murmuring or Mutiny, and not desert the Master
till the Work is finish’d.
A younger Brother shall be
instructed in working, to prevent spoiling the Materials for want of Judgment,
and for increasing and continuing of brotherly love.
All the Tools used in working
shall be approved by the Grand Lodge.
No Laborer shall be employ’d in
the proper Work of Masonry; nor shall Free Masons work with those that are not
free, without an urgent Necessity; nor shall they teach Laborers and
unaccepted Masons as they should teach a Brother or Fellow.
I. In the
LODGE while CONSTITUTED.
You are not to hold private
Committees, or separate Conversation without Leave from the Master, nor to
talk of anything impertinent or unseemly, nor interrupt the Master or Wardens,
or any Brother speaking to the Master: Nor behave yourself ludicrously or
jestingly while the Lodge is engaged in what is serious and solemn; nor use
any unbecoming Language upon any Pretense whatsoever; but to pay due Reverence
to your Master, Wardens, and Fellows, and put them to Worship.
If any Complaint be brought, the
Brother found guilty shall stand to the Award and Determination of the Lodge,
who are the proper and competent Judges of all such Controversies (unless you
carry it by Appeal to the Grand Lodge), and to whom they ought to be referr’d,
unless a Lord’s Work be hinder’d the meanwhile, in which Case a particular
Reference may be made; but you must never go to Law about what concerneth
Masonry, without an absolute necessity apparent to the Lodge.
BEHAVIOR after the LODGE is over and the BRETHREN not GONE.
You may enjoy yourself with
innocent Mirth, treating one another according to Ability, but avoiding all
Excess, or forcing any Brother to eat or drink beyond his Inclination, or
hindering him from going when his Occasions call him, or doing or saying
anything offensive, or that may forbid an easy and free Conversation, for that
would blast our Harmony, and defeat our laudable Purposes. Therefore no
private Piques or Quarrels must be brought within the Door of the Lodge, far
less any Quarrels about Religion, or Nations, or State Policy, we being only,
as Masons, of the Universal Religion above mention’d, we are also of all
Nations, Tongues, Kindreds, and Languages, and are resolv’d against all
Politics, as what never yet conduct’d to the Welfare of the Lodge, nor ever
BEHAVIOR when BRETHREN meet WITHOUT STRANGERS, but not in a LODGE Formed.
You are to salute one another in
a courteous Manner, as you will be instructed, calling each other Brother,
freely giving mutual instruction as shall be thought expedient, without being
ever seen or overheard, and without encroaching upon each other, or derogating
from that Respect which is due to any Brother, were he not Mason: For though
all Masons are as Brethren upon the same Level, yet Masonry takes no Honour
from a man that he had before; nay, rather it adds to his Honour, especially
if he has deserve well of the Brotherhood, who must give Honor to whom it is
due, and avoid ill Manners.
BEHAVIOR in presence of Strangers NOT MASONS.
You shall be cautious in your
Words and Carriage, that the most penetrating Stranger shall not be able to
discover or find out what is not proper to be intimated, and sometimes you
shall divert a Discourse, and manage it prudently for the Honour of the
BEHAVIOR at HOME, and in Your NEIGHBORHOOD.
You are to act as becomes a
moral and wise Man; particularly not to let your Family, Friends and Neighbors
know the Concern of the Lodge, &c., but wisely to consult your own Honour, and
that of the ancient Brotherhood, for reasons not to be mention’d here You must
also consult your Health, by not continuing together too late, or too long
from Home, after Lodge Hours are past; and by avoiding of Gluttony or
Drunkenness, that your Families be not neglected or injured, nor you disabled
BEHAVIOR toward a Strange BROTHER.
You are cautiously to examine
him, in such a Method as Prudence shall direct you, that you may not be
impos’d upon by an ignorant, false Pretender, whom you are to reject with
contempt and Derision, and beware of giving him any Hints of Knowledge.
But if you discover him to be a
true and genuine Brother, you are to respect him accordingly; and if he is in
Want, you must relieve him if you can, or else direct him how he may be
relieved; you must employ him some days, or else recommend him to be employ’d.
But you are not charged to do beyond your ability, only to prefer a poor
Brother, that is a good Man and true before any other poor People in the same
Finally, All these Charges you
are to observe, and also those that shall be recommended to you in another
Way; cultivating Brotherly Love, the Foundation and Cap-stone, the Cement and
Glory of this Ancient Fraternity, avoiding all wrangling and quarreling, all
Slander and Backbiting, nor permitting others to slander any honest Brother,
but defending his Character, and doing him all good Offices, as far as is
consistent with your Honour and Safety, and no farther. And if any of them do
you Injury you must apply to your own or his Lodge, and from thence you may
appeal to the Grand Lodge, at the Quarterly Communication and from thence to
the annual Grand Lodge, as has been the ancient laudable Conduct but when the
Case cannot be otherwise decided, and patiently listening to the honest and
friendly Advice of Master and Fellows when they would prevent your going to
Law with Strangers, or would excite you to put a speedy Period to all
Lawsuits, so that you may mind the Affair of Masonry with the more Alacrity
and Success; but with respect to Brothers or Fellows at Law, the Master and
Brethren should kindly offer their Mediation, which ought to be thankfully
submitted to by the contending Brethren; and if that submission is
impracticable, they must, however, carry on their Process, or Lawsuit, without
Wrath and Rancor (not In the common way) saying or doing nothing which may
hinder Brotherly Love, and good Offices to be renew’d and continu’d; that all
may see the benign Influence of Masonry, as all true Masons have done from the
beginning of the World, and will do to the End of Time.
MOTE IT BE