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by R. F. Elring
The American Freemason - January 1912

What is now known as the Fraternity of Free and Accepted Masons, prior to the organization of a Grand Lodge in 1717, was governed by Constitutions, Charges, and Regulations of ancient date, and a condensed history of the organization, from authentic sources, may interest brethren of the present generation. In Connection with Preston's Illustrations of Masonry, an old author states as follows:

"To understand this matter more clearly, it may be necessary to advert to the original institution of that assembly called a General or Grand Lodge. It was not then restricted, as it is now understood to be, to the Masters and Wardens of private Lodges, with the Grand Master and his Wardens at their head; it consisted of as many of the Fraternity at large, as, being within a convenient distance, could attend, once or twice in a year, under the auspices of one general head, who was elected and installed at one of these meetings; and who, for the time being, received homage as the sole governor of the whole body. The idea of confining the privileges of Masonry, by a warrant of constitution, to certain individuals convened on certain days at certain places, had then no existence. There was but one family among Masons, and every Mason was a branch of that family. It is true, the privileges of the different degrees of the Order always centered in certain members of the Fraternity; who, according to their advancement in the art, were authorized by the ancient charges to assemble in, hold, and rule Lodges, at their will and discretion, in such places as best suited their convenience, and when so assembled, to receive pupils and deliver instructions in the Art; but all the tribute from these individuals, separately and collectively, rested ultimately in the General Assembly, to which all the Fraternity might repair, and to whose award all were bound to pay submission."

The above is an outline of conditions as they existed before the formation of a Grand Lodge. Preston, in his Illustrations of Masonry, gives the following history of the organization of the first Grand Lodge composed of Masters and Wardens of Lodges. He states;

"On the accession of George I, the Masons in London and its environs, finding themselves deprived of Sir Christopher Wren, and their annual meetings discontinued, resolved to cement themselves under a new Grand Master, and to revive the communications and annual festivals of the Society. With this view, the Lodges at the Goose and Gridiron, in St. Paul's Church-yard, the Crown, in Parker's- lane, near Drury-lane, the AppleTree Tavern, in Charles- street, Covent-Garden, and the Rummer and Grapes Tavern, in Channel-row, Westminter, (the only four Lodges in being in the South of England at that time,) with some other old Brethren, met at the Apple-Tree Tavern, above mentioned, in February, 1717; and, having voted the oldest Master-mason then present into the chair, constituted themselves a Grand Lodge, PRO TEMPORE, in due form. At this meeting it was resolved to revive the Quarterly Communications of the Fraternity, and to hold the next annual assembly and feast on the 24th of June, at the Goose and Gridiron, in St. PauI's Church-yard (in compliment to the oldest Lodge, which then met there,) for the purpose of electing a Grand Master among themselves, till they should have the honor of a noble brother at their head. Accordingly, on St. John the Baptist's day, 1717, in the third year of the reign of King George I, the assembly and feast were held at the said house; when the oldest Master- mason, and the Master of a Lodge, having taken the chair, a list of proper candidates for the office of Grand Master was produced; and the names being separately proposed, the Brethren, by a majority of hands, elected Mr. Anthony Sayer Grand Master of Masons for the ensuing year, who was forwith invested by the oldest Master, installed by the Master of the oldest Lodge, and duly congratulated by the assembly, who paid him homage. The Grand Master then entered on the duties of his office, appointed his Wardens, and commanded the Brethren of the four Lodges to meet him and his Wardens quarterly in communication; enjoining them, at the same time, to recommend to all the Fraternity a punctual attendance on the next annual assembly and feast.

"Amongst a variety of regulations which were proposed and agreed to at this meeting, was the following: That the privilege of assembling as Masons, which had been hitherto unlimited, should be vested in certain Lodges or Assemblies of Masons convened in certain places; and that every Lodge to be hereafter convened, except the four old Lodges at this time existing, should be legally authorized to act by a warrant from the Grand Master for the time being, granted to certain individuals by petition, with the consent and approbation of the Grand Lodge in communication; and that without such warrant no Lodge should be hereafter deemed regular or constitutional.' In consequence of this regulation, several new Lodges were soon after convened in different parts of London and its environs, and the Master and Wardens of these Lodges were commanded to attend the meetings of the Grand Lodge, make a regular report of their proceedings, and transmit to the Grand Master, from time to time, a copy of any by-laws they might form for their own government; that no law established among them might be contrary to, or subversive of, the general regulations, by which the Fraternity had been long governed, and which had been sanctioned by the four Lodges when convened as a Grand Lodge in 1717.

"In compliment to the Brethren of the four old Lodges, by whom the Grand Lodge was first formed, it was resolved, 'That every privilege which they collectively enjoyed by virtue of their immemorial rights, they should still continue to enjoy; and that no law, rule or regulation, to be hereafter made or passed in the Grand Lodge, should ever deprive them of such privilege, or encroach on any landmark which was at that time established as the standard of masonic government.' This resolution being confirmed, the old Masons in the Metropolis, agreeably to the resolutions of the Brethren at large, vested all their inherent privileges, as individuals, in the four old Lodges, in trust that they would never suffer the old charges and ancient landmarks to be infringed. The four old Lodges then agreed to extend their patronage to every Lodge which should hereafter be constituted by the Grand Lodge, according to the new regulations of the Society, and while such Lodges acted in conformity to the ancient Constitutions of the Order, to admit their Masters and Wardens and to share with them all the privileges of the Grand Lodge, excepting precedence of rank.

"Matters being thus amicably adjusted, the Brethren of the four old Lodges considered their attendance on the future Communications of the Society as unnecessary; and therefore, like the other Lodges, trusted implicitly to their Masters and Wardens, resting satisfied, that no measure of importance would be adopted without their approbation. The officers of the old Lodges, however, soon began to discover, that the new Lodges, being equally represented with them at the Communications, might, in process of time, so far outnumber the old ones, as to have it in their power, by a majority, to encroach on, or even subvert, the privileges of the original Masons of England, which had been centered in the four old Lodges, with the concurrence of the Brethren at large, therefore, they very wisely formed a code of laws for the future government of the Society; to which was annexed a conditional clause, which the Grand Master for the time being, his successors, and the Master of every Lodge to be hereafter constituted, were bound to preserve inviolate in all time coming.

"The additional clause runs thus: 'Every annual Grand Lodge has an inherent power and authority to make new regulations, or to alter these, for the real benefit of this ancient Fraternity; provided always, THAT THE OLD LANDMARKS BE CAREFULLY PRESERVED; and that such alterations and new regulations be proposed and agreed to at the third quarterly communication preceding the annual grand feast; and that, they be offered also to the perusal of all the Brethren before dinner in writing, even of the youngest apprentice; the approbation and consent of the majority of all the Brethren present being absolutely necessary to make the same binding and obligatory.'

"To commemorate this circumstance, it has been customary, since that time, for the Master of the oldest Lodge to attend every Grand Installation; and taking precedence of all present, the Grand Master only excepted, to deliver the book of the original Constitutions to the newly installed Grand Master, on his engaging to support the ancient charges and general regulations.

"By this prudent precaution of our ancient Brethren, the original Constitutions were established as the basis of all future Masonic jurisdiction in the south of England; and the ancient landmarks, as they are emphatically styled, or the boundaries set up as checks to innovation, were carefully secured against the attacks of future invaders. The four old Lodges, in consequence of the above fact, in which they considered themselves as a distinct party, continued to act by their original authority; and, so far from surrendering any of their rights, had them frequently ratified and confirmed by the whole Fraternity in Grand Lodge assembled, who always acknowledged their independent and immemorial power to practise the rights of Masonry. No regulation of the Society which might hereafter take place could, therefore, operate with respect to those Lodges, if such regulations were contrary to, or subversive of, the original Constitutions, by which only they were governed; and while their proceedings were conformable to those Constitutions, no power known in Masonry could legally deprive them of any right or privilege which they had ever enjoyed.

"The necessity of fixing the original Constitutions, as the standard by which all future laws in the Society are to be regulated, was so clearly understood and defined by the whole Fraternity at this time that it was established as an unerring rule, at every installation, public or private, for many years afterwards, to make the Grand Master, and the Masters and Wardens of every Lodge, engage to support the original Constitutions; to the observance of which, also, every Mason was bound at his initiation. Whoever acknowledge the universality of Masonry to be its highest glory, must admit the propriety of this conduct; for were no standard fixed for the government of the Society, Masonry might be exposed to perpetual variations, which would effectually destroy all the good effects that have hitherto resulted from its universality and extended program."

The foregoing is a clear account of the organization of the first Grand Lodge to govern the Fraternity of Free and Accepted Masons, and those who organized it stipulated, before giving consent, that certain laws then in use, and others enacted by them, should govern in the Society for all time. Every Masonic body in the world owes its existence to this parent Grand Lodge, and became a party to these laws. Relative to the formation of new Lodges, and after adopting certain laws "The four old Lodges then agreed to extend their patronage to every Lodge which should hereafter be constituted by the Grand Lodge, according to the new regulations of the Society." To provide absolute safety against innovation, they added an additional clause to the laws, stated how alterations or additions could be made, for what purpose, and with this proviso: "Provided always, THAT THE OLD LANDMARKS BE CAREFULLY PRESERVED," and that any changes or additions made should be "for the real benefit of this ancient Fraternity." These laws "the Grand Master for the time being, his successors, and the Master of every Lodge to be hereafter constituted, were bound to preserve inviolate in all time coming."

In view of the above, American Masons have a solemn duty to perform. What is the status of our American Lodges and Grand Lodges which have violated the solemn pledges exacted by our ancient Brethren? A very superficial investigation will reveal the fact that they have made innovations in the body of Masonry, and have departed from the original plan. Are such Lodges or Grand Lodges regular? This question is pertinent to every regular Master Mason, and it is for each one to decide in accordance with Masonic law. Clauses in the Installation Service cover the ground and we quote: "You agree (all Masons) to hold in veneration the original rulers and patrons of the Order of Masonry, and their regular successors, supreme and subordinate, according to their stations; and to submit to the award and resolutions of your brethren in general chapter convened, in every case consistent with the constitutions of the Order," and also: "You admit that it is not in the power of any man, or body of men, to make innovation in the body of Masonry," yet some of our Grand Lodges have made innovation in the body of Masonry, and have broken the ancient landmarks.

About twenty years after the formation of the first Grand Lodge, trouble occurred which resulted in the formation of an opposition Grand Lodge in England. One of the four old original Lodges changed its name to the Lodge of Antiquity, and it assisted in organizing the new Grand Lodge, claiming the right to do so by virtue of immemorial rights. Preston, in his Illustrations of Masonry gives the following:

"To understand more clearly the nature of that constitution by which the Lodge of Antiquity is upheld, we must have recourse to the usages and customs which prevailed among Masons at the end of the 17th and beginning of the 18th century. The Fraternity then had a discretionary power to meet as Masons, in certain numbers, according to their degrees, with the approbation of the master of the work where any public building was carrying on, as often as they found it necessary so to do; and when so met, to receive into the Order brothers and fellows, and practise the rights of Masonry. The idea of investing Masters and Wardens of Lodges in Grand Lodge assembled, or the Grand Master himself, with a power to grant warrants of constitution to certain Brethren to meet as Masons at certain houses, on the observance of certain conditions, had then no existence. The Fraternity were under no such restrictions. The Ancient Charges were the only standard for the regulation of conduct, and no law was known in the Society which those charges did not inculcate. To the award of the Fraternity at large, in general meeting assembled once or twice in a year, all Brethren were subject, and the authority of the Grand Master never extended beyond the bounds of that general meeting. Every private assembly, or Lodge, was under the direction of its particular Master, chosen for the occasion, whose authority terminated with the meeting."

We are informed that present Grand Masters enjoy all the rights and prerogatives which pertained to the ancient office, and the question is: What were those ancient rights and prerogatives? Preston informs us that "the authority of the Grand Master never extended beyond the bounds of that general meeting," or, in other words, the Grand Master was shorn of all power when the meeting closed. If this is true, and we know of no reason to doubt it, there is great need for reformation in the United States. Some of our Grand Masters act as if clothed with unlimited power conferred upon them by some unwritten law. There are no legitimate laws in Masonry except those in conformity with the ancient Constitutions and the obligations of the several degrees. They are all either written or unwritten, and are accessible to every Master Mason Lodges organize Grand Lodges by their representatives. Grand Lodges elect Grand Masters and Grand Masters possess no authority outside of that contained in the ancient laws.

A Grand Master of Masons has no lawful power to issue an Edict for the purpose of enforcing his own will and pleasure. Such has been done in support of alien Rites, and brethren have obeyed, believing that Lodges and Grand Lodges would repudiate unlawful Edicts, yet such Edicts have been confirmed by legislation, and Masons have no legal Masonic right to support them. Edicts are for the purpose of promulgating particular laws of great importance to the Craft, which have been legally enacted by a Grand Lodge. The time has arrived for our Lodges to exercise their inalienable right of instructing their representatives to repeal all laws, rules, and regulations, not in accordance with ancient usage, and to direct that all proposed law for the government of the Craft shall be submitted to them for approval or disapproval.

We are informed by other reliable authority that soon after the reorganization of 1717, the Grand Lodge of England ordered the ancient constitutions and charges of the Order to be compiled and printed, which was done by Dr. Anderson. This volume, known as "Anderson's Constitutions," was published in 1723, and was the first printed book upon Freemasonry ever issued.

In connection with this Book of Constitutions, Dr. Anderson assisted by Dr. Desaguliers, arranged the "lectures," for the first time, into the form of question and answer. So favorably were these improved "lectures" received, that the Grand Lodge of England adopted the form, and ordered them to be given in all the Lodges. Thus was compiled and disseminated, the first regular form, or system of Masonic "lectures."

The progress of the Order was unprecedented, and in a few years the imperfections of Dr. Anderson's lectures called for a revision. This revision was accomplished in 1732, by Martin Clare, an eminent Mason, who was afterward Deputy Grand Master.

A few years later, Thomas Dunckerly, an accomplished scholar, and who was considered the most intelligent Freemason of his day, considerably extended and improved the lectures.

The lectures of Dunckerly continued to be the standard in England until 1762, when the Rev. William Hutchinson revised and improved them. Hutchinson's lectures gave place, in 1772, to the revision of William Preston. He not only revised, but extended the lectures, and his system continued to be the standard in England until the "Union" of the two Grand Lodges, Ancient and Modern, in 1813, when a committee, of which Dr. Hemming was chairman, compiled the form now generally used in the English Lodges, and known as the Hemming Lectures, but it never met cordial approval, even of the English brethren, and contains so many incongruities and departures from the more simple lectures of Preston, that it can never be recognized as a universal system.

The verbal ritual of Preston was introduced into the United States by two English brethren, who had been members of one of the principal Lodges of Instruction in London, and was by them communicated to Thomas Smith Webb, an accomplished and distinguished Mason of New England. According to the testimony of Webb himself, he made but little change in the system of Preston. In the first edition of his Freemason's Monitor, published in 1797, he said:

The observations upon the first three degrees, are principally taken from 'Preston's Illustrations of Masonry,' with some necessary alterations, Mr. Preston's distribution of the first lecture into six, the second into four, and the third into twelve sections, not being agreeable to the present mode of working, they are arranged in this work according to the general practice.

It is plain that Webb followed Preston closely, and comparison will show that Cross, and after him, all the rest, have copied nearly verbatim from Webb, so that the exoteric portions of the ritual, as contained in our Monitors, Charts, etc., are but little more than reprints of Preston's Illustrations of Masonry.

From the above it will be understood that the Preston-Webb work is the standard work in the United States, and we quote the Installation Service as prepared by William Preston:

When installing the Master of a Lodge the Grand Master asks his Deputy if he has examined the Master elect and finds him well skilled in the noble science and royal Art? The Deputy having answered in the affirmative, then, by order of the Grand Master, presents the candidate, saying: "Most Worshipful Grand Master, I present my worthy brother, A.B., to be installed Master of the Lodge. I find him to be of good morals, of great skill, true and trusty, and a lover of the whole Fraternity, wheresoever dispersed over the surface of the earth; I doubt not, therefore, that he will discharge the duties of the office with fidelity.

The Grand Master then orders a summary of the Ancient Charges to be read by the Grand Secretary to the Master elect.

A note reads as follows: As the curious reader may wish to know the Ancient Charges that were used on this occasion, we shall here insert them, veabatim, as they are contained in a MS. in the possession of the Lodge of Antiquity in London, written in the reign of James the Second." The Ancient Charges follow, and the questions, based upon them, which a Master elect is required to answer in the affirmative, are as follows:

I. You agree to be a good man and true, and strictly to obey the moral law.

II. You agree to be a peaceable subject, and cheerfully to conform to the laws of the country in which you reside.

III. You promise not to be concerned in plots or conspiracies against government, but patiently to submit to the decisions of the supreme legislature.

IV. You agree to pay proper respect to the civil magistrate, to work diligently, live creditably, and act honorably by all men.

V. You agree to hold in veneration the original rulers and patrons of the Order of Masonry, and their regular successors, supreme and subordinate, according to their stations; and to submit to the award and resolutions of your brethren in general chapter convened, in every case consistent with the constitutions of the Order.

VI. You agree to avoid private piques and quarrels and to guard against intemperance and excess.

VII. You agree to be cautious in your carriage and behaviour, courteous to your brethren, and faithful to the Lodge.

VIII. You promise to respect genuine brethren, and to discountenance impostors, and all dissenters from the original plan of the institution.

IX. You agree to promote the general good of society, to cultivate the social virtues, and to propagate the knowledge of the Art of Masonry, as far as your influence and ability can extend.

On the Master elect signifying his assent to these charges, the Secretary proceeds to read the following Regulations;

1. You admit that it is not in the power of any man, or body of men, to make innovation in the body of Masonry.

II. You promise to pay homage to the Grand Master for the time being, and to his officers, when duly installed; and strictly to conform to every edict of the Grand Lodge, or General Assembly of Masons, that is not subversive of the principles and ground-work of Masonry.

III. You promise regularly to attend the committees and communications of the Grand Lodge, on receiving proper notice; and to pay obedience to the duties of the Order on all convenient occasions.

IV. You admit that no Lodge can be formed without permission of the Grand Master or his Deputy; nor any countenance given to any irregular Lodge, or to any person clandestinely initiated therein.

V. You admit that no person can be initiated into Masonry in, or admitted member of, the regular Lodge, without previous notice, and due inquiry into his character.

VI. You agree that no visitors shall be received into the Lodge without passing under due examination, and producing proper vouchers of a regular initiation.

These are the Regulations of the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons.

The Grand Master then addresses the Master elect in the following manner: Do you submit to those Charges, and promise to support those Regulations as Masters have done in all ages before you?

Having signified his cordial submission, the Grand Master thus salutes him: Brother, A. B., in consequence of your cheerful conformity to the Charges and Regulations of the Order, I approve of you as Master of the Lodge; not doubting of your care, skill, and capacity.

The above Charges and Regulations, in substance, are binding upon every member of the Fraternity, no matter where located, and no Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons, or Grand Master thereof, can lawfully violate them. If Masons will read the Constitution of 926, the Ancient Charges and Regulations of later date, the Anderson Constitutions and General Regulations adopted by the Grand Lodge of England, bearing in mind, while doing so, the various points covered in the obligations of the three degrees of Masonry, they will learn that the Anderson Constitutions, the General Regulations, and their obligations, cover all the important points contained in the ancient laws of the Craft, yet some Masons appear to lack the veneration and homage due to the ancient laws and customs of the Fraternity.

In these days of modern rush and impatience, when the portals of Masonry are opened wide for the reception of candidates, and when quantity rather than quality appears to be the ruling desire in some sections, it may benefit us all to examine more closely into the teachings of Masonry. Probably few brethren have opportunity to read the Ancient Constitutions, Charges, etc., and the great majority may not be aware that much of what is written or printed is contrary to Masonic law. In Masonic controversy, especially relative to the Scottish Rite, it is not uncommon to notice the use of vilification and slander, coupled with falsehood, and we quote from the old laws, which are binding upon all Masons, as laid down in "Lockwood's Masonic Law and Practice."

"The old York Constitutions of 926," define the duties of a Mason as follows: "A Mason shall not be obliged to work after the sun has set in. the west. Nor shall he decry the work of a brother or fellow, but shall deal honestly and truly by him, under a penalty of not less than ten pounds. No man shall be false to the Craft, or entertain a prejudice against his Master or Fellows. He shall be true to his Master, and a just mediator in all disputes or quarrels. If a Mason live amiss, or slander his brother, so as to bring the Craft to shame, he shall have no further maintenance among the brethren, but shall be summoned to the next Grand Lodge; and if he refuse to appear, he shall be expelled."

"The Constitutions of Edward III. - 1327-1377," says: "That for the future, at the making or admission of a brother, the constitutions and the charges shall be read." Referring to Lodges, they say: "That at such congregations it shall be required, whether any Master or Fellow has broke any of the articles agreed to. And if the offender, being duly cited to appear, prove rebel, and will not attend, then the Lodge shall determine against him that he shall forswear (or renounce) his Masonry, and shall no more use this Craft," etc.

"The Regulations of 1863" show; "That no person hereafter who shall be accepted a Freemason shall be admitted into any Lodge or assembly, until he has brought a certificate of the time and place of his acceptance from the Lodge that accepted him," etc.

"The Ancient Installation Charges of James II. - 1685-'88," 9 say: "Ye shall be true to one another, that is to say, every Mason of the Craft that is Mason allowed, ye shall do to him as ye would be done unto yourself. .'. .'. .'. .'. .'. Ye shall call all Masons your fellows, or your brethren, and no other name. Ye shall not take your Fellow's wife in villainy, nor deflower his daughter or servant, nor put him to disworship."

"The Ancient Charges at Makings" say: "And that none shall slander another behind his back to make him lose his good name. That no Fellow in the house or abroad answer another ungodly or reprovably without a cause. That every Mason receive and cherish strange Fellows, when they come over the country," etc.

"The Charges of a Freemason," recognized by all regular Masons, compiled by Dr. Anderson, and "To be read at the making of New Brethren, or when the Master shall order it," say: "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 despised: Therefore no Master or Warden is chosen by seniority, but for his merit. .'. .'. .'. .'. .'. The Craftsmen are to avoid all ill language, and to call each other by no disobliging name, but Brother or Fellow. .'. .'. .'. .'. .'. 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. .'. .'. .'. .'. .'. You are to salute one another in a courteous manner, as you will be instructed, calling each other Brother .'. .'. .'. .'. .'. You are to act as becomes a moral and wise man. .'. .'. .'. .'. .'. You are cautiously to examine" (a strange Brother.) "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. .'. .'. .'. .'. .'. Finally. All these Charges you are to observe, also those that shall be communicated to you in another way; cultivating Brotherly Love, the foundation and cape-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 honor and safety," etc.

The Fraternity of Free and Accepted Masons is composed of three degrees. There is no other Masonry, and no Grand Lodge has lawful authority to recognize the Scottish Rite, or any other organizations, as Masonic. Mackey states in his Encyclopedia: "A Chapter of Royal Arch Masons, for instance, is not, and cannot be recognized as a masonic body, by a Lodge of Master Masons. 'They hear them so to be, but they do not know them so to be,' by any of the modes of recognition known to masonry. "

"Masonic Jurisprudence and Symbolism as interpreted by Grand Lodge decisions" in England, dated October, 1908, shows: "Another point in connection with the lodge-room needs attention. If there be but one Masonic Hall in town, and many of the further degrees are worked, the walls are to be found decorated with the handsomely-framed warrants of Mark, Templars, Rose Croix, Royal Order of Scotland, etc., etc., along with the warrants, also framed, of all the Craft Lodges working there. Masonic decency, as well as a sense of the Masonic unities, would seem to suggest that all these alien warrants should be taken down - at all events, whilst a Craft Lodge is working - by virtue of the warrant of a Grand Lodge, which has explicitly declined to recognize any of them."

Under the heading "Extraneous Orders and Degrees" the same authority shows: "June 1872. - It was alleged that certain clerks in the Grand Secretary's office were in the habit of transacting business in connection with the Ancient and Accepted Rite, The following resolution was therefore adopted by Grand Lodge: 'That, whilst this Grand Lodge recognizes the private right of every brother to belong to any extraneous Masonic organization he may choose, it as firmly forbids, now and at any future time, all brethren, while engaged as salaried officials under this Grand Lodge, to mix themselves up in any way with such bodies as the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, the Rites of Mizraim and Memphis, the spurious Orders of Rome and Constantine, the schismatic body styling itself the Grand Mark Lodge of England, or any other exterior Masonic organization whatever, (even that of the Order of Knights Templar, which is alone recognized by the Articles of Union,) under the pain of immediate dismissal from employment by this Grand Lodge.' This order still remains in force, but is practically inoperative, owing to a more enlightened conception of the exterior organizations referred to,"

Some American Grand Lodges have changed the wording of the Tyler's oath for the purpose of preventing Master Masons in good standing from visiting Lodges under their jurisdiction if they are Scottish Rite Masons of some obedience not recognized by them. The Tyler's oath as printed in the above named authority on English Grand Lodge law is as follows:

I, A. B., do hereby and hereon solemnly and sincerely swear that I have been regularly initiated, etc., in a just and regularly constituted lodge of M. M., and that I do not stand suspended or expelled, and know of no reason why I should not hold Masonic communication with my brethren."

No Grand Lodge possesses lawful power to change the above, and in regard to visitation, the same authority states: "It should be understood clearly that, welcome or unwelcome, every Freemason has an inalienable right to visit any and every Lodge he pleases."

In legislating for the support and protection of certain Scottish Rite bodies, some of our American Grand Lodges even went so far as to enact retrospective laws, and to expel Master Masons from all the rights and privileges of Masonry in accordance with these retrospective laws. Relative to such legislation Mackey, in his "Masonic Jurisprudence," states:

"The legislation of every Grand Lodge must be prospective, and not retrospective in its action. To make an ex post facto law, would be to violate the principles of justice which lie at the very foundation of the system."

Mackey also states in his "Lexicon of Freemasonry" as follows: "To attempt to alter or remove these sacred landmarks, by which we examine and prove a brother's claim to share in our privileges, is one of the most heinous offences that a Mason can commit."

The following is quoted from the "Articles of Union between the two Grand Lodges of England. In Grand Lodge, this first day of December, A. D. 1813. Ratified and Confirmed, and the Seal of the Grand Lodge affixed," .'. .'. .'. .'. .'.

"II. It is declared and pronounced, that pure Ancient, Masonry consists of three degrees, and no more: Viz., those of the Entered Apprentice, the Fellow Craft and the Master Mason (including the Supreme Order of the Holy Royal Arch.) But this article is not intended to prevent any Lodge or Chapter from holding a meeting in any of the degrees of the Order of Chivalry, according to the Constitutions of the said Orders.

"Ill. There shall be the most perfect unity of obligation, of discipline, of working the Lodges, of making, passing, and raising, instructing and clothing brothers; so that but one pure, unsullied system, according to the genuine landmarks, laws, and traditions of the Craft, shall be maintained, upheld, and practised, throughout the Masonic world, from the day and date of the said Union until time shall be no more.

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