THE ANCIENT DUTIES OF THE FREE MASTER - ANDERSON 1723
Extracts from the ancient documents of overseas lodges, and those of England, Scotland and Ireland,
for the use of the London Lodges: to be read when making new Brothers or when the Master orders it.
THE GENERAL TITLES, ie
I. Of God and Religion.
II. Of the supreme and subordinate civil magistrate.
III. Of the Lodges.
IV. Of the Masters, Overseers, Companions and Apprentices.
V. Of the conduct of art in work.
YOU. Of behavior, that is
1. In the Lodge when established.
2. After the Lodge is closed and the Brothers have not gone out.
3. When the Brothers meet without strangers, but not in a Lodge.
4. In the presence of strangers who are not Masons.
5. At home and nearby.
6. Towards a foreign Brother.
I. Concerning God and religion
A bricklayer is bound by his condition to obey the moral law; and if he means rightly
Art will never be a stupid atheist or an irreligious libertine. But although in ancient times i
Masons were obliged in every country to be of the religion of that country or nation, which one
it was, however, today it is considered more convenient to oblige them only to that Religion in which
all men agree, leaving them their particular opinions; that is to be good men and
sincere or men of honor and honesty, whatever their denominations or persuasions
they can distinguish; whereby the Masonry becomes the Center of Union, and the means to reconcile
sincere friendship between people who would have remained perpetually distant.
II. Of the supreme and subordinate civil magistrate
A Mason is a peaceful subject of the Civil Powers, wherever he resides or works and does not have to be
never involved in plots and conspiracies against the peace and welfare of the nation, nor conducting oneself
unduly towards the lower magistrates; since the Masonry was always damaged by
wars, massacres and riots, so the ancient kings and princes were very willing to encourage
men of art, because of their tranquility and loyalty; so they practically answered the
the quibbles of their opponents and promoted the honor of the brotherhood that always ourished in times
So that if a Kindred becomes a rebel against the state, he is not to be favored in his
rebellion but rather mourned as an unhappy man; and, if not convinced of another crime, though
the loyal Brotherhood can and should disavow its rebellion and give no shade or basis for the
political jealousy of the current government, he cannot be expelled from the lodge and his bond
III. Of the Lodges
A loggia is a place where the Masons gather and work; whereby such assembly, or
duly organized society of Masons, it is called a Lodge, and each brother must
belong to one and be subject to its general rules and regulations. It is
particular or general and this will be better understood by attending it and by means of regulations
inherent in the General Lodge or Grand Lodge. In ancient times, neither Master nor Companion could
be absent, especially when summoned to appear, without incurring severe censorship,
unless it appeared to the Master and the Overseers that force majeure had prevented him. The
people admitted as members of a lodge must be good and sincere men, born free and
of mature and discreet age, not slaves, not women, not immoral or scandalous men, but good
IV. Of teachers, overseers, companions and apprentices
All preferences among the Masons are based only on real value and personal merit: that
so that the clients are well served, that the Brothers do not have to be ashamed nor that the Royal Art
be despised: Therefore no Master or Overseer should be chosen for seniority but for his
merit. It is impossible to describe such things in writing and each Brother must stand in his place and
to train in a way peculiar to this Fraternity: the candidates can only know that
no Master can hire an Apprentice if he doesn't have enough occupation for him, if he isn't
a perfect young man, having no mutilations or defects in his body that could make him
unable to learn the Art, to serve the Master's client and to be created Brother e
then in due course Fellow of Art, when he has served a term of years as it entails
the custom of the country; and that he is descended from honest parents; that so, if otherwise quali‑ed, he
can access the honor of being the Overseer and then the Master of the Lodge, the Grand
Overseer and also the Grand Master of all Lodges, according to his merit. No Brother
he can be Overseer if he has not played the role of Art Companion, nor Master if he has not
functioned as an Overseer, nor a Grand Overseer if he was not a Master of a Lodge, nor
Grand Master if he was not a Fellow of Art before his election, being also a nobleman
birth or gentleman of the highest manners or eminent scholar or original architect or other
artist, descended from honest parents and who is of singularly great merit in the opinion of
Lodges. And for the best, easiest and most honorable ful‑llment of this oce, the Grand Master
he has the power to choose his own Deputy Grand Master who must be, or have been
formerly, the Master of a particular Lodge, and has the privilege of acting as the
Grand Master, his principal, unless the principal saying is present or interposing his
authority with a letter. These Ordiners or Governors, supreme and subordinates, of the ancient Lodge,
they must be obeyed in their respective areas by all the Brothers, according to the old duties and
regulations, with all humility, reverence, love and alacrity.
V. Of the conduct of art in work
All Masons must work honestly on their working days so that they can live
decorously on feast days; and the time established by the law of the country, or con‑rmed by the
custom, must be observed. The most experienced of the Fellows of Art must be chosen or
appointed Master, or superintendent of the work of the client; he must be called Master
by those who work under him. Men of art must avoid all bad language and not
calling each other by any despicable name but Brother or Companion; and be courteous to each other
both inside and outside the Lodge. The Master, aware of his skill, will lead the work of the
Principal in the most reasonable and fair manner will use the substances of these as if
were his own; nor will he give any Brother or Apprentice a wage higher than that
really deserves it. Both the Master and the Masons receiving their fair wages must be faithful
to the client and honestly carry out his work, both to measure and to the day; they must not
work to measure when it is still customary to work by the day. Nobody should show envy
for the prosperity of a Brother, nor supplant him or make him take away his job if he is capable of
do it; no one can ‑nish another's work for the client's pro‑t, if it is not full
awareness of the projects and designs of the person who started it. When a Companion of Art is
chosen as the Work Overseer under the Master, he is to be loyal to both the Master and the others
Comrades, you must carefully supervise the work in the absence of the Master for the bene‑t of
client; and the Brothers must obey him. All the Masons employed will receive their wages
meekly, without murmuring and without rebellion, and don't leave the Master until the work is done
accomplished. A younger Kindred must be trained in the work to prevent material waste
through inexperience and because it grows and is maintained in brotherly love. All tools used
in work they must be approved by the Grand Lodge. No worker must be assigned to
Masonry's own jobs, nor Freemasons will ever be able to work with those who are not
free, without an urgent need; nor can they teach workers and non-Masons
accepted, as they must teach a Brother or Companion.
YOU. Of Behavior, that is
1. IN THE LOGGIA WHEN CONSTITUTED
You do not have to form particular committees or separate conversations without the consent of the Master,
deal with anything inappropriate or inconvenient, do not interrupt the Master or the Overseers, or
any Brother talking to the Master: Don't deal with ridiculous or joking things while the Lodge
is engaged in other serious and solemn; do not use any inappropriate language under any pretext;
but give due reverence to your Master, Overseers, Companions, and inducing
these to respect. If any charges are brought, the Kindred found guilty must accept
the judgment and decision of the Lodge, which is a suitable and competent judge of all these
disputes (unless you appeal to the Grand Lodge) and before which they must
be carried, unless a client's work has to be interrupted, in which case there
it will have to be adjusted appropriately; but you don't have to go to trial as to the
Masonry, without absolute necessity recognized by the Lodge.
2. BEHAVIOR WHEN THE LODGE IS CLOSED AND THE BROTHERS HAVE NOT COME OUT
You can have fun with innocent glee, treating each other as you wish, but avoiding any
excess, or to urge any Kindred to eat or drink beyond his inclination or to prevent him from
to go when circumstances call it, or to do or say things that are oensive and may prevent
easy and free conversation; since this would disturb our harmony and frustrate the
our laudable purposes. Therefore neither spite or personal matters can be introduced within the
door of the Lodge, still less any question concerning Religion or Nations or politics
of the State, we being only, as Masons, of the aforementioned Universal Religion; we
we are also of all Nations, Languages, Descendants and Idioms and we are averse to all policies,
as to what it never brought to the welfare of the Lodge nor could it ever bring it. This
duty has always been strictly possessed and observed; but especially from the time of
Reform in Britain, or the dissent and secession of such nations from the Communion of Rome.
3. BEHAVIOR WHEN THE BROTHERS MEET WITHOUT STRANGERS BUT IN THE LODGE CONSTITUTED
You must greet each other in a courteous way, as you have been instructed, calling each other Brother
the other, freely providing you with mutual instructions that may be useful, without being seen or
heard, and without prevailing one over the other or failing to respect due to each Brother, as if
was not a Mason. Although all the Masons are, as Brothers, on the same level, there too
Masonry does not take away from a man that honor he enjoyed before; rather it increases that honor,
especially if he will have merited of the Brotherhood it is due honor to him to whom it is due, and
avoid bad manners.
4. BEHAVIOR IN THE PRESENCE OF NON-MASON STRANGERS
You will be cautious in your words and your bearing so that the most astute stranger cannot
discover or ‑nd what is not convenient for him to learn; and sometimes you will have to divert a conversation and
manipulate it prudently for the honor of the respectable Brotherhood.
5. BEHAVIOR AT HOME AND NEARBY
You must act as be‑ts a moral and wise man; especially don't let yours
family, friends and neighbors know about the Lodge, etc. but wisely protect honor
yours and that of the ancient Brotherhood, for reasons not to mention here. You must also
protect your health by not entertaining yourself too long or too far from home after the
hours of the Loggia have passed; and avoiding gluttony and drunkenness, so that your families
are not neglected or oended, nor are you unable to work.
6. BEHAVIOR TOWARDS A FOREIGN BROTHER
You will examine it cautiously, conducting yourself according to a method of prudence so that you are not
deceived by an ignorant false Pretender, whom you will have to reject with contempt and derision)
guarding against giving him any sign of recognition.
But if you ascertain that he is a true and genuine Brother, you must respect him accordingly; and if he
he is in need, you must help him if you can, or direct him where he can be helped: You must
occupy it for a few days of work or recommend it to be busy. But not
you are obliged to do beyond your ability, only to prefer a poor Brother, who is a
good and sincere man, before any other poor person in the same circumstances.
Finally, all these duties you must observe and also those that will be communicated to you for
other way; cultivating brotherly love, the foundation stone and the vault, the cement and the glory of
this ancient Brotherhood, avoiding all disputes and issues, all slander and slander, not
allowing others to slander any honest Brother, but defending his character and
dedicating to him the best oces to the extent permitted by your honor and safety and not beyond. What if
someone insults you, you must turn to your lodge or his and, afterwards, appeal to the Great
Loggia in the quarterly assemblies and then to the annual Grand Lodge, as was the old one
laudable custom of our ancestors in every nation; you don't have to go through a legal process
unless the case can not be resolved in another way and patiently rely on honest e
friendly advice from the Master and the Companions, when they want to avoid you
appear in court against strangers and exhort you to excel the course of justice, that so
you will do better the interest of the Masons with better alacrity and success; but, with respect to Compagni
o Brothers in judgment, the Master and the Brothers must kindly oer their mediation, which a
they must be gratefully entrusted by the contending Brothers; and if such submission is
impracticable, they will be able to conduct their trial or cause, without animosity and without anger
(not in the common way), doing, or omitting what may compromise brotherly love, e
good oces must be renewed and continued; that everyone can see the bene‑cial inuence
of the Masons, as all true Masons have done from the beginning of the world and will do until the end