Unwritten dating laws
There is still a great body of unwritten law which Masons customarily observe - our “ancient usages and customs” - which are not specified in print now, any more than they were then. If Masonic Law were interpreted wholly by the letter - as is necessarily the case of civil law - the government of the Craft might often be as loose as its statutes.But the Landmarks have been reduced in print and made a part of the written law in many Jurisdictions. But as a matter of fact, the Craft is well governed.The General Regulations permit their own alteration by Grand Lodge - the Old Charges do not!The Old Charges very evidently deal with both the operative and speculative sides of Masonry; some of the phrases are concerned with “The Lord’s Work.” The context shows that it is not the Lord God who is here meant, but the particular nobleman for whom building construction is undertaken Law in Masonry is so much more a matter of the heart than of the head, so much more concerned with setting forth conduct than in assessing penalties, that, to thoroughly comprehend it, we must be willing to revise our ideas of law, as we understand the enactments of legislatures.There is no universality in Masonic law in all Jurisdictions. different characters of people, different ideas have all left their marks upon our forty-nine Grand Lodges and their enactments.In the majority of essentials, they are one; in some particulars, they hold divergent views.The Ancient Landmarks are written in some Jurisdictions; in others they are a part of unwritten law.
His list is chosen to appear here because it is the most universally used. The reason, of course, is found in the answer to the classic question: “Where were you first prepared to be made a Mason?In a few instances, some of the Landmarks as listed by Mackey are not recognized as such; for instance, Mackey’s Eighth Landmark, the inherent right of a Grand Master to “make Masons at sight” was specifically abrogated by an early Grand Lodge in California. The government of the Craft when congregated in a lodge, by a Master Mason and two Wardens. The necessity that every lodge, when congregated, should be duly tiled (tyled). The right of every Mason to be represented in all general meetings of the Craft. The right of every Mason to appeal from his brethren in lodge convened, to the Grand Master. The right of every Mason to visit and sit in every regular lodge. That no visitor, unknown to the brethren present, or some one of them, as a Mason, can enter a lodge without first passing an examination according to ancient usage. No lodge can interfere with the business of another lodge. Every Freemason is amenable to the Laws and Regulations of the Masonic Jurisdiction in which he resides. A candidate for initiation must be a man, free born, unmutilated and of mature age. A belief in the existence of God as the Grand Architect of the Universe. The Fraternity in this nation deals, yearly, with very large sums of money.In general, however, whether written or unwritten, Grand Lodges adhere to the spirit of all of Mackey’s list! The Craft erects and maintains numbers of expensive Temples, and Homes for the helpless Mason and his dependents.In this duality of allegiance Masonry follows civil law; thus, am American residing abroad is amenable to the laws of the nation in which he lives, but is also expected to obey the laws of his own nation; for instance, an American residing abroad is not exempt from the United States income tax laws.Neither is a Mason from California exempt form the laws of the Grand Lodge of that State, merely because he happens to be sojourning in Maine, or some foreign country.