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religions or politics, must be brought within the doors of the Lodge, as being directly contrary to the rules laid down. Masons ought to reflect, that all men being created by the Great Architect of the Universe, are members of the great human family; a firm belief in the existence of one Supreme Being, before whom we shall all, at some future day, have to account for our actions in this sublunary world, and receive the just rewards and punishments of our actions; this being the universally acknowledged religion, we ought to know no distinctions of particular religious sects, but to reflect that we are bound to live upon the square with each other, following the footsteps of our predecessors in cultivating peace, harmony, and good fellowship, without distinction of sect or political party.
OF BEHAVIOUR AFTER THE LODGE IS CLOSED.
When the Lodge is closed, and the labours are finished, the brethren, before they depart to their respective homes to rest, may enjoy themselves with innocent mirth, enlivened and exalted with their own peculiar ceremonies and songs, but avoiding all excess or compulsion, either in eating or drinking; considering each other, in the hours of labour as well as festivity, as always free; and, therefore, no brother is to be hindered from going home when he pleases, for although after Lodge hours Masons are as other men, yet, if they should fall into excess, the blame (though unjustly) may be cast upon the fraternity, by the ignorant and those who seek opportunities to vent their hatred and malice against the existence of the society.
CONCERNING THE BEHAVIOUR OF MASONS IN THEIR PRIVATE CHARACTER.
WHEN A NUMBER OF BRETHREN HAPPEN TO MEET, WITHOUT ANY STRANGERS AMONG THEM, AND NOT IN A FORMAL LODGE.
In such a case, you are to salute each other in a courteous manner, as you are or may be instructed in the Lodge; calling each other brother, and freely communicating hints of knowledge, but without disclosing secrets, unless to those who have long given proof of their taciturnity and honour; taking care, in all your actions and conversations, that you are neither overseen nor overheard by strangers. In such friendly intercourse, no brother shall derogate from the respect due to another were he not a Mason. For though all Masons, as brothers, are upon the level, yet Masonry (as I have remarked in a former section) divests no man of the honours due to him before, or that may become due after, he was made a Mason. On the contrary, it increases his respect, teaching us to add to all his honours those which, as Masons, we cheerfully pay to an eminent brother; distinguishing him above all his rank and station, and serving him readily according to our ability.
WHEN IN THE PRESENCE OF STRANGERS, WHO ARE NOT MASONS.
Before those who are not Masons, you cannot be too cautious of your words, carriage and motions; so that the most penetrating stranger shall not be able to discover what is
not proper to be intimated. The impertinent and ensnaring questions, or ignorant and idle discourse, of those who seek to pry into the secrets and mysteries committed to your charge, must be prudently answered and managed, or the discourse widely diverted to another subject, as discretion or duty shall direct.
WHEN AT HOME AND IN YOUR NEIGHBOURHOOD.
Masons ought to be moral men, and fully qualified, as is required in the foregoing sections. Consequently, they should be good husbands, good parents, good sons, and good neighbours; not staying too long from home, avoiding all excess injurious to themselves or families, and wise as to all affairs, both of their own household and of the Lodge, for reasons best known to themselves.
OF BEHAVIOUR TOWARDS A FOREIGN BROTHER OR STRANGER.
You are cautiously to examine a stranger, or foreign brother, as prudence and the rules of the craft direct, in order not to be imposed upon by a pretender; and if you discover any one to be such, you are to reject him with scorn and shame,* taking care to give him no hints. But such as are found to be true and faithful, you are to respect as brethren, relieving them, if in want, to your utmost
* This injunction may seem uncharitable, but when it is considered that the secrets of Masonry are open to all men of probity and honour, well recommended, an illegal intruder, who could wish to obtain that to which he has no claim, and to deprive the public charity of a small pittance at his admission, deserves no better treatment.
power, without injuring the wants of those who have a prior claim on your beneficence, directing them where to find relief, and employing them if you can, or else recommending them to obtain employment, in preference to those who are not Masons.*
OF BEHAVIOUR TOWARDS A BROTHER, WHETHER PRESENT OR ABSENT.
Free and accepted Masons have ever been charged to avoid all manner of slandering and backbiting of all true and faithful brethren, with all malice and unjust resentment, or talking disrespectfully of a brother's person or performance. Nor must they suffer any others to spread unjust reproaches or calumnies against a brother in his absence, nor to injure him in his fortune, occupation or character; but they shall defend such a brother, and give him notice of any danger or injury wherewith he may be threatened, to enable him to escape the same, as far as is consistent with honour, prudence, the safety of religion, morality and the laws of the country; but no farther.
CONCERNING DIFFERENCES AND LAWSUITS, IF ANY SUCH SHOULD UNHAPPILY ARISE AMONG BRETHREN.
If a brother do you injury, or if you have any difference with him about any worldly or temporal business or interest,
* On this principle, unfortunate captives in war, and sojourners accidentally cast on a distant shore, are particular objects of attention, and seldom fail to experience indulgence from Masons; and, what is very remarkable, there has not been one instance of a breach of fidelity or ingratitude where that indulgence has been extended.
apply first to your own or his Lodge, to have the matter in dispute adjusted by the brethren. And if either party is not satisfied with the decision of the Lodge, an appeal may be carried to the Grand Lodge; and it is recommended never to enter into a lawsuit, unless the matter has been previously submitted to your Masonic brethren. In case it is a matter which wholly concerns Masonry, lawsuits are to be entirely avoided, and the good advice of prudent brethren is to be followed, as they are the best referees of such differences.
But where references are either impracticable or unsuccessful, and courts of law or equity must at last decide, the general rules of the order must still be followed; avoiding all wrath, malice, rancour, and personal ill will in carrying on the suit with a brother; neither saying nor doing any thing to hinder the continuance of that brotherly love and friendship which are the glory and cement of our ancient and honourable fraternity.
Thus shall we show to all the world the benign influence of Masonry, as wise, true, and faithful brethren before us, have done from the beginning of time.
These regulations, and many others which shall be given to you (in a way that cannot be written,) you are strictly and conscientiously to follow; and that they may be the better observed, they should often be perused by every intelligent brother; and at the discretion of the Master, (whenever time will permit,) be read, for the information and instruction of every brother in a Lodge.